The term ingrown hairs refer to the hair which grows back into the skin instead of growing upwards until it reaches the surface of the skin.
Usually, this happens when the hair gets curled up and forced to grow inside the skin, your body reacts to them as a threat and builds a defence system against them, and that is why they turn into a problem.
What does an ingrown hair look like / feel like? Pictures & Video
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Ingrown hair is growing in the shape of red spots which looks like a regular pimple but has more of reddish
Sometimes it develops into larger bumps, which tend to be painful, itchy, and very uncomfortable filled with pus at other times.
If you are worried about ingrown hair being dangerous, rest assured because they are not.
From personal experience, I once had ingrown hair which I thought it was herpes which freaked me out to death.
But after visiting the doctor, he confirmed it was just an ingrown hair caused by shaving. So aside from the unpleasant appearance, you should know that they are harmless and goes away on their own after a while (1).
Causes of ingrown hair
Ingrown hairs are caused by any factor that leads the hair to break and goes back into the skin.
Removing hair with its different ways such as shaving, waxing and tweezing may cause the appearance of ingrown hairs (2).
If you do not want to develop ingrown hairs, you might want to be more careful next time you shave.
The most common cause of ingrown hair is improper shaving. You should be very careful on which method you use to shave either waxing, tweezing or shaving with a razor blade.
The method you should use is related to the skin type you have. The more sensitive skin you have, the softer your shaving method should be.
Do not shave in an aggressive or a quick way because it causes more damage to your skin than removing unwanted hair.
The majority of people who get ingrown hairs are the people with curly hair. It is highly possible that people with thick curly hair may find it difficult to have a smooth shaving process because the curly hair tends to curl back into the skin, unlike thin hair which is easier to control while shaving.
Dead skin is a significant contributor in developing ingrown hair because dead skin clogs the strands and prevent it from straightening enough for a smooth removal. Instead, it roughens the skin which causes the hair to break.
Who might develop ingrown hairs?
Anyone can develop ingrown hairs.
The highly risked types of people who can get ingrown hairs are people with curly hair, thick hair, and African American people.
High percentages of African Americans develop ingrown hairs due to their nature of having thick hair.
Any person who is aged between teenage years and adulthood might face the probability of having ingrown hairs due to the frequent shaving or hair removal in general.
Areas of ingrown hairs
Ingrown hairs can appear on any part of the body. Not every part but any part that is frequently shaved such as armpits, chin, legs, arms, pubic area.
Most people suffer from ingrown hair in sensitive areas which are covered the majority of times such as armpits and pubic area.
These areas tend to itch and can be very painful and uncomfortable the feeling continues until you apply an ointment or the area is healed.
Ingrown hair infection
Ingrown hairs usually do not become harmless if you treat them right.
But if you neglect it or overlook the symptoms, it develops into a severe infection.
The infection appears as a very red bump filled with pus and extremely painful. It also spreads to other parts of the body as the time goes.
The infection usually happens due to bacteria from the outside environment such as public bathrooms, bathtubs, low level of hygiene, tight clothes.
If you suffer any of the symptoms, you need to visit a dermatologist who will prescribe a suitable ointment for you.
Ingrown hair hard lump under the skin
Hard bumps are the most common characteristic of an ingrown hair since the infection swells causing a bump to appear.
However, a hard bump under the skin sometimes is caused by an infected ingrown hair cyst. When the curled hair refuses to grow back up the skin surface, a hard, painful lump is developed under the skin which gradually leads to a more prominent infection.
Ingrown hair boil
Boils are a type of skin bumps which grow in the skin.
They are red and swollen the majority of the time and even filled with pus. They can be a little bit painful but not harmful or cause any serious health risk.
These boils go away by time on their own sometimes using simple home remedies and other times they just ooze out the pus and peel off on their own (3).
Ingrown hair cyst
Ingrown hair cyst is a much severe ingrown hair inflammation.
An ingrown hair cyst refers to the condition where the ingrown hair stays longer under the skin which raises the probability of further inflammation.
The longer the hair stays under the skin, the higher a cyst may form. A cyst appears on a form of a red swollen bump which can spread in the shape of small pimples which are filled with yellow pus.
The difference between Ingrown hair Boil and Cyst
Both of the terms refer to a bacterial inflammation caused by lack of care of the first ingrown hair.
This type of infection varies based on how deep the hair went into the skin, although they have the same symptoms such as bumps, redness, and pus.
They are different because a boil is a less severe inflammation that a cyst. A boil can be treated with home remedies but a cyst in the majority of times needs professional care (4).
