Exactly How I Calmed Down An Angry AF Ingrown Hair in A Few Hours

ingrown hair serum
Important Q: Can You Prevent Ingrown Hairs?


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I begged my mom to let me shave as early as 10 years old, but she forced me to hold out as long as I possibly could. Why? Because my mom also had been plagued by the realities of razor burn and ingrown hairs. When I finally got to take razor to skin, I understood completely—this sh*t freakin' sucks. I tried wax kits, hair-removal creams, razors for sensitive skin, and nothing ever prevented nor quelled the burning, itching, and inflammation of those damn ingrown hairs. Turns out, all I needed was an ingrown hair serum to exfoliate dead skin, smooth bumpy texture, and soothe irritation.

But what makes an ingrown hair serum the best, you ask? This formula should be able to gently exfoliate, reduce bacteria on your skin, and calm inflammation, says dermatologist Fareesa Sandoval, MD. Don't worry if you're not a whiz at deciphering ingredient lists, because I did all the hard work for you, even going as far as testing dozens of ingrown hair serums on my own skin (bikini line, legs, underarms—you name it) to find the products that truly work. Keep scrolling for my picks:


All of the best ingrown hair serums, including insight from Dr. Sandoval, below. Plus, I clear up what exactly causes ingrown hairs, how to get rid of them, and all the tricks to knowing which serum is right for you.

Ingrown Hair Serum

I've been getting Brazilian waxes at European Wax Center for half a decade, and I swear this ingrown hair serum is the reason I never get irritation or bumpy skin. I smooth a pump of the gel-like serum on my swimsuit line in the morning after showering and let the glycolic acid get to ~werk~, sloughing away all the dead skin that otherwise accumulates in my pores to block follicles. I skip it the morning of and two to three days after waxing (which can slightly irritate my skin), but afterward, I find that it actually helps soothe that post-wax skin with tea tree oil and lavender. Of everything I've tested, it still shocks me how smooth and clear my skin is when I'm continuously using this bb.

Bonus: It also comes in a brightening version that contains vitamin C and azelaic acid to help fade dark spots and scarring. I switch on and off between these two versions depending on what I feel like my skin needs.

  • Key ingredients: Glycolic acid, tea tree oil, lavender

  • Size: 1.7 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "This serum really works with preventing ingrown hairs, I have tried numerous oils and lotions and this here is the best thing so far. I use it primarily on my swimsuit area and on my legs after shaving. I would recommend, 10/10! It has become apart of my daily body care regimen."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RXWHCG5?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10049.g.60720394%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Ingrown Hair Serum</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$32.00</p>

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Ingrown Hair Serum

amazon.com

$32.00

Ultimate Brightening Peeling Gel

Dr. Sandoval points to this affordable at-home gel peel to help exfoliate your skin and reduce the likelihood of ingrown hairs. It uses willow bark extract, a beta-hydroxy acid, to get into your pores and help clear out oils and gunk that can clog them, leading to ingrowns, pimples, and more. Similarly, it incorporates licorice root extract to gently fade hyperpigmentation left over from previous bumps. FYI: It's actually made for your face (aka great for beards and facial hair), but this only makes it even more appropriate for sensitive bod skin too.

  • Key ingredients: Licorice root extract, willow bark extract, peptides

  • Size: 4.12 oz

Glowing customer review: "I have a heavy beard and oily skin- its was nearly impossible to exfoliate properly enough to avoid ingrown hairs. This product melts the "goo" that keeps dead skin cells attached to the younger more vital cells below."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076MKY6Q6?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10049.g.60720394%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Ultimate Brightening Peeling Gel</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$15.69</p>

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Ultimate Brightening Peeling Gel

amazon.com

$15.69

Intimate Grooming Daily Soothing Serum

When Gillette Venus released their pubic hair range, I immediately ran to the store to get this soothing serum. (And because it's so affordable, I didn't even wait for the press sample—true story, lol). This serum is so gentle on my sensitive skin, using lactic acid to slough away dead skin without completely obliterating my skin barrier. It combines this exfoliation with a whole lotta nourishment from soothing allantoin and moisturizing jojoba oil too. And the best part? You can grab it at virtually any drugstore when you're snagging Diet Coke and tampons.

