Ingrown Beard Hair: How Does It Happen and What Can You Do About It?

Beard care
Sander van de BaardmanBy Sander - The Beardmen
Updated on 22 May 2023

There are lots of ailments I would rather have than ingrown beard hair. Your skin gets red, irritated, possibly inflamed and hurts a lot with every facial movement. The Beard Man knows it better than anyone, having dealt with ingrown beard hair once in the past. 

Now that you’ve discovered ingrown beard hair on yourself, you would want to know how this comes about and what you can do about it. The Beard Man explains it all and has some tips to ease the pain.

2 Types Of Ingrown Beard Hair: How Do They Happen?

Ingrown beard hair can occur in two ways: razor bumps and ingrown hairs. What is the difference between them?

  1. Ingrown beard hair

The most common type is ingrown beard hair where the hair grows under the skin. This is often caused by shaving. Shaving puts your skin under high tension. The hair is shaved deep under the skin in an angled tip, creating sharp edges that press against the hair follicles. At first, this can cause a tingling and itchy sensation. Worse, the beard hair grows further below the skin surface resulting in a lot of pain and skin irritation.

You have a greater chance of developing ingrown beard hair when you are:

  • Shaving hair short
  • Shaving against the growth direction of the hair
  • Using an old or blunt razor
  • Having a lot dead skin cells or flakes on your skin
  1. Razor bumps

With razor bumps, the beard hair grows out, but then grows back into the skin. Men with curly beard hair or frizzy hair often experience this. Razor bumps have the same causes and symptoms as ingrown beard hair.

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae

Pseudofolliculitis barbae, also called razor bumps, is an annoying skin condition in which pimples and bumps form. It results from ingrown beard hair. It occurs in the beard area, but especially the neck. Lumps develop with or without a pus head, and inflammations can develop that become extremely itchy. Scarring may occur in men who experience pseudofolliculitis barbae for a prolonged period.

Ingrown Beard Hair Inflammation

The possibility of inflammation due to ingrown beard hair is present and therefore occurs in many men who experience the condition. Inflammation can be recognized by red irritated skin that is warm to the touch.

What To Do About Ingrown Beard Hair?: The Solution

Ingrown beard hair is annoying. To avoid pain you try to keep away every facial expression but  that is basically impossible. There are some things you can do to reduce the pain.

What you can do by yourself…

There are a number of things you can do on your own to reduce the pain of ingrown beard hair and prevent inflammation:

  • Treat it with active ingredients such as Glycolic Acid: There are a lot of miracle remedies on the market if the accompanying talk is credible. Look for a product with natural ingredients and glycolic acid as the active ingredient. It is important that the product does not contain alcohol.
  • Use cotton swab: press your skin together and gently go over the hair with a cotton swab. In most cases, the hair will come off on its own. Make your skin warm first by keeping a warm and clean towel on your face for 5 minutes.
  • Using tweezers: can’t get the hair loose with a cotton swab? Try using disinfected tweezers. But be careful and do it only when the hair comes out easily. As with using a cotton swab, warm your face first.
  • Chemical hair removal: a better alternative to shaving is chemical hair removal. Hair removal products can be bought at the drugstore. However, you have to be very careful with these. Using chemical ingredients can irritate the skin considerably. Do not use hair removal products when the skin is inflamed.

Facts That You Should Know

To prevent inflammation that goes  ingrown beard hair,  keep your face clean and touch it as little as possible. Give the skin a rest by not shaving or trimming for at least 3 – 4 weeks.

How To Remove Ingrown Beard Hair

If you don’t feel like removing the ingrown beard hair by yourself or if you are unable to do so, you can always seek help. You then have the following options:

  • Treatment by a skin therapist or beautician: a skin therapist or beautician has several methods to remove the hair. This is a good option when you are not confident about your ability or when you cannot get the ingrown hair out yourself.
  • Laser hair removal: when there is a lot of pain and inflammation on the skin, you can consider hair removal by laser. The hair can sometimes be very deep so you need a powerful laser to bring it out. Scarring and color differences can also occur. Laser treatment is an extreme resort and not the first or best recommendation. Unfortunately, laser treatment is often no longer covered by insurance companies.

Use Of Medication

The Beardman is the last person who is going to give you advice on what medications to take. It is best to check with your doctor, especially if you experience inflammation.

How To Prevent Ingrown Beard Hair

After getting ingrown beard hair, you now know one thing: you want to prevent it at all costs in the future. The pain is unbearable and you don’t want to further damage the underlying skin. When caring for and touching up your beard hair, keep the following points in mind:

  • Keep your skin clean: wash your beard hair and the skin underneath regularly with a beard soap or shampoo and/or conditioner and remove dead skin cells with an exfoliator. It is important to get rid of dead skin cells in time.
  • Wet your skin before shaving: never shave on dry skin to avoid skin irritations and wounds.
  • Shave in the direction of growth: to avoid shaving hair at an angle, it is important to always shave in the direction of the growth of the hair, especially when you have frizzy or curly hair.
  • Always use a new blade: avoid using an old and dirty blade or one that is blunt. Rather, wait a day than shave with an old blade. A safety razor often works better than a razor blade and is cheaper to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you suffer from ingrown beard hair, I can well imagine you have questions. Few ailments are as annoying and painful as ingrown beard hair:

What does an inflamed ingrown hair look like?

The skin is red and  irritated. Bumps or pimples appear, and with these you can sometimes see the hair coming out. At a later stage, the tips turn yellow and a scab forms. As much as possible, do not touch them, although this can be tempting.

How do you get rid of ingrown hair?

You will want to ease the pain and remove the ingrown hair as soon as possible. If there are no inflammations yet, you could do this on your own with a chemical depilatory, a clean pencil or a cotton swab. With inflammation or when the hair is deep under the skin, it is better to call in a skin therapist or a beautician. In severe cases, it may be necessary to have the beard hairs lasered away.