Among a love of peaches and unrepentant worrying, my grandmother and I have one big thing in common: a singular chin hair. She’s a sneaky one (the hair, not my grandma). She pops up every now and then, and who knows how long she’ll grow before I notice. And sometimes, plucking can lead to ingrown hairs. What exactly are you supposed to do with an ingrown chin hair?
Shani Francis, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and hair-loss specialist based in Illinois, says chin hairs, for most, tend to be thicker, more mature hairs, and can be more difficult to remove. She says there are many ways to remove chin hairs, and that one or two ingrowns, especially after extensive hair removal, is par for the course.
“Single chin hair removal is possible at home,” says Dr. Francis, “If you develop multiple inflamed hairs simultaneously or what a more permanent solution, it would be better to consult a board-certified dermatologist.”
Rebecca Baxt, MD, a New Jersey-based board-certified dermatologist, explains that ingrown hairs happen when your hair grows back into your skin and gets stuck, which can cause inflammation, redness, and swelling. This happens more commonly with curly hairs. If you’re prone to getting ingrown chin hair, Dr. Francis says you can use a warm towel to open your pores before hair removal, or an ice or cold compress after shaving to close the pores and minimize follicle re-entry. Dr. Baxt says it’s best to avoid mechanical forms of hair removal like plucking, waxing, and threading.
“If you are prone to ingrown chin hair, then laser hair removal usually solves that issue,” says Dr. Baxt. “Also, see a board-certified dermatologist to see if there are any prescriptions that would help, such as topical antibiotics or exfoliants. Sometimes an injection is needed, and even oral antibiotics, if it is severe.”
Dr. Francis adds that derms can also prescribe prescription-strength creams to slow down growth rate and thin the hairs, or medications that prevent follicle congestion and minimize infection and inflammation post-shaving.
And if you’ve never gotten chin hairs and now have a lot, you should check in with a doctor. “Severe chin hairs or sudden growth of chin hairs could signal a hormonal imbalance for women,” says Dr. Francis. If you experience this, she says you should seek advice from a dermatologist or other medical professional.
Speaking of ingrowns, here’s what to do when you get one down there:
Here are five things every woman needs to know before shaving her face, and these are the best razors to use if you’re prone to ingrown hairs.