Ingrown hairs may be caused by improper shaving, waxing or blockage of the hair follicle. Symptoms and signs of ingrown hairs include itching, tenderness, and small red pus bumps. Ingrown hairs usually heal on their own, but topical antibiotics, chemical depilatories, and hair-removal laser may be used in the treatment of ingrown hairs.
Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
An ingrown hair happens when the sharp tip of the
hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin of the hair follicle. It is a benign condition, which
usually appears as a small tan or sometimes pink bump under the skin. Often, a
small pinpoint (often dark) part of the underlying hair may be seen under the
skin bump. In more extensive cases, multiple small red or pink little bumps
around hair follicles may be seen on any skin area that has been frequently
shaved, such as the face, neck, armpits, legs, and pubic region.
Ingrown hair is a very common skin condition occurring primarily after
puberty. Ingrown hairs tend to be more common in areas with coarse hairs, like
the bikini area in women, and beard and neck in men. Individuals with thicker,
coarser hairs, such as African Americans, tend to have the highest rate of
problems with ingrown hairs, particularly of the beard area. Rarely, an ingrown
hair may also appear in other skin parts, such as the eyelid. Generally, an ingrown
hair is medically harmless, yet it may become cosmetically disfiguring and lead
to scarring, skin discoloration (referred to as post-inflammatory
hyperpigmentation), skin infection, and rarely keloid scar formation.
Most experts believe that the cysts arise due to trauma to the area that results in ingrown hairs. Pilonidal cysts often contain hair when excised, but hair follicles have not been demonstrated in them, suggesting that the hair may have been introduced from outside the cyst.