How to Avoid Bumps When Plucking Hair

Plucking facial and body hairs can often lead to unsightly bumps. Here are steps to help you prevent the resulting bump and bumps caused by hairs becoming ingrown after you've removed them.


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    Make sure you have a properly working pair of tweezers. Tweezers dull and bend with repeated use. The appropriate tweezers should completely meet at the tip or end and you should be able to grab and pull hairs without the hair slipping. If you pluck frequently you may need to replace tweezers often.
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    Sanitize your tweezers by dipping them in rubbing alcohol or washing with an antibacterial soap.
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    Try to use a mirror for better views in a room with adequate light or use supplemental lighting if necessary (make up mirror, etc.).
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    Before you start plucking, wash your face or area you are plucking hairs from and exfoliate the area to be plucked to remove any additional oils, dry skin particles and bacteria from your skin surfaces.
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    Hold a warm washcloth to the area to open the pores. Don't use a very hot towel as this can irritate or burn the skin.
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    Grab onto the hair to be plucked with the tweezers.
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    Pluck the hairs quickly and in the direction that the hair grows.
    • This is very important. This is the leading cause of bumps on forehead. Always, always pluck hair from the direction the hair grows. Inspect the hairs to see if it was pulled out entirely. If you only have a partial hair you should feel and try to find the remaining hair left in the skin to pull it completely out.
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    Use a cotton round or cotton ball and go over the area with a facial toner or witch hazel. This will help sanitize and soothe the area further. It will also help close the pores. Do not use toners with high alcohol content unless you have extremely oily skin. Note: applying toner, witch hazel or alcohol containing products may sting a bit so be prepared.
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    Soothe with aloe. If you are prone to irritation you should follow the toner up with aloe vera gel. You can also do this if the area requires additional soothing. Aloe will also help to cool the area. This can be applied lightly with a cotton ball and does not require the thick coat you would use for a burn.
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    Let your skin rest. Don't immediately apply lotions or make up to the area. Allow the follicle time to close up. The toner will help with this step. By applying cosmetics or items with oil you are introducing oils into what is an essentially an open sore. After about 15-30 minutes you can apply products as usual.
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    Keep the area clean. Should ingrown hairs occur you should keep the area clean and apply products to prevent infection.
    • Areas not on the face should also be kept dry. Medicated powder like gold bond can help.
    • Use caution before "popping" an ingrown hair
    • Ingrown hairs will continue to grow under the skin and the bump may continue to grow and be a chronic problem until the ingrown hair can be removed. The bump can continue to grow inward and you may have a very long hair growing under the skin before you can retrieve it.
    • If you are able to extract matter from the bump you should try to remove the hair. Use your tweezers. Using a pin to dig out the hair may cause scarring or infection if you are not adept at extraction of ingrown hairs.
    • Apply Neosporin or antibiotic ointment or gel to the area.
    • You may need to visit a physician, Esthetician, or dermatologist to have the bump extracted properly.
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    Consider speaking with a physician or other specialist. If skin irritation and bumps continue to be a problem after following these steps or you have chronic problems with ingrown hairs you should consider waxing, laser hair removal or electrolysis.


  • Green tinted moisturizers and concealers will reduce the appearance of redness
  • Always clean your tools before you use them. Ideally, keep a set of facial tweezers to use exclusively for tweezing hairs. Keep these away from tweezers used to remove splinters or other first aid uses.
  • Apply Neosporin or antibiotic gel to ingrown hairs or areas that become too irritated.
  • For plucking non-facial areas, first shower or bathe in warm water. This will allow the pores to open and make plucking easier. If possible, exfoliate. Pluck immediately after drying following bathing.
  • Plucking the hair removes it from below the surface. Shaving does not last as long but it may reduce your chances of ingrown hairs.
  • Cyst are often mistaken as ingrown hairs. If in doubt you should consult a specialist.
  • It is not unusual for the skin to appear red around the plucked area, especially if you have plucked many hairs. If they area is still appearing red after 30-45 minutes you can apply a cool compress.
  • Invest in a magnifying mirror with light if you must frequently pluck
  • Some beauty supply stores carry a soothing solution near the waxing products. This can also be applied with a cotton ball to the tweezed areas.
  • Some tweezers come with wider or rubber coated grips for easier handling.
  • Regular and proper facial washing will keep your skin exfoliated
  • Visine (or other eye drop) which is used for red eyes can also be used to reduce redness on blemishes and bumps. Just apply several drops to a Q-tip and use the Q-tip to apply to the red areas.
  • Invest in a quality pair of tweezers from a beauty supply store or store specializing in skin care. Tweezers man tweezers (and brands offered by some skin care product makers) feature a warranty and are offered in multiple colors to help identify them as facial tweezers.


  • Over plucking for long periods of time will lead to hairs not growing back. For many years over plucked eyebrows was in fashion and now many are struggling to re-grow their eyebrows.
  • Tweezing without cleaning the tools and your face may lead to infection.
  • Tight clothing can lead to ingrown hairs as they restrict the hairs from properly growing out. Chafing can also lead to ingrown hairs. Wear appropriate foundation garments or use a medicated powder (Gold Bond).
  • Do not use a warm compress so warm it burns your skin.
  • Some African-American men suffer from chronic razor bumps following shaving. You should consult a dermatologist, physician or esthetician to determine the best care for your skin and if plucking is appropriate.

Things You'll Need

  • Properly working tweezers that are used exclusively for plucking. (Not the same ones used for crafts or first aid.)
  • Alcohol to sanitize your tweezers
  • Mirror or magnifying mirror with light source
  • Well lighted area
  • Skin toner
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Neosporin
  • Warm compress
  • Skin scrub
  • Skin cleanser (soap or facial cleanser) with minimal fragrance or oils
  • Cotton (balls or rounds)
  • Q-tips or cotton swabs
  • Visine or other eye drop for eliminating red eyes
  • Practice

Article Info

Categories: Skin Care