Ingrown Hair : What Are The Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment?


Ingrown hairs are described as pulled hair that starts to grow back and coils into the skin. This might happen from waxing, plucking, or shaving. A small, swelling lump on the skin brought on by an ingrown hair may be painful. Those who shave and have curly hair are most frequently affected.

Most ingrown hair situations resolve on their own. By not shaving extremely near to the skin or not removing hair, you can prevent this problem. If you can not do that, you might attempt another hair removal technique that carries a lower risk of ingrown hairs.

A raised, discolored patch on your skin may be a sign of ingrown hair. It is a hair that returns to your skin after waxing, plucking, or shaving. Anyone can get ingrown hairs, but with the proper hair removal techniques, they are simple to cure and avoid.

Ingrown hair is hair that grows back into your skin after shaving, plucking, or waxing. They frequently occur around your face, legs, armpits, and pubic region and can be uncomfortable or irritating.

Ingrown hairs are also known as shaving bumps, shave bumps and barber bumps. Ingrown hairs are extremely typical. Ingrown hairs can appear on anybody who waxes, tweezes, or shaves their hair. You are more prone to get ingrown hairs if you shave often.

Ingrown hairs are also more common in those with skin of color, and thick, coarse, or curly hair.


Ingrown hairs are described as pulled hair that starts to grow back and coils into the skin. This often happens following waxing, hair removal, or shaving.

The structure and development pattern of the hair has an impact on ingrown hairs.

When the hair is clipped and begins to grow back, it is thought that a hair follicle that generates tightly curled hair will urge the hair to reenter the skin. Hair that has been shaved has a sharp edge, which makes it simpler to penetrate the skin.

Ingrown hairs may also result from:

  • Shaving causes skin pulling. Hair pulls back into the skin as a result of this motion.
  • Tweezing.
  • Your skin feels irritating when hair pierces it, just like it would with a foreign object.

How to check if you have Ingrown Hair?

An ingrown hair now and again is nothing to worry about. If your disease does not improve or if it creates issues frequently, see a doctor.

Risk Factors

Having tightly curled hair is the biggest risk factor for ingrown hairs.


Ingrown hair symptoms and signs include:

  • Little, swollen lumps where you wax, tweeze or shave
  • Little lumps that resemble blisters or are pus-filled
  • Small, darker-than-the-skin-around-them lumps (hyperpigmentation)
  • Stinging or burning
  • Itching
  • Hair that has a looped form because its tip curls and develops into the skin


To help avoid ingrown hairs, stay away from waxing, tweezing, and shaving. If that is not a possibility, follow these recommendations to reduce the chance of ingrown hairs:

  • Before shaving, wash your skin with warm water and a mild facial cleanser.
  • Apply lubricating shaving cream or gel a few minutes before shaving to soften the hair. Alternately, use a warm, moist towel.
  • Use a single-blade razor that is sharp and shaving cream. It prevents shaving that is too close.
  • Do not tug on your skin when you shave.
  • Shave with the development of the hair in mind.
  • In between each stroke, rinse the blade.
  • Apply a cold, moist towel for around five minutes after rinsing your skin. Then, to assist in removing dead skin cells, apply a soothing aftershave product or a glycolic acid lotion (exfoliate).
  • Clippers or an electric razor. Avoid using the razor's closest shave setting. A little bit away from your skin, hold the razor or clippers.
  • Hair-removing chemicals (depilatory). Test the product on a tiny patch of hair first since the chemicals in hair removal treatments may hurt your skin.


Stop shaving, tweezing, or waxing to cure ingrown hairs until the issue becomes well, generally after one to six months. If you would like, use electric clippers or scissors to cut your beard. Wait until all the skin has healed and the ingrown hairs have disappeared before beginning to shave again. These actions aid in condition management. They can not make it vanish for good.

Your doctor may advise drugs, laser-assisted hair removal, or both if you can not go that long without shaving and other self-care methods are not working.


To assist you to manage your disease, your doctor may prescribe a few drugs. They consist of:

  • Drugs that aid in dead skin cell removal. Dead skin cells can be removed by using a retinoid lotion every night, such as tretinoin (Renova, Retin-A, and others). 
  • Skin tissue (exfoliate). Results could become apparent in as little as two months. Retinoids may also aid in the healing of any discoloration (postinflammatory hyperpigmentation). By reducing the curve of the hair, a glycolic acid-containing lotion lowers the risk of hair growing into the skin.
  • Creams for soothing the skin. Creams containing steroids can lessen itch and irritation.
  • Tablets or creams to treat infections. Creams with antibiotics can cure minor infections brought on by scratching. A more serious illness can necessitate the use of antibiotic tablets.
  • Creams that slow hair growth. Eflornithine (Vaniqa), a prescription lotion, reduces hair growth when used in conjunction with another hair removal technique, such as laser therapy.

Hair removal using lasers and electrolysis

Your doctor could suggest laser-assisted hair removal, which eliminates hair. Compared to shaving, waxing, tweezing, or electrolysis, hair is removed at a deeper level. Laser therapy is a longer-term approach that decreases regrowth. Blisters, scarring, and loss of skin tone are potential adverse effects of this treatment (dyspigmentation).

Complications of Ingrown Hair

If an ingrown hair does not go away, it may contract:

  • Infection with bacteria (from scratching)
  • Skin that is darker than usual in some areas (postinflammatory hyperpigmentation)
  • Scars that are raised and darker than the surrounding skin (keloids)
  • Razor bumps are also called pseudofolliculitis barbae
  • A fine scarring depression (grooves)


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Page last reviewed: Mar 15, 2023

Next review due: Mar 15, 2025

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