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Does Epilator Cause Ingrown Hairs? (& How to Avoid)

By Viktoria
April 27, 2023
7 minutes

Have you explored different hair removal options that provide results like waxing without using wax? And we are sure one of the top methods you found must be epilation. However, regardless of how you use it, you end up getting ingrown hair.

As a matter of fact, epilation is one of the commonest causes of ingrown hair. So, is there no way to avoid ingrown hair caused by epilators or will you have to just throw away your expensive device? We are going to discuss ingrown hair caused by epilators and ways to avoid them here.

What is An Epilator and How Does it Work?

An epilator is an electric device that either works on batteries or main power. It has small tweezers that grab the unwanted hair and pulls them out of the roots. The tweezers can be rotatable, disc-like, or spring-shaped.

Some epilators can only be used on dry skin while others are compatible with dry or wet epilation. Additionally, some epilators only have 1 head while others come with multiple attachments for different body parts.

Moreover, it takes about 2-4 weeks for the hair to regrow from the roots after epilation making it similar to waxing. However, because it works on the surface of the skin and does not come in contact with cells of the epidermis, the epilator does not remove dead skin cells as waxing does.

Does Epilator Cause Ingrown Hair?

Ingrown hair is hair that does not grow out of its follicle smoothly. Rather, such hair is bent inside the skin’s surface and appears as bumps or little hair curls on the skin. It can also become inflamed, infected, and can even accumulate pus and become red and swollen. And if it is not treated appropriately, it can lead to long-lasting scarring.

Just like other methods of hair removal like shaving or waxing, epilation also causes ingrown hair. When an epilator is not properly or the skin is not well-prepared before epilation, it causes ingrown hair.

How Does an Epilator Cause Ingrown Hair?

The two major mechanisms behind the development of ingrown hair after using an epilator are hair breakage instead of pulling from the roots and blockage of hair follicles.

Hair Breakage

As the epilator removes the hair from the roots, the hair regrows back smoothly. However, if the hair is broken halfway through its length instead of being pulled out completely, they regrow faster and springs up inside the skin.

The causes of hair breakage include

  • Skin not taut enough to have hair pulled from the roots
  • Epilator not being in flat contact with the skin
  • Not keeping the epilator optimally pressed with the skin’s surface for fear of pain
  • Using a poor-quality epilator with less than 20 tweezers

Blockage of Hair Follicles

Our skin is an organ that undergoes cellular turnover constantly. Its cells die and are replaced by new ones. But the dead skin cells accumulate and slow down the self-exfoliation process of the skin. It also blocks hair follicles.

In such circumstances, hair cannot find its way out of the skin and tend to grow inside the skin resulting in ingrown hair.

After-Care of Ingrown Hair

Now that you know why you keep getting so much ingrown hair after epilation. Let us find out how can you treat such hair when you have already used an epilator.

Leave them As it is

As the hair continues to grow, let the ingrown hair be. After a few days, they will grow out of the skin by themselves. Furthermore, you should avoid epilation, waxing, or shaving in the area of ingrown hair until it heals.

Pull them Out

However, if that hair is irritating or is prone to become infected, you should pull them out one by one. You can use sterilized needles, tweezers, or clippers to remove the ingrown hair as they slightly come out of the skin.

Also if it has already become infected, use a topical antibiotic ointment to treat the infection.

Wash the Affected Area

The most important step in aftercare of ingrown hair is to keep your skin clean and exfoliate it gently. Take a soft washcloth or a toothbrush with soft bristles, dampen it with warm water, and rub it on the affected area smoothly in circular motions.

How to Avoid Ingrown Hair

Treating ingrown hair after using an epilator is alright but it should not become a routine as it is a demanding procedure and it can also cause long-lasting scarring or skin pigmentation. So, the more feasible way is to avoid getting ingrown hair altogether.

Following are some tips to use an epilator without getting ingrown hair.

