An ingrown hair is a hair grows back or sideways into the skin. While not a serious problem, it may be considered an aesthetic problem and may even lead to scarring or skin discoloration. Skin infection may also be a consequence of an ingrown hair. They appear as a small bump on the skin, often pink or tan in color. They are, in most cases, more common in areas of the skin with coarse hair. These include the bikini area for women and the beard for men. Individuals who have thick and coarse hair often have the most trouble with ingrown hairs, although they may affect anybody.
So what causes these ingrown hairs? When the hair is cut short, the sharp tip that results may pierce the skin, which may lead to an ingrown hair. Poor technique while shaving may be a possible cause, while other forms of hair removal such as waxing may be blame as well. Dead skin debris may in some cases block the opening of the hair follicle, leading the hair to grow sideways. To avoid ingrown hairs, individuals may hydrate and soften the skin before shaving, use a moist washcloth or sponge and mild soap to clean the area in a circular motion to dislodge hair tips, avoid shaving against the grain and avoid sharing too closely to the skin. Various chemical depilatories, topical creams and antibiotics and medical procedures to remove the ingrown hair may be effective treatments.