Ingrown pubic hair may occur on the vagina and labia in females or the penis and scrotum in men. It may also affect your inner thighs. The symptoms include bumps or pimples, lumps or infected cysts.
Ingrown hairs in the pubic area occur normally after waxing, shaving or other types of hair removal, like Brazilian wax. In this article, you’ll find photos, symptoms, treatments and the best ways to get rid of ingrown hair follicles in the bikini area.
How does ingrown hair occur?
After you shave, some of the hairs curl back and grow toward the skin. When they become embedded back into your skin, they cause bumps, irritation, and occasionally cysts. Your pubic region may also become itchy.
Photos: Ingrown Hair in Pubic Area
So what does an ingrown hair look like? It may often be mistaken for pimples, genital warts or genital bumps when it occurs in that area of the body. Photos will help you in distinguishing the symptoms, so you can identify whether you have a pimple or an ingrown hair follicle.
Below and throughout this article, you’ll find photographs of ingrown hair in the pubic area. You can use the photos to compare ingrown pubic hair to STD warts or pimples.
Shave bumps due to embedded hair
Causes of Ingrown Genital Hair
Nearly anyone who has hair in the bikini area may get ingrown hair. In many people, the actual cause isn’t known. The problem is more common in those whose hair is naturally curly and coarse.
Curly hair is much more likely to grow back and enter the skin again, especially after shaving, according to WebMD. Below, we’ll list the causes of genital area ingrown hair.
- Pulling skin while shaving
Don’t pull your skin when you shave – image from WikiHow
Many people pull their skin when they shave. This pulls the skin taut, which makes it easier to shave. The issue with this particular method is that it allows the hair you have just shaved to curl back into your skin. If it enters the skin, it will grow downward and curl instead of growing up and out.
- Tweezing, plucking, shaving or waxing
You can end up with ingrown hairs each time you shave your bikini area. What’s the cause? Most embedded hair follicles are caused by improper methods of hair removal. If you shave against the hair growth direction, for example, it will likely cause irritated razor bumps and ingrown pubic hair.
Tweezing may leave fragments of hair under your skin. This will clog your hair follicles in the pubic area and lead to ingrown hair in the area. Other methods can also be too aggressive. After shaving or Brazilian waxing, you can get ingrown hair in the pubic area. Other causes include laser hair removal and plucking.
- Certain hormones, during a pregnancy or period
Another common cause of ingrown hair includes some sex hormones. Hormonal changes may trigger excessive hair growth. When you have too much hair growing, there is a greater chance for ingrown follicles. This may happen more often during menstrual periods or pregnancy.
- Post C-section ingrown hair
Ingrown bikini hair after C-section
C-section scar tissue is usually harder than natural skin. This prevents hair from growing naturally after you shave. You may have big bumps around the scar or along the incision line after pubic area hair removal.
- Clogged follicles in the bikini area
It’s easy for hair follicles to become clogged. If you sweat due to exercise or wearing tight clothes, this can cause hair follicles and pores to block. When you shave, excessive sebum, dirt, debris and dead skin cells may clog your follicles.
When the shaved pubic hair tries to regrow, it is blocked and begins growing downward or sideways. This happens more often in people who don’t exfoliate their skin before they shave. Exfoliating before and after shaving helps in the prevention of ingrown pubic hair.
- Curly, coarse hair and ingrown pubic hair bumps
Lumps and bumps from ingrown pubic hair form after the hair grows into your skin. After it is trapped there, it will form razor bump cysts. Razor bumps are commonly found on the legs, chin, neck and face, but they can occur as well in the pubic area.
Symptoms of Ingrown Pubic Hair
Ingrown follicles are commonly found in men on the cheeks, chin, beard, neck and face. They are common on the bikini area and legs in women. The labia lips and vagina can also be affected, causing much pain and discomfort. So what are the symptoms and signs of ingrown pubic hair?
- Itchy bumps
If people have itchy bumps in their genital areas, they may occur after razor burn. These bumps begin when ingrown hair develops as a result of skin irritation from shaving or other hair removal methods.
- Ingrown pubic hair zits, pimples or pustules
These begin as bubbles found in the area of the groin. Pimples on the scrotum or bumps on the vagina will then appear on the skin. People describe these as pustules, zits or papules. Ingrown hair-related bumps or pimples may also become irritated.
