Ingrown hair

Ingrown hairs are hairs that have curled around and grown back into your skin instead of rising up from it.

Sometimes, dead skin can clog up a hair follicle. That forces the hair inside it to grow sideways under the skin, rather than upward and outward. Sometimes, cutting naturally curly hair too closely will result in the sharpened end of the hair piercing the skin, causing an ingrown hair.

  • Ingrown hairs aren’t serious. But they can be irritating and embarrassing.

An ingrown hair irritates the skin. It produces a raised, red bump (or group of bumps) that looks like a little pimple. Sometimes an ingrown hair can form a painful, boil-like sore.

  • Ingrown hairs can be itchy and uncomfortable, especially if you’ve got a lot of them. You may notice pus inside the bumps. Or you may see the hair that’s causing the problem.

In men, ingrown hairs often pop up as a bunch of little bumps on the chin, cheeks, or neck after shaving.

In women, ingrown hairs are common on the legs, as well as in the pubic area and armpits. You can also get ingrown hairs on your buttocks.

Anyone can get an ingrown hair. But the problem is more common in people who have very curly or coarse hair. Curly hair is more likely to bend back and re-enter the skin, especially after it’s been shaved or cut.

Often, an ingrown hair will go away on its own. If it doesn’t go away, an ingrown hair can become infected, darken the skin, or leave behind a scar, especially if you’ve been scratching or picking at it.

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