If you have curly or coarse hair, you’ve probably had experience with ingrown hair on your legs. An ingrown hair is hair that grows back into your skin. This can occur after you shave, wax, or tweeze your legs. After removing unwanted hair from your legs, it’s easier for curly hair to regrow and re-enter your skin, which causes inflammation in the area.

Developing an ingrown hair on your leg isn’t usually a cause for concern. But sometimes this problem can become chronic. There’s also the risk of complications, such as a bacterial infection and permanent scarring.

If you have recurrent ingrown hair that causes pain, your doctor can help you manage this condition. But in most cases, you can treat an ingrown hair with home care and over-the-counter products.

1. Apply the right shaving cream

Applying the right shaving cream before you set your razor to work adds moisture, which can prevent cuts and allow the razor to move smoothly across your skin. Prep your legs by applying shaving cream as you get out of the shower to retain some extra moisture.

Some of the most effective shaving cream brands for your legs include:

2. Exfoliate with the best body scrub

Ingrown hair on your legs can also be caused by a buildup of dead skin cells clogging hair follicles. To reduce your risk of ingrown hairs, exfoliate your legs before shaving with a body scrub. This process doesn’t take too much time and can leave your skin feeling soft and rejuvenated.

Body scrubs can clean your pores, remove dirt, and expose healthier layers of skin. These scrubs can also reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by previous ingrown hairs.

Here are some of the most effective body scrubs for achieving this:

3. Use the right razor

If you have problems with recurrent ingrown hairs, you might be using the wrong type of razor on your legs. Although body scrubs and shaving creams can exfoliate your legs and help your skin retain moisture, you may still develop ingrown hairs depending on the razor you use.

To prevent ingrown hair on your legs, your razor should glide smoothly over your skin. If you don’t have a smooth glide, hair can get caught in the razor, which can cause ingrown hairs and cuts.

Always shave in the direction of the grain of your hair, and make sure your razor is sharp. Clean your blade with alcohol after each use, and throw away disposable razors after a few uses. If possible, stick with single-edge razors or razors with a skin guard to avoid cutting too close to your skin.

You might want to try one of these razors:

4. Try dry brushing

Although body scrubs exfoliate your skin, you can also lower the risk of an ingrown hair with dry brushing. This technique uses a long-bristled brush to remove dead skin cells from your legs. Dry brushing daily before a shower clears away these skin cells and makes your skin softer.

For best results, use a natural, nonsynthetic bristle brush. Options include a nonhandle brush or a brush with a long handle for hard-to-reach areas.

Perhaps try one of these:

5. Smooth on an aftershave cream

Aftershave creams aren’t only for your face. Apply these creams and gels after shaving your legs to reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs. These products add extra moisture to your legs and help keep pores unclogged. To avoid post-shave irritation, choose an alcohol-free cream or gel.

Here are a few to try:

The bottom line

Freshly shaved or waxed legs can look and feel soft. But if you don’t apply the right products or use the right shaving techniques, painful and itchy ingrown hairs can rob your legs of smoothness.

Although ingrown hairs are common, they don’t have to be your reality. The preceding steps may improve the appearance of your legs. But if ingrown hairs don’t improve or worsen, talk to your doctor. Some skin conditions can mimic an ingrown hair such as eczema, impetigo, and molluscum contagiosum.

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