  • Key ingredients: Lactic acid, jojoba oil, allantoin

  • Size: 1.7 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "I was skeptical but when used correctly this actually does help with ingrown hairs. A little goes a long way. It does have a scent but it's not overpowering, it's pleasantly clean."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JHSZG7F?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10049.g.60720394%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Intimate Grooming Daily Soothing Serum</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$8.89</p>

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Intimate Grooming Daily Soothing Serum

amazon.com

$8.89

SOS Intensive Redness Relief Serum

If you've been on SkinTok lately, you've prob heard of hypochlorous acid, the soothing, antibacterial ingredient in Tower 28's SOS Mist. But it's also in this watery serum that completely calmed the biggest, most inflamed ingrown-hair-turned-cyst I've ever had. Lemme explain: Hypochlorous acid is a gentle acid that basically "disinfects" your skin—like, it's used in hospitals, y'all—to help bring down swelling and redness. So when I had a raging ingrown hair on my inner thigh that was plotting my demise, quickly massaging this over it toned down the pain in a few hours.

  • Key ingredients: Hypochlorous acid

  • Size: 2 oz

Glowing customer review: "No other product has improved my redness/blotchiness but somehow after two days of using this my complexion has gotten better. It’s not super hydrating and sometimes it squirts out of the bottle weird but as someone who purchased this specifically for fixing redness, I HIGHLY recommend."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fsos-intensive-redness-relief-serum-P500121&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60720394%2Fbest-ingrown-hair-serums%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>SOS Intensive Redness Relief Serum</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$34.00</p>

Ingrown Hair Pads

I swipe one of these pads all over my swimsuit line for two to three days before shaving, and it massively improves how close of a shave I can get. It's loaded with glycolic acid to majorly exfoliate away dead skin, as well as salicylic acid to help clear out pores. Oh, and it's even got some witch hazel to act as an antibacterial agent and soothe irritation. Compared to most other ingrown hair serums I've tried, these pads are extremely gentle but just as effective as more intense options. Confession: I've even used them on my face to exfoliate, because they're that good.

  • Key ingredients: Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, witch hazel

  • Size: 28 pads

Glowing customer review: "I started seeing positive results after using for only a few days. It is much gentler than other ingrown treatments I have tried, and honestly works better. I do think they are kinda pricy for regular use, but since they work I guess it’s worth it."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PMRPRZQ?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10049.g.60720394%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Ingrown Hair Pads</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$20.00</p>

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Ingrown Hair Pads

amazon.com

$20.00

Bright & Smooth Body Serum

Even with the best prep, my skin can get so bumpy and textured after waxing. My solution? This exfoliating body serum from InnBeauty Project. It uses a blend of lactic, glycolic, and mandelic acids, along with niacinamide, to help flatten bumps. To make things even smoother (get it...?), it's got a whole lotta shea butter, which leaves my skin feeling so silky.

  • Key ingredients: Mandelic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, niacinamide, kojic acid, shea butter

  • Size: 5 oz

Glowing customer review: "This serum works wonders for me. It smooths my skin effortlessly and is not too harsh. For context, I have sensitive skin. This has been my go-to."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Finnbeauty-project-bright-smooth-body-serum-for-dark-spots-bumps-with-7-aha-bha-P506363&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60720394%2Fbest-ingrown-hair-serums%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Bright & Smooth Body Serum</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$33.00</p>

Ultimate Skin Solution Ingrown-Preventing Spray

Bad news: You can't completely *prevent* ingrown hairs, as it often can come down to genetics (just like acne and stretch marks). But one of the best products to give you a fighting chance is this spray-on serum from Billie. I just spritz it on my skin two to three times a week (not right after shaving, though, as that can slightly burn), and the formula's salicylic acid helps exfoliate dead skin. Plus, if I do have an ingrown hair that made it past me (rude), it helps calm it down a bit with aloe vera and cucumber extract.

  • Key ingredients: Salicylic acid, aloe vera, cucumber extract, grape fruit extract

  • Size: 3.4 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "This product is AMAZING!!!! When I tell you I have been struggling for years trying to get rid of ingrown in my Brazilian area and have tried multiple products, this product has done more for me in one week than anything I have tried! This is me new holy grail!"

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BQP7FTCJ?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10049.g.60720394%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Ultimate Skin Solution Ingrown-Preventing Spray</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$13.49</p>

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Ultimate Skin Solution Ingrown-Preventing Spray

amazon.com

$13.49

High Roller Ingrown Hair Tonic

This easy-to-use roll-on serum is filled with all of the MVPs to help destroy ingrown hairs. Like, seriously, the ingredient list is stacked: willow bark extract, salicylic acid, glycolic acid to exfoliate dead skin; niacinamide to smooth; and centella asiatica, green tea, and allantoin to mitigate irritation. The lightweight texture that basically absorbs on contact is merely a bonus. Just roll it on clean skin once a day, and you're g2g.

