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How to Remove an Ingrown Hair Cyst? To Pop or Not to Pop


We have all been there. Well, at least anyone who shaves the groin area has had to deal with it once in a lifetime. And for many of us, more than once. Ingrown hair cysts. It is bad enough to have an ingrown hair, but when the ingrown hair cyst forms, and you have a kind of pimple on steroids, yuck. For women, we find these awful skin irritations most often in our groin areas when we shave. But my husband has had to deal with a few ingrown hair cysts on his face - poor thing. The trouble is, dermatologists say most cysts do not go away on their own. But you definitely do not want to poke and prod it, which will only make the cysts formed around ingrown hairs worse. Trust me. I know. Still, who has time to run to the doctor for a small ingrown hair cyst? Not me. Fortunately, I have never had to, though I did learn the hard way. Hopefully after reading this article, you won’t need the dermatologist, and you will not have to learn the hard way. 

Table of Contents:  

  1. What Is an Ingrown Hair Cyst? 
  2. Top 5 Ways to Get Rid of an Ingrown Hair Cyst 
  3. Why Natural Is Best  
  4. Antibacterials for Ingrown Hair Cysts 

What Is an Ingrown Hair Cyst? 

An ingrown hair cyst occurs when oil and dirt build-up under your skin where a hair is growing. Typically, ingrown hairs occur after a shave, usually with hair that grows in tight and curly. This growth pattern is the reason women deal with it most where we shave our bikini line. Men with beards, like my husband, find this problem on their faces. People also get them often in their underarm area when they shave. The cyst often looks like a pimple, except for the dark hair growing underneath. Left alone, it can grow redder and larger as it becomes more inflamed. Essentially, you are dealing with an infection under your skin. It must be treated. 

Top 5 Ways to Get Rid of an Ingrown Hair Cyst 

1. Warm Compresses 

As with any pimple or inflammation with dirt involved, warm compresses applied to the area will help bring the dirt and that gnarly hair to the surface as it thins the outer layer of your skin. Be patient as it can take several days of regular compresses until you finally see the hair poke through. Once it reveals itself, you can safely pluck it.  

2. Cold Compresses 

What? Warm and cold compresses? Yes. It is true. Warm compresses bring things to the surface. Cold compresses reduce the inflammation and swelling, ideally also reducing the pain ingrown hairs can cause.

3. Exfoliate 

Like with warm compresses, exfoliating will help bring the dirt out from under your skin, which will allow the infection to abate and the hair to poke through. Then... pluck time! Exfoliation will also help prevent ingrown hairs.

4. Antibacterials 

Apply alcohol, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, or any other antibacterial solution to the infected ingrown hair to heal the cyst that has formed around it. Once the infection is gone, the the ingrown hairs should rise to the surface. And you know what to do next. I prefer apple cider vinegar when treating ingrown hairs, but to be honest, I prefer ACV for pretty much everything.  

5. See a Dermatologist 

Finally, if you get no relief after a week of patience and perseverance, it may be time to call in the big guns. I cannot stress enough that it is unlikely you will have to take this measure if you try the other methods first, but I do not want to take it off the table. I am exceedingly grateful for doctors when we need them, and yes, sometimes we do.  

Why Natural Is Best 

I write for a lot of doctors and other medical professionals. Recently, an Internal Medicine Fellow I am writing for said to me something I have always intuitively known: “the body knows how to heal itself. We (doctors) are only here to help it along.” Yes! Nature knows what to do. Your body forms that cyst because you are shaving, which allows dirt and bacteria in, so your body fights it. That fight is the infection process. Of course, I am not advocating going shave-free. I love my smooth legs! What I am saying is that we can help along this natural process with natural approaches. The worst thing we can do is attack our faces and groins with tweezers and needles, which creates more infection and even scarring. As always, try the natural approach, and when all else fails, see your dermatologist. Even then, ask your doctor to go as naturally as possible – no cutting! 

Antibacterials for Ingrown Hairs 

Remember many plants have natural antibacterial properties. Applying antibacterial plant-based products to your skin and hair will help keep them naturally clean and clear, so you have less to worry about when it comes to nasty ingrown hair cysts. So when thinking of how to treat your ingrown hair cysts, it is good to keep a few of these plant-based products in your arsenal, both for removal and prevention.  

Apple Cider Vinegar Face Wash with Brush 

Apple Cider Vinegar Face Wash with Brush

I did tell you I love all things apple cider vinegar, right? This face wash has all the great qualities of ACV, plus a brush! So you can gently exfoliate the cyst away. It is also great just as a daily face wash, and even in your groin area where you shave, for prevention.  

Eucalyptus Essential Oil 

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Another plant-based product with naturally occurring antibacterial properties, applying eucalyptus oil to your ingrown hair cyst will draw away impurities and soothe your skin at the same time. It will also calm and relax you as you breathe in. You can apply this essential oil with warm compresses as part of your treatment regimen.

Click the links above and browse the site for more products you may want to add to your shelf for ingrown hair cysts and more.  

Shanna Mendez

Shanna Mathews Mendez is a freelance writer and blogger on topics related to self-care, naturopathy, female empowerment, and motherhood. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children, where she enjoys traveling, being active outdoors, and studying herbalism and plant-based remedies in her free time. Drawing on her graduate degree in comparative literature and her own life experiences, she is currently writing her first book. She can be found online at her website

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