Ingrown pubic hairs, nobody likes to talk about them, but almost everyone has experienced one at some point in their lives if they frequently shave down there. They can be scary, but often manageable with the right treatment.
There are actually a number of causes for ingrown pubic hairs, each with their own way to prevent and treat them. In this article, we will go over the most common causes of ingrown pubic hairs, as well as ways to prevent them from coming back again.
What Are Ingrown Hairs?
Ingrown hairs are hairs that grow back into the skin after shaving, waxing, or using hair removal creams and lotions. They can occur anywhere from your armpits, to your face, to your legs, and yes, even your pubic area. They are most commonly seen post-shaving when the hair begins to regrow.
So, why do they occur? Why do some people have this problem and others don't? Well, it all comes down to your hair follicles. Some people have a lot of space between their hair follicles, whereas others have very little.
When you shave, wax, or use creams and lotions on your hair, the hair follicle opens up and the hair is supposed to go through it and out, but some people's hair follicles are not big enough to accommodate the hair, so it gets stuck and grows back into the skin, causing the irritation that we call an ingrown hair.
When the hair itself is fine and curly, it grows back the most easily and is far more likely to be ingrown. Coarse, straight hair is less likely to grow back into the skin.
Pubic hairs are typically thick and wavy, which is why they are more likely to cause ingrown hairs. Other factors that can contribute to ingrown hairs are skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis, which can cause your skin to be overly sensitive. If you are prone to ingrown hairs anywhere else on your body, you are likely to experience ingrown hairs on your pubic region as well.
Ingrown Pubic Hairs: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention Methods
Pubic hairs can grow in different directions, and when shaving or waxing, you could easily catch the hair and pull it in the opposite direction it is growing, causing it to grow in and become ingrown. Also, if you use a dull razor and drag it across the skin, it will cause the hair growth to have increased odds of becoming ingrown.
1. Shaving With a Dull Razor
One of the most common causes of ingrown hairs is shaving with a dull razor. Depending on the manufacturer, your razor blade may only last you a few shaves before it becomes too dull to use. However, if you're shaving every day, you may need to replace your razor blade more often than that.
Dull razors don't cut your hair as close to the skin as sharp razors do, which means that the hair is more likely to grow back into the skin. This is especially true if the hair is curly and prone to ingrown hairs.
Solution: Change your blade frequently. This is also just good hygiene practice, as shaving with a dull blade can lead to razor burn and other irritations.
2. Dragging the Razor Across Your Skin
Another common cause of ingrown hair is shaving against the direction of hair growth. Shaving in one direction, like up or down, will cause the hair to stand perpendicular to the skin in that direction. When you shave against the direction of growth, the hair becomes cut at a sharp angle. This leaves the hair more prone to growing in or getting caught beneath the skin. Razors that have a guard that can be lowered, especially for men who shave their faces, can be especially prone to causing ingrown hairs because the guard tends to catch the hair and pull it in the opposite direction of growth.
Solution: Shave in the same direction that the hair grows. In general, this is the direction that the hair grows above the beltline. However, you may need to experiment with shaving in different directions to see which works best for you.
3. Improperly Using a Wax or Sugaring Strip
Another common cause of ingrown pubic hairs is the use of a wax or sugaring strip. These strips are used to pull hair from the skin and remove it from the body. However, if the skin is pulled in the opposite direction of growth, the hair will become ingrown. This can also happen if the wax strip is not removed immediately after the hair is pulled from the skin.
Solution: Make sure that the wax or sugaring strip is removed as soon as the hair is pulled.
4. Having Curly Hair
The type of hair you have can also contribute to the likelihood of you getting ingrown hairs. Curly hair tends to grow in all directions, so it can easily become ingrown. This is especially true for women who have coarse, curly hair.
Solution: There isn't much you can do about the natural type of hair you have, but you can attempt to control where it grows. If you have curly hair, you may want to try shaving in the direction of the hair growth. That will help to prevent the hair from growing into your skin.
5. Not Exfoliating the Skin
Exfoliation is another important part of preventing ingrown pubic hairs. If you don't exfoliate your skin before you shave, the hair follicles will be filled with dead skin cells and other impurities. This can cause the hair to grow out of the follicle at a different angle, which can cause it to become ingrown.
Solution: Exfoliate your skin with a loofah or a body scrub prior to shaving. It's also a great idea to exfoliate after you shave, especially if you're prone to ingrown hairs.
Treatments for Ingrown Pubic Hairs
There are a few things you can do to help avoid ingrown pubic hairs and to help treat them if they become ingrown.
An ingrown pubic hair will cause irritation and inflammation, and if left untreated it can even cause infection. However, you don't want to mess with them too much, as this also can lead to infection.
As a preventative pre-treatment, make sure to exfoliate the area before and after shaving. This will help to remove dead skin cells, which will help to prevent ingrown hairs. Using a loofah or scrubbing mitt helps to get the job done. Additionally, it is always a good idea to shave or wax in the direction the hair is growing.
However, if it does become ingrown, take a warm compress and put it on the affected area for 15-20 minutes. No matter how tempting, don’t pick at or attempt to pop the ingrown hair, as it will create an infection that'll only take more time to heal. If the area is red, irritated, or just plain painful, you can apply a topical antibiotic ointment, but again, do not pop the ingrown hair.
Try waiting it out to see if it goes away on it's own, but if it doesn't, you can always try to remove it at your next shower. Using tweezers, grab the hair as close to the skin as possible, and pull it straight out. Be sure to disinfect the area with an antiseptic, and don't do this if the area is infected, or you have open wounds. Do not pull out the hair if you have an infection, as you don't want to spread the infection any further.
If you can't get to the hair, continue waiting. The majority of the time your ingrown hair will go away on its own, but if you still have pain or an infection, go to a doctor.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.