  • Key ingredients: Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, willow bark extract, niacinamide, centella asiatica, allantoin

  • Size: 1.7 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "Top tier! The roller design is ingenious, and I love that it doesn’t have an overwhelming scent."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Ftopicals-high-roller-ingrown-hair-tonic-P479355&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60720394%2Fbest-ingrown-hair-serums%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>High Roller Ingrown Hair Tonic</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$26.00</p>

Supercloud Body Serum+

I'm a beauty editor who low-key hates the feeling of any body lotions or creams, because they all feel too sticky and heavy on my skin. Call me an anomaly. But that's why I <3 this featherweight, quick-absorbing body serum from Iota. It has a gel-like, ultra-thin consistency that I barely even have to rub in for it to start sinking into my skin. But don't let that light texture fool ya—it's filled with niacinamide and mandelic acid to smooth and brighten skin (helping to reduce ingrown hairs), while copper peptides help boost skin barrier health and red algae moisturize my skin.

  • Key ingredients: Niacinamide, mandelic acid, copper peptides, red algae

  • Size: 5 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "A very rich silky cream that is absorbed well and helps my skin remain soft and silky all day. Great product for dry skin!"

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fiotabody.com%2Fproducts%2Fsupercloud-body-serum&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60720394%2Fbest-ingrown-hair-serums%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Supercloud Body Serum+</p><p>iotabody.com</p><p>$39.00</p>

Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Body Stick

This exfoliating body stick is legit genius. It's packed with glycolic acid, one of the GOATs of smoothing skin texture and chemically buffing away dead skin that causes ingrown hairs. But in this stick format, all I have to do it glide it on any areas that are prone to ingrowns. And that's seriously it. The shea butter base makes it extremely silky too, giving my skin a smooth look and feel right away.

  • Key ingredients: Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, shea butter

  • Size: 1.5 oz

Glowing customer review: "After using this product a few times it has smoothed the dry bumpy skin on the back of my legs, softened my heels and knees. I am pleasantly surprised on how well this works, especially the back of my legs."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fthe-inkey-list-glycolic-acid-exfoliating-body-stick-P511123&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60720394%2Fbest-ingrown-hair-serums%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Body Stick</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$18.00</p>

Ingrown Eliminator Serum

The O.G. Fur Ingrown Concentrate is great to buff into my skin to help dislodge any dead skin that could clog pores and follicles, but for an easier application, I prefer this lightweight, water-based serum. It's a lot more potent, using a combo of willow bark extract and lactic acid to chemically exfoliate, smooth, and brighten skin. TBH, I just dab a tiny dot right onto my ingrown hairs as a spot treatment. (But you could also layer it on every other day to help prevent bumps.)

  • Key ingredients: Willow bark extract, lactic acid

  • Size: 1.1 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "I don’t know what kind of stuff is in this, but it’s basically completely eliminated my ingrown hair problem like magic. Since I’ve tried this product, my skin is clear, smooth, and soft! I couldn’t believe it! I was shocked at the results."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B323TPMH?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10049.g.60720394%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Ingrown Eliminator Serum</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$36.00</p>

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Ingrown Eliminator Serum

amazon.com

$36.00

Cooka Concentrate Ingrown Serum

This ingrown hair serum feels like a luxe, nourishing body oil, and TBH, that's basically what it is. The ingredients list is mostly oils (castor oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil, safflower oil, lavender oil, etc.) that can help moisturize your skin and seal in hydration, which won't necessarily prevent ingrown hairs like a potent exfoliant can, but can help keep your skin barrier healthy to reduce irritation and inflammation. Just a few drops massaged into my skin at night is enough to keep my skin soft and glowy.

  • Key ingredients: Castor oil, lavender oil, almond oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil

  • Size: 0.7 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "If you struggle with razor bumps/redness/irritation you need to try this stuff! I used to get very irritated and itchy skin on my swimsuit area every time I shaved and this oil calms it down entirely. This product is essential now in my grooming routine and has been the only thing I’ve tried that actually relieves the discomfort I get from shaving."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09XTRK363?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10049.g.60720394%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Cooka Concentrate Ingrown Serum</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$31.90</p>

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Cooka Concentrate Ingrown Serum

amazon.com

$31.90

Après Shave Ingrown Hair & Razor Bump Roll-On

My BFF gets razor burn every single time she tries to shave, so I plucked this from my stash and had her test it out. A week later, she sent me a four-minute voice memo detailing exactly how she used it ("I rolled it onto my skin every morning") and her results ("the smoothest skin I've had since I started shaving two decades ago"). She'd gone through basically every hair removal tool out there, but the answer was this lil roll-on, which helps de-gunk your pores with salicylic acid and witch hazel to keep your skin clear.

