A common side effect of hair removal, ingrown hairs can cause irritation, blemishes, and general discomfort. One way to prevent them is to incorporate one of the best body scrubs for ingrown hairs into your body care regimen. These scrubs use physical exfoliators (like sea salt or pumice), often in combination with gentle acids, to remove dead skin cells. "Ingrown hairs are often lodged in some of the dead upper layer of our skin called the stratum corneum, so exfoliating will help loosen these trapped hairs," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, M.D, tells Bustle.
Benefits Of Manual/Physical Exfoliants
In order to leave you with bump-free skin, the right body scrub will inherently contain "abrasives" — like salt, sugar, or powders — "to remove some of the dead upper layers of our skin," Dr. Skotnicki explains. To avoid irritation, though, you'll want to stick to formulas comprising finer particles and avoid coarser exfoliants, like walnut shells, and rub the product onto your skin in gentle, circular motions.
Benefits Of Chemical Exfoliants
To enhance the effects of a manual exfoliant, Dr. Skotnicki suggests looking for scrubs that also include alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which will provoke dead skin cells to "unglue" from healthy skin so they can be washed off. These chemical exfoliants include lactic and glycolic acids, which work particularly well for keeping ingrown hairs at bay because they're less irritating than other AHAs and excellent at unclogging hair follicles. AHAs are most effective at a higher concentration (between 8% and 10%), but for more delicate areas, like around your bikini line, Dr. Skotnicki recommends sticking to a product with a lower concentration to avoid redness and additional irritation.
When Should You Exfoliate?
For best results, Dr. Skotnicki advises reaching for a body scrub two days after hair removal or grooming, when hairs likely start their regrowth phase and get trapped. Also note that if you're using an acid-based scrub on any skin that will be exposed to the sun, you should take extra care to follow up with sunscreen due to increased UV sensitivity.
Slough away dull, dry skin and prevent clogged hair follicles with one of the best body scrubs for ingrown hairs featured below.
1. This Potent Scrub That Will Help Get Rid Of Ingrown Hairs Fast
- Scrub Type: chemical and physical
- Ingredients: 10% AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids), bisabolol
- Size: 8 ounces
For a one-two punch, this First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub offers up some serious exfoliation via both chemical and physical ingredients. In fact, results are seen so quickly that it's earned more than 23,000 reviews from Amazon shoppers, some of whom report that it's "life-changing" and "works like a charm." The formula combines 10% AHAs (in the form of glycolic and lactic acids) with pumice buffing beads to loosen dry skin cells. And to help keep skin calm during and after your scrubbing session, the tube also includes bisabolol, which is an oily liquid derived from the German chamomile plant. The non-irritating formula is cruelty-free, vegan, and doesn't contain synthetic fragrances, dyes, or parabens.
One Review: "I am sorry that I did not discover this years ago! [...] I have [...] ingrown hair issue on my legs for years now which causes the 'strawberry legs' issue as well. I’ve been using [it] once a week for a month now and my legs [have] never seen a smoother day before! It is incredible."
2. This All-Natural Scrub That Comes In So Many Nice Scents
- Scrub Type: physical
- Ingredients: fine-grain sea salt, vitamin E, shea butter, essential oils
- Size: 16 ounces
If you're looking for more of a natural, acid-free option, this pureSCRUBS body scrub is just as highly rated as the pick above (9,000+ Amazon shoppers have awarded it five stars), and you'll get double the amount of product for nearly the same price. Along with fine-grain sea salt, the only other things you'll find in this minimalist formula are vitamin E, shea butter, nourishing oils (like jojoba, argan, and sweet almond), and geranium and carrot seed essential oils. This unscented blend is a good option if you have sensitive skin (or a sensitive nose), but you can also go for one of the 13 delicious essential-oil-derived aromas — all of which are also free of synthetic fragrance, alcohol, and preservatives — like rose, lavender, and cucumber. Bonus: each jar also comes with an oat and honey soap, a loofah, and a wooden stirring spoon.
One Review: "This is the best body scrub. A little goes a long way. I also use it to help exfoliate areas that I shave. It has reduced the amount of ingrown hairs and razor burn. It is super moisturizing and does not immediately dissolve like other scrubs I've used."
3. This Gentle Scrub That’s Perfect For Targeting The Bikini Area
- Scrub Type: physical and chemical
- Ingredients: AHAs (3% glycolic acid), silica beads
- Size: 2.5 ounces
Though it's labeled as a facial polish, this smaller and affordable tube of NIP + Fab's Glycolic Scrub Fix is another smart product to reach for when you want to target any ingrown hairs along your bikini line. Along with silica beads for mechanical exfoliation, this pick has a much lower concentration of AHAs (just 3% glycolic acid) and boasts more than 6,000 reviews. It may not work quite as fast to combat ingrowns, but as Dr. Skotnicki points out, it contains the ideal concentration of acids for the bikini area because it's so gentle.
One Review: "I use this every day over areas of the body I regularly get waxed. It keeps the ingrown hairs away."
You May Also Like: This Cult-Favorite Body Lotion That’s Formulated For Bumpy Skin
- Scrub Type: chemical lotion
- Ingredients: salicylic acid, lactic acid, ceramides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid
- Size: 19 ounces
This CeraVe SA lotion has earned more than 3,700 reviews and a high 4.7-star rating from Amazon customers, and that number's still growing day by day. It's also earned Dr. Skotnicki's approval— she says she loves that the formula "contains a low concentration of salicylic acid, as well as lactic acid, ceramides and it's very cost-effective." Apart from exfoliating acids, the lotion is formulated with three essential ceramides and niacinamide, which help repair and strengthen a compromised skin barrier, as well as hyaluronic acid to help skin retain moisture. If you have sensitive skin, you'll also love that the body treatment is hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, and free of fragrances and dyes.
One Review: "If you have keratosis Polaris, I am not kidding when I say this is life-changing. [...] This product has completely changed my skin. I’ve always had KP on my arms and butt and in the last few years, it’s gotten substantially worse in my thighs. Guess I’m just one of the lucky few that didn’t outgrow it lol. I started using [it] May 13 and today is June 14 and my KP is about 99% cleared up for the first time in my entire life.”
Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, MD, a Toronto-based, board-certified dermatologist and author of Beyond Soap: The Real Truth About What You Are Doing to Your Skin and How to Fix It for a Beautiful, Healthy Glow
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