- Ingrown hair dark spots and scars in pubic area
Pubic hair ingrown scars on inner thigh
Black spots and scars are often the result of ingrown hair, when they occur in the pubic area or upper thigh. Dark patches, irritation, inflammation and uneven skin tone form after the boils, sores and bumps. Scars result from the healing skin that was infected when the embedded hairs were healing.
- Painful bumps without heads
Blind pimples don’t have a head. With ingrown hair, you may notice small sized red bumps that have dark spots in their center. The bumps will become painful, and may continue to grow for several days.
- Pus-filled lesions and blisters
Ingrown hair cysts filled with pus will appear as bumps filled with fluid. Green or yellow pus indicate infection. They are typically described as white bumps in the pubic or vaginal area. DO NOT pop, squeeze or pick these bumps, even if they itch. If you do, that will allow the infection to spread.
- Boils & abscesses in the genital area
Sores and blisters signify infection. Accumulated debris and pus may drain from them. Sometimes the drainage appears clear, and sometimes as a yellow or green liquid. Severely ingrown hairs in this area with these symptoms need antibiotic treatment, or infection will spread to other parts of the groin area.
- Hard lumps from ingrown pubic hairs
You should never ignore genital lumps. Bumps deep under your skin may be the result of ingrown hairs; some lumps could be symptoms of cancer. Lumps usually feel like balls under your skin. They may be movable, and painless or painful.
Many pubic area hard lumps have as their cause sebaceous cysts, rather than ingrown hairs. In some rare cases, ingrown hairs may form hard lumps when they dry up. Scars may also lead to keloids, presenting as bikini area hard lumps.
If you have hard lumps that grow, they need to be checked on and treated right away, since they could signify serious illness. Other common symptoms include:
- Painful bumps filled with blood
- Swollen groin area lymph nodes caused by irritation and inflammation that are brought on by bacterial infection
- Scabs on swollen pimples and bumps
In some cases, the hair follicle embedded under the skin is not visible.
Ingrown pubic hair cysts
These cysts form on hair follicles. They are known also as trichilemmal cysts. It’s easy for people to confuse hard follicle cysts with hard sebaceous cysts. Cysts on follicles are formed from fluid that surrounds the hair follicle. That hair curls and is growing deep under the skin.
It’s easy for embedded hair follicles to turn into boils, abscesses or cysts, particularly if infection is involved. These cysts begin to form like pubic pimples, generally found on the labia in women and the penis shaft or scrotum in men.
The photos below will help you compare sebaceous cysts and ingrown hair cysts.
Sebaceous skin cyst – image from byebyedoctor.com
Ingrown hair cyst
Remedies for Infected Ingrown Hair
What do infected ingrown pubic hairs look like? How does the infection start, and will is spread? Bacterial and fungal infections can cause the infection of ingrown hairs. This infection begins in razor bumps occurring after shaving the bikini or groin area.
Remedies for infections in ingrown hair don’t involve removing them. If you try to remove one, you may damage your skin. Dark marks and scarring can become visible and prominent. If the infection spreads, you should see your dermatologist for treatment.
Staph infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (also called MRSA) may be dangerous when they occur in your pubic area. MRSA is resistant to most antibiotics and can cause your skin major damage. If you have lesions from ingrown hairs that won’t heal and that spread, contact your physician right away.
Is that bump the result of herpes, an ingrown hair cyst, an STD or a genital wart?
It’s quite normal to experience confusion when you try to distinguish ingrown hair cysts from genital warts and herpes. STDs may produce bumps that look like cysts from ingrown hair.
On the other hand, genital warts are usually smaller, and the color of flesh. Their tops resemble cauliflower. They are not easily defeated and they may return, lasting for months or even years. If you don’t treat them, genital warts will continue to grow, and they can be quite unsightly.
Getting Rid of Ingrown Pubic Hair Fast
Through the use of home remedies, creams, surgery or laser treatment, you can stop ingrown hairs in the pubic area, treat them and fix them. The method used is dependent on how severe the problem is, what the cause was, and whether or not they are infected.
Ingrown hair on the penis, scrotum, vagina or labia can be quite painful, since the skin is so sensitive. Their treatment and removal should be done with gentle methods.