  • Key ingredients: Salicylic acid, apple fruit extract, witch hazel, bisabolol

  • Size: 1.9 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "Never had a product that works this well for razor burn! It does contain alcohol, so it will sting a little on any little nicks you might have, but only for a second. Very happy with this product. Easy to apply and dries quickly."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CCSP6SZS?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10049.g.60720394%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Après Shave Ingrown Hair & Razor Bump Roll-On</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$13.97</p>

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Après Shave Ingrown Hair & Razor Bump Roll-On

amazon.com

$13.97

Software Update Retinol Body Serum

Retinol body lotions are fantastic to help smooth, firm, and brighten skin, so no shocker that it's also great for preventing and treating ingrown hairs. Soft Services's specific formula has a milky, fast-absorbing texture that leaves my skin feeling soft, not sticky like others I've tried. I smooth it on my entire body before bed (with a layer of moisturizer on top, which btw, it doesn't pill—hallelujah), and it's helped smooth keratosis pilaris bumps, minimize ingrown hairs, reduce body acne, fade dark spots, and more. My legs are so baby-smooth because of this product rn, I wish you could touch them. (I made it weird, sry.)

  • Key ingredients: Retinol, niacinamide, glycerin

  • Size: 2.5 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "A very high quality retinol serum for your body. I started using this to address uneven skin texture/tone on my legs and bum. Over a couple weeks of use, I saw a significant difference in texture, brightness, and overall tone. I also love that it’s fragrance-free!"

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fsoft-services-software-update-retinol-body-serum-for-fine-lines-crepiness-P510349&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60720394%2Fbest-ingrown-hair-serums%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Software Update Retinol Body Serum</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$44.00</p>

Saddle Sore! Soothing Balm

The worst combo to ever exist? Pineapple on pizza Ingrown hairs and chafing. The pain of irritated, bumpy, chafed skin on top of inflamed ingrown hairs is unmatched, which is why I always rub this balm on my inner thighs before walking around in shorts, a dress, or a skirt. The silky texture makes my inner thighs glide against each other without chafing, while the formula's aloe vera and witch hazel massively soothe my ingrown hairs.

  • Key ingredients: Aloe vera, witch hazel, rosehip oil

  • Size: 1.7 oz

Glowing customer review: "Omg my legs feel sooooo soft after I use this cream and it stops any irritation after shaving. Does exactly what it claims to."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07J6T2G5T?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10049.g.60720394%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Saddle Sore! Soothing Balm</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$13.95</p>

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Saddle Sore! Soothing Balm

amazon.com

$13.95

The Body Acne Solution

"Serum spray" sounds weird, but this Nécessaire one is actually my current favorite way to deal with ingrown hairs that are hard to reach. The 360-degree mister makes it easy to spritz my butt, back, inner thighs—anywhere—with this salicylic acid-based exfoliating solution. I love it for body acne (butt acne is my worst enemy, k?), but it's also been a great addition to my pre-waxing and shaving ritual to help reduce ingrowns.

  • Key ingredients: Salicylic acid, niacinamide

  • Size: 4 oz

Glowing customer review: " I had recently gotten off of birth control and was breaking out on my back and shoulders for the first time in 8 years. They were big, painful, and red. My sister sent me this and I figured I’d try it out. I genuinely saw my acne calm down within a week. Yes, it was still there, but it was finally healing."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fthe-body-acne-solution-acne-treatment-with-2-salicylic-acid-zinc-pca-niacinamide-360-spray-P507334&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60720394%2Fbest-ingrown-hair-serums%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>The Body Acne Solution</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$25.00</p>

Brightening Body Lotion

My ingrown hairs like to stay with me as long as humanly possible (what can I say, I'm a catch), leaving behind bb dark spots. In between shaving and waxing appointments, I smooth this brightening lotion on my legs, underarms, and swimsuit line to help fade the hyperpigmentation. It's v gentle (niacinmide is the main brightener in this, which is way easier to tolerate for sensitive skin, like your swimsuit line) and even helps soothe my skin a bit with urea.

