What is an ingrown hair?

An ingrown hair is a strand of hair that grows back into the skin after shaving, tweezing or waxing. Anyone can develop ingrown hairs.

Who is at risk for ingrown hairs?

Anyone who shaves, tweezes or waxes hair can develop ingrown hairs.

What causes ingrown hairs?

Removing hair by shaving, waxing and tweezing can cause ingrown hairs. New hairs grow from hair follicles under the skin. Hair removal methods only remove hair strands — they do not remove hair follicles. In some cases of ingrown hair, the hair enters the skin before it leaves the follicle.

When a new hair grows, it may curl back and enter the skin. This is especially true if the hair is curly or very thick.

What are the symptoms of ingrown hairs?

The symptoms of ingrown hair include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Small bumps with hairs in the middle on the face and neck
  • Small bumps filled with pus on the face and neck
  • Pain
  • Itching

In a skin condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor bumps), hair that has re-entered the skin causes bumps to appear. Razor bumps are common on the face and neck.

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