Treatment for Ingrown Pubic Hair
- Home Remedy: Tea Tree Oil
Natural treatments may be helpful in curing infections of ingrown hair. Tea tree oil, for example, has natural properties as an antibiotic. It can be used like topical antibiotics to rid your pubic area of bacterial infection.
To use, dilute a bit of the oil with water. Then apply it on your ingrown hair bumps. Leave on for several minutes and then rinse away. Use this treatment two times a day. If your skin is sensitive, do not use tea tree oil, as it can cause a burning sensation.
Other useful home remedies for clearing ingrown pubic hair follicles include Magnesium sulfate, rubbing alcohol, benzoyl peroxide, aloe Vera and Epsom salt scrubs.
- Antibiotics – Oral and Cream
Antibiotic medicines are useful if your ingrown hair is infected. Deep, large, infected hairs need this type of treatment. Your physician may prescribe antibiotics.
In many cases, antibiotic topical creams are utilized for the treatment of infection. The area is sensitive, however, so your physician may recommend oral antibiotics as a treatment method.
- Anti-inflammatory creams
Itching leads to many cases of infection. To get rid of the itching, use anti-itch treatments. Steroid creams are often used for this purpose.
One example is a 1% hydrocortisone cream. It helps in relieving and stopping the itching. This allows ingrown pubic hair to heal without infection.
Exfoliating the dead skin cells in the pubic area helps to heal ingrown hair. It removes dead skin cells that obstruct the hair, allowing it to more easily grow back out.
To use exfoliation, take frequent warm showers and scrub the area gently with a clean washcloth or loofah, to remove cells of dead skin. Exfoliate before you shave and shave gently.
Other types of exfoliation you may use include ingredients like salicylic acid. Be careful when using that on your genital area, including the labia, vagina, penis shaft or scrotum, areas near the anus and your inner thighs, since these are sensitive areas.
- Surgical Treatment
While ingrown hairs often resolve themselves, the ones that don’t can cause irritation. Your dermatologist can employ surgery to remove any ingrown hair that is trapped beneath the skin.
Surgery is not without its issues, though. It often leaves dark marks, hyperpigmentation or scars. There is also an infection risk.
Removal of Ingrown Pubic Hair
Removing an ingrown pubic hair can be a solution to be considered, but only for minor shaving bumps. Extractions and proper care work, if you don’t have a problem that is recurring.
Here are easy instructions to remove ingrown pubic hair:
- First, apply some 1% hydrocortisone cream to these bumps for several days. This will be useful in the reduction of inflammation.
- Use warm water compresses on the pubic area up to three times each day. Allow the compress to remain for 15 minutes. This makes it easier to lance or pop your shave bumps.
- Inspect and wash the entire area every day until you can see any bent hairs. Anti-acne medication can be used after washing, if the area is not too sensitive.
- Sterilize your tweezers with alcohol.
- Use a sterilized pin to pick open your bump.
- If your ingrown hair has developed a cyst, with blood or pus in it, lance and drain it first.
- Use the pointed tweezer end underneath the curled ingrown hair and lift it gently.
- Don’t uproot your hair.
- After you have removed the ingrown hair from under your skin, it will be outside and able to grow normally. Treat the entire area for infection prevention.
- You may use antibiotics like Bacitracin or other OTC antibiotic creams or ointments.
Preventing Ingrown Hair or Stopping Ingrown Pubic Hair
How can you stop an ingrown hair? The Mayo Clinic advises you to use the methods that are most often successful in preventing embedded hairs. This includes no shaving, tweezing or waxing. That plan is not effective in the pubic area.
Here are some tips to reduce and prevent any ingrown hairs on the bikini line:
- Take a warm shower before you shave. Wash the pubic area with warm water, which will open the pores. Only used mild cleansers in this area.
- Use lubricating shaving gels to soften your hair and make the process of shaving easier.
- Use a new razor EVERY time you shave the pubic area.
- Shave ONLY in the direction your hair grows.
- After every stroke, rinse the blade well to clear off debris.
- Rinse the skin well after you shave and apply a moisturizer.
In addition to these tips for ingrown hair prevention, your chosen method for hair removal will help. Use an electric razor clipper. Don’t shave too close to your skin. Chemical hair removers and depilatories are useful, but test them first, so you know that they won’t irritate your sensitive skin. If you have excessive hair, use a prescription in cream form that will decrease hair growth.
Here is a helpful Video on lancing, popping and extracting ingrown hair.