Does Hair Removal Cream Cause Ingrown Hairs?

depilatory creams ingrowns

You pluck, you pull, you shave, you wax, you exfoliate, you make sure to moisturize and yet those annoying ingrown hairs keep coming back! If that’s you and you’ve been considering a change of regime, this article is for you! Many women who struggle with ingrown hairs wonder whether a sensitive hair removal cream is indeed the better option. Today we’ll finally do the research and get you the definitive answer to the burning question: “Does hair removal cream cause ingrown hairs?”!

What Causes Ingrown Hairs?

To get us started, let’s have a look at what causes ingrown hairs in the first place.

When a hair is removed (plucked, waxed or cut), it will usually grow back. If the skin is not soft enough and doesn’t open as it is supposed to, the hair can get stuck underneath and continues growing under you skin. This is essentially how an ingrown hair is created. When a hair cannot grow out of the skin, it often creates a small irritation or cyst under the skin.

While ingrown hairs are usually harmless, they can lead to some skin problems if ignored and left untreated. Some possible complications include:

  • Bacterial infections (Caused by scratching)
  • Permanent Scarring (Caused by scratching)
  • Skin Darkening (Also known as Hyperpigmentation)
  • Bumps near the cyst (Look similar to Acne Cysts, but without the White Head)

How to Treat and Prevent Ingrown Hairs

If you’re struggling with ingrown hairs already, we have five suggestions what you can do to treat them. Most importantly though: Try and avoid scratching and picking the bump, as this will only increase the risk of infection.

  1. Use a clean warm, wet washcloth or soft toothbrush to gently clean the area around the ingrown hair in circular motions.
  2. If there are hair loops above the skin, you may use a sterile needle and pull the hair out of the skin.
  3. Use a warm compress on the affected area to help soften the skin.
  4. Use an antiseptic solution, such as tea tree oil. This helps avoid infections.
  5. Use an over-the-counter cream for ingrown hairs. Make sure you follow the instructions and be extra careful, when applying this type of cream to your groin area.

There are also certain steps you can take in order to avoid developing ingrown hairs in the first place. Our top 7 recommendations are:

  1. Use warm water to soften the skin before hair removal.
  2. Avoid pulling the skin while shaving or tweezing.
  3. Always shave in the direction of the hair growth.
  4. Make sure to use a gel-based moisturizer, as it will not clog your pores. (We love this this organic aloe vera gel!)
  5. Use a body wash with salicylic acid (often used for acne or keratosis pilaris)
  6. Use a high-quality shaving cream or gel.

Tip: If you are looking for more information on how to best prevent and treat ingrown hairs, you might enjoy our detailed article on the subject!

How Do Hair Removal Creams Work?

In order to understand whether or not hair removal creams cause ingrown hairs, let’s take a moment to understand how hair removal creams work.

For many women hair removal creams or depilatory creams are a quick and convenient way to remove unwanted hair. Those creams break down the hair’s keratin structure, the proteins of the hair. This thins and dissolves the base of the and makes them weak enough, so they break when the cream is wiped away.

Depilatory creams usually contain different alkaline chemicals that are strong enough to break down the hair, but sensitive enough to be used on your skin.

Tip: If you have never used a depilatory cream and would like to give it a try, test it on a small patch to make sure your skin agrees with it.

Does Hair Removal Cream Cause Ingrown Hairs?

No, hair removal creams don’t cause ingrown hairs. In fact using a hair removal cream can help you prevent ingrown hairs, as some hair removal creams give you up to 80% less ingrown hairs than shaving does. Preparing your skin for hair removal can further help to prevent ingrown hairs.

The Benefits and Risks of Hair Removal Creams (Pros and Cons)

As mentioned above hair removal cream is actually a really good option for you, if you struggle with ingrowns. If you’re still not sure whether or not you should give it a try, here’s our overview with pros and cons to help you decide:

Pros of Hair Removal Creams

  • Depilatory creams are a painless way to remove unwanted body hair.
  • Hair Removal Creams are easy to use.
  • You can buy hair removal creams literally everywhere. Even on Amazon!
  • Depilatory creams are quite cheap.
  • Since the hair is dissolved and not cut with ends left squared off as happens when shaving, the hair has a tapered end, which can make the hair softer during re-growth.

Cons of Hair Removal Creams

  • Women with dark, coarse hair may be left with a dark shadow.
  • Many depilatory creams smell pretty bad.
  • Using a hair removal cream usually gives you up to 4 “stubble-free” days. If you choose to wax or pluck, the result will last longer.
  • If you have sensitive skin, it can lead to skin irritations. Always do a patch test before applying the cream to larger areas of your body.

Top Hair Removal Cream Brands

When you’re looking to purchase hair removal cream, you will probably come across two popular brands:

  1. Veet
  2. Nair

Both brands are very popular among women with Nair having a reputation for being the “more aggressive” product. As mentioned earlier: Whenever you decide to try a new depilatory cream, be sure to try it on a small patch before applying it to a larger area.


In this article we set out to finally answer the question: “Does hair removal cream cause ingrown hairs?” and in fact it does not. Ingrown hairs can happen whenever you remove hair, but hair removal creams are less likely to cause ingrown then shaving does. If you are looking to avoid ingrowns, make sure to prepare your skin before hair removal and make sure to moisturize regularly.

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