The Medical Dermatology Program at Massachusetts General Hospital is a full-service dermatology practice that provides care for all skin, hair and nail conditions.
What is an ingrown hair?
An ingrown hair, or pseudofolliculitis, is a hair that curls and penetrates the skin with its tip, causing inflammation. Ingrown hairs are more common among people with very curly hair. Most ingrown hairs happen in the beard area on men and the bikini or groin area on women.
What are the symptoms of an ingrown hair?
The most common symptom of an ingrown hair is redness and inflammation of the skin. This is followed by pus formation. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. The symptoms of an ingrown hair may resemble other skin conditions. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is an ingrown hair diagnosed?
Diagnosis of an ingrown hair can be confirmed with a medical history and a physical exam.
Treatment for an ingrown hair
An ingrown hair often heals on its own. However, in the case of chronic ingrown hairs, treatment may include:
Allowing the hair to grow longer prior to shaving it
Avoiding shaving the area in the future. If you must trim the hair, use a clipper rather than a razor, or, try not to shave as closely
Removing the hair permanently through electrolysis, laser, or depilatory methods (liquids or creams)