How to Get Rid of Ingrown Pubic Hairs
Ingrown hairs are a painful and often unsightly result of a hair growing in the wrong direction. They can occur on any part of the body which has hair follicles, but they are more common in people with thicker hair. This is why ingrown hairs in the pubic reason are unfortunately so common, pubic hair tends to be thicker than other hair on the body. The pubic area is also usually more sensitive than other parts, meaning that if you develop one there, you will want to get rid of it ASAP. oneHOWTO shows you how to get rid of ingrown pubic hairs so that you can minimize the pain and get back to looking as blemish free as you can. We will also show you precautions on how to stop new ones appearing.
What are ingrown pubic hairs?
Although "the exact mechanisms for ingrowing hair remain unknown", we do know that ingrown hairs are hairs which grows back into, rather than out of, the skin. If this skin is in the pubic region, then it is an ingrown pubic hair. The pubic region includes the mons pubis, the clinical word for the fat which covers the pubic bone, but also includes the genitals. Essentially, anywhere where hair grows on or around the genitals.
The reason why thick curly hair is more common for ingrown hairs is because these two traits make it conducive to incorrect growth. The curliness of the hair twists it around as it exits the follicle and the thickness makes it better (or worse, depending on how you look at it) for piercing the skin.
As the hair continues to grow, it can bore into the skin and cause damage. If the hair is just below the surface of the skin, then it might be worked out through cleaning or natural exfoliation. However, if it is deep enough, it won't be harder to get out and can lead to infection.
The pain of an ingrown hair is due to the hair piercing the nerve endings in your skin. Like a splinter, it can stay in your skin without you realizing it and increase pain the longer it is left in there. If this happens, you might end up with an infection. Sometimes this is small and can result in a pimple like pustule on your skin.
However, it can also cause more damage than you may think. Ingrown hairs can go unnoticed, but in the right condition can be agitated to the point of rupture. If bacteria gets in the ingrown hair, then this can lead to infection.
One common infection due to ingrown hairs is an abscess. This is when pus in the hair follicle collects underneath the skin. Often they are minor, but can grow larger if enough pus collects. If this happens in the pubic region, then it can be very sensitive and cause a lot of pain.
What causes ingrown pubic hairs?
An ingrown hair can be caused for a few reasons. Mainly, it is due to shaving or cutting. If you shave the hair, then you can cause the hair to be sharpened. This means that if it grows back in the direction of the skin, it is more likely to pierce the skin as it is sharper. It can lead to something called psuedofolliculitis barbae, also known as razor bumps, another type of ingrown hair.
According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, this occurs in up to 60% of African American men. It is more common in persons of African and Latino ethnicity due to prevalence of thicker and curlier hair. Also, those with an increase of certain sex hormones might grow more and thicker hair, so ingrown hair can be more common in these individuals also. This could be natural or thanks to medication used to contradict the actions of certain contraceptive pills.
Ingrown pubic hair has become more common thanks to the increase of shaving and trimming pubic hair, especially with use of a razor. Although this practice has occurred through the centuries, it has increased in popularity since the 1960s thanks to pornography and an increased popularity (or at least public acceptance of) oral sex.
Friction in the genital region thanks to standard movement can increase likelihood of ingrown pubic hairs, especially after shaving. Friction of skin against skin can make the sharpened hair bore in. This is why pubic hair removal should be undergone very carefully.
How to prevent ingrown pubic hairs
As most ingrown hairs are often caused by hair removal, one of the best ways to prevent them is to not remove the pubic hair in the first place. They won't occur if the hair is long enough, so trimming further from the skin (as is the case when cutting hair with scissors), shouldn't cause any damage.
However, as waxing and shaving pubic hair with a razor are common practices, letting your pubic hair go natural or keeping it at a certain length will reduce the chance of ingrown pubic hair.
If you do decide to shave your pubic hair, then make sure you keep the area moisturized with shaving gel or cream. This will help keep the skin smooth and prevent the razor from damaging the follicles. If you wax, then there is little you can do to protect the skin beforehand.
In both cases, you should dry the area carefully by blotting it with a towel. This is because rubbing it hard can open up the follicles. Wash with an antibacterial cleanser which has astringent properties. Astringents constrict the skin, making the pores close over. Antibacterial washes will prevent bacteria from getting into the pores and causing infection. Always wash the area afterwards so that dirt does not clog the pores.
Exfoliation is also very important, according to Dr. Nada Elbuluk at the NYU Langone Medical Center as it "can help remove dead skin and hairs that may clog the hair follicles... [and] promote hair growth in the right direction". Using a loofah or a mild abrasive on the area can help this process without damaging your sensitive area. Also, wearing cotton underwear can help reduce the risk of ingrown pubic hair as synthetic materials don't let the skin breathe properly.
How to get rid of ingrown pubic hairs
Even if you take the preceding preventative measures, you can still get an ingrown pubic hair. Although they can get infected, they are not considered to be life threatening. Still, it is important to be clean when dealing with them as they can be irritating and painful.
If your ingrown hair has formed a pimple after you have shaved, you shouldn't burst it yourself. Let it do it on its own so the hair comes out to the exterior and you can remove it. To do so, the best thing to do is to apply a hot water compress on the pimple directly. Alternatively, use compresses soaked in chamomile or mallow as they are both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Leave the compress to rest for 5 or 10 minutes. Dry the area well when you finish.
If your ingrown pubic hair is not too deep, you should be able to bring it up to the superficial layer of skin. To do this you'll need a pair of tweezers to grasp the hair firmly and pluck it out carefully. Sterilize the tweezers first by cleaning them in boiling water and wiping them clean with sterile gauze. Grab the hair by the root and carefully pluck it out.
Once you have plucked the ingrown hair, we advise you to apply an antiseptic cream on the area. This will get rid of pus and blood remnants and reduce chance of infection. You can buy one at a pharmacy or use a natural antiseptic such as aloe vera. This can also create a speedy recovery of the skin. Be careful when cleaning this area after using the bathroom.
It's fundamental that if your ingrown pubic hair is very deep and there's no way it will come out, you should never try to pull it out with your fingers as you risk infection. In these cases, you should see your doctor so that they can perform a small, but sterile incision.
Our article on how to prevent itchiness after shaving can help you to deal with this annoying condition.
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- Don't scratch or pull your ingrown hairs. If you do, it can make the situation worse.