Ingrown hair: What are they? Treatment and Prevention


Ingrown hair is when the hair curls and grows back into the skin, this might lead to an ingrown hair cyst.

The cyst may appear to look like a pimple but it is different for an acne cyst. It usually happens after people shave, wax, or use any other methods of getting rid of hair growth. In some cases when there are dead skin cells blocking the upward growth of hair, it could result in it growing sideways and getting trapped in the skin (1)

This is a problem when there isn’t complete hair removal, or when the hair removal is done improperly. Ingrown hair cysts usually occur under the armpits, in the pubic region and on your legs, however, they might happen anywhere else on the body as well. The process of hair removal can cause a lot of irritation to your skin in one way or another. When you use any of the common treatments such as waxing, or shaving, hair is not completely removed in a clear-cut way (2)

This could cause hair to grow incorrectly in the same place, it could curl and grow into the skin, or if you hadn’t removed that particular strand of hair completely, it could cause an overgrowth. You would notice ingrown hair on your skin when there is a small bump with a strand sticking out, or you might even have a rash that could cause itchiness. 

You would also need to look out and see if the cyst gets infected because there is a high chance of the ingrown hair cyst getting affected. An ingrown hair cyst usually doesn’t hurt, although if it gets affected, it could cause the bump to be painful and extremely sensitive (3) 

It’s a common case in women who wax or shave their armpits, pubic region, legs, and hands. In men, it’s seen commonly on the chin and cheek areas because of regular shaving. 

You can’t exactly point out who may be affected by ingrown hair and who wouldn’t. It can affect anyone but its most commonly seen in people who have rough and curly hair. This makes them a potential risk to have ingrown hair because it can easily curl back and grow into the skin. People with excessive hair growth can also have this problem, it’s seen that excessive hair growth can be caused when a person has a high level of sex hormones.

The best way to prevent this from happening is by knowing which hair removal treatment causes your skin a lot of irritation. While shaving, for example, it’s always best when proper care is taken if the skin before and after shaving. Make sure the right kind of lubricants are applied and hair isn’t forced from underneath the skin, it’s also important to make sure that the razor isn’t pressed against the skin too hard (4).

There are certain precautions that you could take if you have a cyst that’s formed. These include :

Don’t shave the area around the cysts, this could cause the more ingrown hair growths or other kinds of infections (5).

  1. Keep the area around the cyst clean to make sure it doesn’t get infected.  

  2. Apply tea tree oil to stop any possible chances of infection.

  3. Keep an ice pack right after you shave to prevent any irritation or inflammations on your skin.

The common treatments that people do in case they have a chronic condition of ingrown hair are that they opt to get a laser treatment done. Wherein a high beam light is given in order to remove hair growth. In other cases medication might be provided only to reduce redness and ease the irritation caused in the skin, not to get rid of the ingrown hair entirely. Sometimes steroid medication is given to keep the hormones at a normal level.

Make sure not to break the cyst as the fluid inside it could further cause an infection to the surrounding areas on your skin. In case your cyst does look like it’s been affected, then you would have to visit a doctor and get it treated before the infection spreads into your blood.


How to get rid of ingrown hair?

Using a good exfoliating agent can help  

How to prevent ingrown hair?

Take good care of your skin before and after hair removal treatments.

What causes ingrown hair?

Improper hair removal techniques.

Do ingrown hairs go away on their own?

It depends on the severity of the case. 

What’s the difference between ingrown hair and cystic acne?

Ingrown hair is caused when the hair curls back and grows in the skin, cystic acne happens when there are dead skin cells or dirt clogging up the pores of the skin.

Struggling with a Skin or Hair issue? Download the CureSkin App now by clicking here to get the best treatment. It’s easy, fast and affordable!



Picture of Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.