Why Does It Itch When Hair Grows Back?

Do you get ingrown hair in the days following shaving? In most cases, ingrown hair occurs on the face, pubic area, buttocks, armpits, legs and neck, but it can affect any part of the body. After shaving, the hair will normally grow outwards. But this does not always happen. Sometimes, shaved hair grows inwards, resulting in skin itchiness. 


Why Does It Itch When Hair Grows Back?

The skin itchiness occurs as a result of inflammation and irritation. This occurs when the growing hair curls back towards skin instead of growing outward and away from skin. Once the tip of growing hair presses into skin, the body’s immune system perceives it as an intruder, and starts fighting against it. The result is inflammation and irritation that lead to localized itching, pain, redness and swelling. This may present as a single skin bump. When many hairs grow inwardly, there will be a cluster consisting of many skin bumps or pimples.

How to Stop the Itchiness Caused by Ingrown Hair

Itching stops once the affected hair follicle heals. This normally happens without treatment, but in case you have an irritating itch, you can treat it in the following ways:

  • Avoid scratching. Soak a washing towel in hot water and press it against the itching skin area for about five minutes. The heat and moisture soften the skin and stop the itch.
  • Apply black salve (ichthammol) ointment to the affected area. This helps clear skin infection and soften the skin so that the ingrown hair is released. Once this happens, the irritation, itching and pain start to subside. You can buy black salve from most drug stores.
  • Soak a washing towel in hot water and cover the skin area treated with black salve. Hold it in place until the towel cools down. The hot, moist towel accelerates penetration of the ointment into the hair follicle. Then wipe the ointment off with the towel to expose the hair. 
  • Release the trapped hair with a tweezer and a sterilized needle. You may pluck out the hair. Clean the affected skin area with hydrogen peroxide. Avoid using your fingernails to release the hair.

Why does it itch when hair grows back? It has been answered. In case your ingrown hair is infected, consult your doctor. The doctor may make an incision with a sterile scalpel or needle to free the hair or even prescribe the following medication:

  • Topical steroid cream or ointment to stop the irritation and reduce swelling
  • A retinoid such as Retin A to remove the dead skin cells and clear excess pigmentation caused by ingrown hair
  • Oral or topical antibiotics to treat the infection

Natural Remedies for Ingrown Hairs

1.     Sugar 

A sugar scrub helps exfoliate the skin, unclog the follicles and release the ingrown hairs. The scrub will also give your skin a silk feel.

  • Mix one cup white sugar with half cup virgin olive oil/jojoba oil.
  • Add 10 drops of tea tree oil and 10 drops of lavender oil.
  • Use a small quantity of this to scrub the affected skin area. Gently apply the sugar scrub in circular motions. Keep scrubbing for three to five minutes.
  • Repeat once or twice weekly as required.
  • Use an airtight container to store the remaining sugar mixture.

2.     Salt

Now that you have the answer to the question: why does it itch when hair grows back, try more remedies besides sugar and see which one works best. Salt has exfoliating properties. It also reduces swelling, and promotes healing and better circulation.

  • Put 1 ½ teaspoons table salt into one cup of warm water and stir to mix.
  • Soak a ball of cotton wool in this solution and apply it to the affected area; leave it on for about five minutes.
  • Rinse with cold water.
  • Repeat twice daily until the irritation from ingrown hair stops.

Note: Avoid this treatment if it irritates your skin or causes redness.

3.      Aloe Vera

Aloe vera moisturizes and soothes affected skin and provides fast relief from irritation, itching and inflammation.

  • Squeeze out aloe vera gel and rub it over the affected skin.
  • Leave it on for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Repeat twice or thrice daily to stop the irritation.

4.     Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial. These properties help to heal and protect the skin against infection.

  • Mix five drops tea tree oil with two tablespoons distilled water.
  • Cleanse the affected area with antibacterial soap and water.
  • Apply the tea tree oil and water mixture, leaving it on for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Repeat treatment twice daily.
  • Alternatively, add three drops tea tree oil to one tablespoon olive oil and mix well. Massage the affected area with this mixture for two to three minutes; then leave it on for up to 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and repeat twice daily.

5.     Black Tea Bags

Black tea is rich in tannic acid that helps reduce inflammation and soothe skin.

  • Soak a black tea bag in warm water and use it to rub the affected skin for a few minutes.
  • Repeat as needed throughout the day.
  • Another option is to steep one black tea bag in hot water. Take out the tea bag after a few minutes. Squeeze the liquid from the tea bag into a bowl and mix it with one teaspoon coconut water. Soak a ball of cotton wool and apply it to the affected area. Repeat twice daily until irritation stops.

6.     Baking Soda

Baking soda is anti-inflammatory and is another solution to your question: why does it itch when hair grows back? It exfoliates skin, relieves itching and reduces the redness.

  • Add one tablespoon baking soda to one cup of water and mix thoroughly.
  • Soak a ball of cotton wool in this solution and dab the affected area.
  • Wait five minutes; then wash off with cold water.
  • Repeat twice or thrice daily.
  • Alternatively, mix one teaspoon baking soda, one teaspoon oatmeal and one tablespoon water to make a scrub. Apply the paste to the affected area and leave it on for five minutes. Wash the paste off with warm water and pat dry. Repeat twice daily.
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