Ingrown hair is a phenomenon that occurs when a hair follicle, usually previously shaved or plucked, grows back into the skin. This tends to occur in areas in which you remove your hair; in women, that may be on the legs, armpits or pubic area and in men, that may be on the face or head.
Symptoms of Ingrown Hair
Ingrown hairs manifest themselves as dark, rounded bumps. You may or may not be able to see the hair within it. Other characteristics of hair that's ingrown may include:
- Darker skin (may be a reddish hue)
- Raised bump that's sore to the touch
- Slight soreness or pain
- Pus-filled growth
What to Do If You Suspect Ingrown Hair
The best course of action to take if you suspect that you have hairs that are ingrown is to leave them be. Don't pick at them and don't attempt to remove the hair until it breaks through the surface. (It may take some time, but the hair eventually will break through the surface.) If you pick at it, you may leave a scar or increase your risk of infection.
An ingrown hair usually does not require medical attention, unless you suspect an infection. If you frequently have hairs that are ingrown, you may benefit from a physical to determine whether or not a hormonal condition is at play.