Do you see raised red bumpy lumps in your bikini area that looks like a pimple? Sometimes when we shave or tweeze the unwanted hair from the area, the sharp tip of the hair that grows back can curl round and grows back into the skin, resulting in ingrown hair. But the bikini area is not the only place affected by ingrown hairs; it can affect any area that you shave, tweeze or wax. In women, the problem is common on the legs, pubic area, buttocks and armpits. In fact, men commonly get ingrown hairs on their face, neck and chin as they regularly shave it.
What does an ingrown hair look like?
When you get ingrown hair, you can see a raised red spots, which can get infected and turn into a pus-filled sore. It looks like a little pimple, but can be itchy and uncomfortable. Normally ingrown hairs tend to be more common in areas with coarse hairs, like the bikini area in women, and beard and neck in men. In rare cases, an ingrown hair may also appear in areas like eyelid. Generally, an ingrown hair isn’t serious, but sometimes it can be painful and lead to scarring, skin discoloration and skin infection.
Causes of ingrown hairs
Ingrown hair is caused when a curved hair follicle re-enters the skin once the hair is cut and starts to grow back. This usually happens after you’ve have shaved, waxed, or tweezed to remove unwanted hair. Hair removal, using these methods, creates sharp edges in hair, which allows the cut hair to draw back into the skin and re-enter the skin without first growing out. When a hair penetrates skin, it reacts as it would to a foreign body and becomes inflamed. You might also get an ingrown hair if you have high levels of certain sex hormones. Hormonal imbalances can lead to excessive hair growth, which makes it more likely to get ingrown hairs.
Treatment for ingrown hair
Normally ingrown hair will go away on its own, but sometimes for aesthetic reasons people want to get rid of ingrown hairs as soon as possible. This can be done if you take the hair out using tweezers. The process can be really painful and can cause infection if not done properly. It is better if you consult a doctor to get an ingrown hair removed. Your doctor can make a small incision in your skin with a sterile needle and release the trapped hair.
If you want an invasive method of getting rid of ingrown hair, then your options are:
- Retinoid – You can apply retinoid on the infected area to help clear the dead skin cells and reduce skin darkening.
- Steroid creams – There are many topical creams available on the market that can help reduce inflammation.
- Pills – If the area gets infected due to scratching, you can use oral antibiotics to heal it and reduce pain.
- Salicylic acid solution – You can also apply salicylic acid solutions or ointments containing salicylic acid to get rid of ingrown hairs caused by waxing or shaving.