If you have a pesky hair you want gone, Dr Joshua Zeichner, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, says you can tackle it at home. He recommends cleaning your skin and a sewing needle with rubbing alcohol. Then, use the needle to lift up the free edge of the hair from your skin. Apply an antibiotic ointment to the area and let it heal. After it’s healed, you can shave the hair, he says.
If you recently noticed that your hair is ingrown or you know it's a new bump, Dr Gary Goldenberg, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, recommends using a warm compress on the area, as well. While it’s tempting, don’t pluck the hair—that just increases the odds that you’ll get another ingrown hair there again, Zeichner says.
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If you tried at-home methods and the area is becoming larger, tender, or starts to develop pus, Goldenberg says it’s time to see a dermatologist. A doctor can give you a cortisone shot to reduce the inflammation, or if the area is infected, they may give you an oral antibiotic to help clear it up, Zeichner says.
If you suffer from chronic ingrown hairs, talk to your doctor about laser hair removal. “The laser can permanently destroy the hair follicle and eliminate unwanted hair altogether,” Zeichner says.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health