An uncomfortable and often unsightly condition, an ingrown hair occurs as a shaved or tweezed hair grows and curls back into the skin rather than growing out of it. The result of an ingrown hair is often inflammation and irritation as well as a small to sizeable lump at the site of the hair. Any individual who shaves, tweezes, waxes or uses electrolysis to remove hair has the potential to develop and ingrown hair or hairs.
An ingrown hair can occur on any part of the body from which hair is removed; however, these hairs are most common in males around the beard area and in women in the armpits, pubic area and legs. While individual ingrown hairs may manifest differently, several signs and symptoms of ingrown hairs are common. Small, solid, rounded bumps as well as small, pus-filled, even blister-like lesions are common as a result of ingrown hairs. Additional symptoms include skin darkening, pain, itching and an actual embedded hair.
The structure and direction of growth are two factors that play the biggest role in ingrown hairs. However, several other factors may be involved as well. A curved hair follicle that produces a curled hair is often more susceptible to ingrown hairs than straight follicles. Shaving, pulling the skin taught and tweezing also contribute to the growth of ingrown hairs.