Use a Good Quality Device

An epilator with damaged blades or fewer trimmers is more likely to cause ingrown hair. So, it is advisable to use a high-quality epilator in good working condition to get rid of ingrown hair in addition to unwanted hair.

Trimming the Hair

If the unwanted hair on your skin is too long to be pulled by an epilator, cut them to one-third or a quarter of its length so that the tweezers can catch the hair from the roots instead of halfway.

Proper Skin Exfoliation

Dead skin cells and impurities accumulated in the skin clog pores and even block hair follicles when hair is pulled out of them. So, the most important tip to avoid ingrown hair is to have well-exfoliated skin.

You can exfoliate the skin using s physical scrub or any chemical before using an epilator. But it is recommended to exfoliate the skin twice and thrice per week to keep it in the best condition.

Moisturizing the Skin

Skin becomes dry after exfoliation and chances of irritation increase after using an epilator. So, after removing the hair, moisturize your skin adequately to avoid redness, irritation, and inflammation. Also, make sure to use a non-comedogenic moisturizer so that the pores are not clogged.

Using Salicylic Acid

Lastly, use a salicylic acid-containing product like serum or cream to make your skin smooth and glowy. Additionally, salicylic acid removes dead skin cells and unclogs skin pores and hair follicles. Consequently, ingrown hair is not formed.

How to Long-lastingly Avoid Ingrown Hair

Although you can avoid ingrown hair as you epilate away unwanted hair, it is not the long-lasting solution to the problem. The long-lasting solution lies in expensive hair removal methods like laser and electrolysis.

But wait! We are forgetting about IPL hair removal, the only long-lasting and relatively inexpensive way out.

What Makes Hair Removal with IPL Better than Epilation?

Now let us see what are the advantages of IPL hair removal over an epilator. Also, let us consider one of the top hair removal devices Ulike Air3 Hair Removal IPL Handset when we talk about IPL here.

Pain-Free Treatment at Home

Hair is first grabbed by tweezers of the epilator and then pulled out. If you have used an epilator, you must be aware of the intensity of the pain. And if you have not used it yet, I think you can imagine it well.

On the other hand, IPL devices are relatively nearly painless as there is no grabbing and pulling of hair. Regarding the Ulike Sapphire IPL device, it is absolutely nearly painless because of its innovative dynamic sapphire ice-cooling technology.

Long-Lasting Results

Hair undergoes a growth cycle. So, even if you remove it using an epilator, it will be back within a month as long as the hair follicle is alive. However, IPL hair removal devices kill the hair follicles. So, no hair follicles and no unwanted hair.

Ulike Sapphire Air3 IPL device provides an energy output of 21 J/cm2 that 63.64% of hair follicles within 3 weeks. And with continuous touchups, you can become completely hairless for up to 6 months.

No Ingrown Hair or Strawberry Legs

The side effect of epilation we discussed today, ingrown hair, can be long-lastingly avoided by using IPL devices like Ulike Sapphire Air3. Because it has a long wavelength that works on the full length of hair and prevents ingrown hair or strawberry legs.

Quick Treatment Time

Epilators are small handheld devices that pull out only a fraction of hair once. Additionally, the process is slower. So, it can take 1 hour or more to treat the full body.

But Ulike sapphire has a fast flash speed of 0.7/second that enables you to treat your full body within 10-30 minutes.

Cost Effectiveness

A good quality epilator costs anywhere between $100-300 with a warranty of a year or two. Moreover, it lasts only for a few years.

Ulike sapphire Air3 only costs $379 originally and $279 with its promo code. Additionally, it lasts for a whole lifetime with its 1 million flashes. So, IPL devices are more cost-effective as compared to epilators.


Epilators, no doubt, cause ingrown hair because of breaking the hair instead of removing it from the roots. Additionally, even if the full hair is pulled out, ingrown hair can occur because of clogged hair follicles. Such ingrown hair can be avoided by taking proper care of the skin.

But if you plan on not having to worry about ingrown hair ever again, the Ulike Sapphire Air3 hair removal IPL device is the savior for you.

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