  • Key ingredients: Niacinamide, urea

  • Size: 13.52 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "Smells yummy and leaves my skin feeling super soft. I like the pump bottle design because it makes it super quick to dispense lotion and you don't have to deal with having to squeeze super hard when it's almost empty."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.target.com%2Fp%2Fbyoma-brightening-body-lotion-13-52-fl-oz%2F-%2FA-89164429&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60720394%2Fbest-ingrown-hair-serums%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Brightening Body Lotion</p><p>target.com</p><p>$12.99</p>

The Cooler

Meridian makes my go-to swimsuit trimmer, so I was stoked when they launched a line of post-shaving products to help reduce ingrown hairs, soothe skin, and treat razor burn. The Cooler is my fave from the collection: It's a gentle, cooling spray-serum that quickly hydrates and calms irritation and burning from shaving or waxing with a mix of hyaluronic acid, allantoin, aloe extract, and chamomile extract.

After shaving or waxing, I immediately spritz this onto my skin, then pat it in and follow with a moisturizer for sensitive skin. It feels so damn good that I've started looking forward to shaving and waxing, which is basically unheard of. And when I do have an unfortunate ingrown hair, it helps soothe that a lil bit too to keep it from getting seriously inflamed.

  • Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, allantoin, aloe extract, chamomile extract

  • Size: 3.27 fl oz

Glowing customer review: "I've used after care misting sprays in the past but have always gotten irritated skin after. The Cooler didn't irritate my skin at all, not even my sensitive swimsuit line. It provided the moisture that is needed after shaving, but allowed my skin to breathe instead of being covered up by harsh fragrances."

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What causes ingrown hairs?

"An ingrown hair forms when a growing hair pushes into the top layer of your skin and continues to grow into the skin rather than up and out," says Dr. Sandoval. This is much more common with "terminal" hairs, like those on your scalp, armpits, facial hair, and in the groin, she explains.

If you get ingrown hairs, unfortunately, that mostly boils down to the genetics, as thicker, curlier hairs are more likely to become ingrown versus straight, ultra-fine hair. "Though often there is no particular inciting factor, ingrown hairs can be triggered by cutting the hair very short—on the scalp, especially close to the nape of the neck—or after shaving and waxing," Dr. Sandoval says.

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Do ingrown hair serums actually work?

Some ingrown hair serums can work to help prevent and treat ingrown hairs. How? Well, serums that are filled with exfoliants, like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid—help slough away the dead skin and oils that "glue" together under your skin, get inflamed, and trap your hair follicles. Some formulas, however, are made to soothe inflamed ingrown hairs with anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe vera, allantoin, and bisabolol. These won't necessarily prevent ingrown hairs from forming, but they can treat current flare-ups and make them a little less angry.

TBH, though, an ingrown hair serum (as well as other treatments like medicated body washes, scrubs, and toners) are your best bet to preventing and getting rid of ingrown hairs. Because if you thought plucking your ingrown hair would help, you're mistaken. "I do not recommend plucking ingrown hairs, as it can introduce bacteria into the skin, making it more likely to turn into a boil or abscess," Dr. Sandoval adds.

But if your ingrown hair is seriously painful and inflamed, even after trying the above products, see a dermatologist. "They can numb the area and remove the hair with a sterile instrument," says Dr. Sandoval. "They can also treat for infection if bacteria has found its way into the hair follicle."

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How to choose the best ingrown hair serum for you:

Look for exfoliants and soothers.

The dream team when it comes to ingrown hairs is a formula that uses both exfoliants and soothers to help prevent and treat ingrown hairs while calming down inflamed skin. Generally, this means the serum will contain AHAs (glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, etc.) or BHAs (salicylic acid and willow bark extract). BHAs are gentler, so they're ideal for sensitive skin, as well as oil-prone skin types, since they can get into your pores and clear out oil. Some, however, will contain both, like the Fur Ingrown Eliminator Serum, which I loved while testing.

Soothing ingredients like aloe vera and allantoin are great for calming down those aggravated bumps, but they won't get rid of your ingrown hairs on their own. Which is why it is key to look for both, babes.

Consider the area.

If your swimsuit line is hella ingrown-prone, you might not want to opt for a super-strong, potent serum on such a sensitive area. However, ingrown hairs on your legs might need something stronger, as that skin is so much tougher than, say, your face. Generally, your swimsuit line and face are going to be the most sensitive, so choose gentler actives, like mandelic and salicylic acids, over glycolic acid and retinol if you often get irritated.

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Meet the expert:

  • Fareesa Sandoval, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Round Rock, TX. She's well-versed in all medical and cosmetic dermatology and has been a dermatologist for 14 years.

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Why trust ‘Cosmopolitan’?

Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan with six years of experience researching, writing, and editing skincare stories that range from how to get rid of cellulite to skincare routine order. She’s an authority in all skincare categories, but is an expert when it comes to ingrown hair serums after interviewing dermatologists and testing a bajillion serums on her own sensitive skin.

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