Hairs, as the name implies, occur when the end of the
is cut resulting in a sharpened edge that as it grows, curls back into the same
hair follicle and results in an inflammatory response (redness, itchiness,
and/or raised infected area). At times the small “ingrown hair” hair itself can
even be seen beneath the raised area. Thus the hair is “ingrown” in that it does
not penetrate the dermis as it grows, as it should.
Ingrown hairs are more common among people with very curly hair. Most ingrown
hairs occur in the bikini area.
The seriousness of the inflammation and infection of the ingrown hair may vary.
For some this is an annoying occurrence that doesn't pose a serious health
problem. For others pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor bumps) can develop into
extreme Folliculitis when the hair follicle becomes acutely inflamed. Bacteria,
yeasts, or fungi infections can further exacerbate the problem, and there are
variants of this same condition.
Skin suffering from lack of
Embedded oil in the hair follicles
Build up of dead skin cells in the pores and on the surface of the skin
can cause ingrown hairs - some are more prone to this than others due to
Coarse curly hair growing in a curved hair follicle
shaving technique with a blade such as too close a shave
Hair removal methods such as shaving,
electrolysis, often irritate the hair follicle.
Dead cells can accumulate at the site of the irritation and form papule
(small, raised, abnormality on the skin commonly known as a bump giving rise to
the term 'razor bumps') which can also contain pus while the skin heals.
While this process continues any hair in the area can get trapped under the
formation and is prevented from exiting the skin properly. Ingrown hair is the
The most common symptom of an ingrown hair is inflammation of the skin,
followed by pus formation. However, each individual may experience symptoms
differently. The symptoms of an ingrown hair may resemble other skin conditions.
The body can also respond by producing a pustule - a blister on the skin
An infected pustule can become ruptured resulting in bleeding
Pain - mild or severe
Diagnosis of an ingrown hair can be confirmed with a medical history and a
An ingrown hair often heals on its own. Many have found a decrease in
occurrence when using an electric razor (electric razors are also available for
women) due to the fact that although the shave may not be as close as that of a
blade, the close cut resulting from the blade may be the cause of the end of the
hair shaft becoming so sharpened and easily re-entering a hair follicle.
However, in the case of chronic ingrown hairs, treatment may include:
allow the hair to grow longer
depilatory (to remove the hair)
electrolysis (to remove the hair)
down instead of up on the leg area. Shaving in the same direction (and not
against the grain) helps to train the hair to grow out straight, thus preventing
it curling back into the skin. Afterward a damp warm towel can be applied for a
few minutes to further soothe and soften.
After making sure that the shaving process is completed remove the plug of
hardened proteins that are blocking the hair follicle with
exfoliation products so that the hair may grow outward. Exfoliating every
time you bathe is your best defense against ingrown hairs. Gentle
and keeping the
and supple works well to keep the hair follicles
moisturized and growing in the right direction.