Deep ingrown hair
Deep ingrown hair is usually referred to as the inflammation caused by the hair growing out of the healthy hair follicle.
It goes way down into the skin which makes it very hard to force the hair back up the skin surface and tweeze it out.
Deep ingrown hair may appear on areas with high concentration of thick furs such as the scalp, face, neck, chin, and most importantly private area.
They tend to be very painful and unpleasantly looking but eventually, with proper care, they heal without any serious health or skin damage.
Ingrown hair removal & treatment
Though ingrown hairs can heal on their own, several other easy solutions are available. The following suggestions might be of great help for your ingrown hairs.
how to get rid of ingrown hair using Home remedies
Home remedies are not always natural ingredients mixed or applied to the affected areas.
Remedies sometime mean cautious steps that help prevent developing ingrown hair instead of treating it.
Salt is a natural ingredient that works as an exfoliator for smooth, silky skin.
- Take a teaspoon of salt and mix it with a spoon of olive oil.
- Dip a cotton swab into the mix and rub it on the area.
- Leave it for a few minutes then rinse it off.
- Repeat the process daily until the area is healed.
Do not rub aggressively it might cause pain and bleeding.
Aloe Vera is an excellent moisturiser; it helps in preventing inflammation, irritation, and redness and keeps the skin hydrated.
All that you need to do is take an Aloe Vera gel directly extracted from the plant or as a gel.
Apply it directly to the infected area very gently and leave it for at least 20 minutes then rinse it off with water. You can do this several times a day until your inflamed area is healed.
This remedy helps inflammation and redness of your ingrown hair. The anti-inflammatory elements it contains helps prevent such inconvenience.
- Take two aspirin pills and let them melt in slightly warm water.
- Add a teaspoon of honey and mix them.
- Apply it on the area for at least 10 minutes then rinse it off.
- Repeat this process every two days until you notice results.
Baking soda is instant relief for redness and itchiness. It is also an anti-inflammatory ingredient and a great exfoliator that soothes the skin.
If you have sensitive skin, you might get irritation due to the baking soda.
- Mix a tablespoon o baking soda with a small cup of water.
- With a piece of cotton dab the mixture on the affected area very gently.
- Leave it for at least 5 minutes then rinse it off with cold water.
- Repeat this process twice a day until the inflammation is gone.
It is a common knowledge that heat helps the skin pores open up. So all that you need to do is to take a small towel and soak it in hot water and squeeze out the water from it.
Apply it while it is still warm on the area several times a day.
If you notice the tip of the hair comes out on the surface of the skin so tweeze it out and moisturise the area.
Smooth shaving means a soft skin. If you want to avoid irritation or even worse ingrown hairs you might want to make sure to exfoliate.
All that you need to do is to gently exfoliate before you shave to open up your poles so when you shave your hair will find ways to exit the skin instead of getting clogged inside.
Be careful not to be aggressive because it can irritate the skin so when you shave you will risk having a rash.
Ingrown hair removal cream
Any exfoliation cream can help your ingrown hair to heal by providing a smooth shaving surface.
Ask your doctor for advice about the appropriate product to use before trying random ones. Also, there are a lot of good moisturisers on the market which helps all types of skin you need it to protect the skin and keep it hydrated and reduce irritation.
Shaving creams are available as well, but again you need to be careful while choosing the best one for you.
Shaving creams are available as well, but again you need to be careful while choosing the best one for you.
Ingrown hair won’t go away
Ingrown hairs often go away on their own by time even if it takes a couple of months they eventually fade away. By the way, ingrown hair usually happens when the hair is still under the skin or goes even deeper into the surface instead of growing out.
This happens mostly to people with thick hair follicles or when an ingrown hair is not treated properly.
It is prone when bacteria takes over your bump because of various reasons such as constant shaving. in this case, you are obliged to visit a dermatologist for a professional checkup rather than using conventional methods such as home remedies and skin care routines.
How to prevent ingrown hairs
- Take a warm shower before shaving.
- Exfoliate gently to get rid of the dead skin before shaving.
- Always moisturise to prevent irritation.
- Be careful of the razor you use and use it once only.
- Wear long underwear.
- If you’re suffering from an ingrown hair on your armpit so avoid using deodorant in order not to get a rash or skin irritation.
- Do not shave over an already existing ingrown hair, wait until it heals then shave.
- Avoid aggressive shaving.
If you do get worried, you should contact your doctor for a consultation. You should keep your skin smooth and protected if you want to avoid having painful ingrown hairs in areas you frequently shave.
The best way to deal with ingrown hairs is to prevent it instead of healing it. Thus you need to follow the prior and after shaving precautions in order not to suffer from ingrown hairs.