An ingrown hair usually appears as a small, round bump, like a pimple. It may have pus in it, which makes it white, or it may just be red. You may be able to see the hair just below the surface of the skin, but you may not. In some cases, the skin around the ingrown hair is darker than your normal skin tone.
When pubic hair is shaved, waxed, or plucked, it will eventually grow back. Sometimes, a growing hair does not go through the surface of the skin like it normally should; instead it grows back into the skin.
Because the hair is not supposed to be there, the body treats it like a foreign object. This is why ingrown hairs become red, swollen and itchy.
If you cannot see the hair beneath the surface of the skin, how can you be sure that you have an ingrown hair and not a pimple, or something more serious?
If you have removed your pubic hair by waxing, shaving or tweezing, it is very likely that the little red or white bump you have is an ingrown hair. However, if you are concerned, you can always double check with your doctor.
If you do not remove your pubic hair, a red or white bump could be cause for concern, as this could be a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection. You should visit a doctor to see what is causing the bumps.
If part of the hair has broken through the surface of the skin, try removing it with a needle or a fine pair of tweezers. Follow these steps:
1. Sterilize the needle or tweezers using rubbing alcohol.
2. Insert the needle or one side of the tweezers underneath the loop in the hair and lift. This should pull out the end of the hair that is stuck in the skin.
3. Wash the area with soap and warm water.
4. Apply some antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. An over-the-counter ointment like Neosporin will do.
If the ingrown hair has not yet come to the surface, do not go digging for it underneath the skin. This will almost certainly cause bleeding, which can lead to infection or scarring.
For an ingrown hair that has not come to the surface follow these steps:
1. Stop shaving, waxing or plucking the area for the time being. Removing other hairs in the area can aggravate the ingrown hair, potentially causing more swelling, pain and itching. Trying to shave over the bumps will also increase the likelihood of cutting yourself.
2. Apply a warm compress to your labia for 15 minutes, three times a day. If you are able to take a warm bath, that is even better than the compress. The warm water will soften the skin above the hair, helping it come to the surface.
3. Use a washcloth to press and rub the area in a circular motion. This is another way of softening the skin, encouraging the hair to come to the surface. You only need to rub for 10 or 15 seconds.
4. Do not scratch or pick at the ingrown hair, as this can cause the skin to break, which could potentially cause infection. If necessary, put an anti-itch cream on the area to prevent yourself from scratching it.
5. Wear loose clothing if possible. Tight clothing can cause further irritation and trap bacteria in the area. Try going without underwear when you are at home or when you are sleeping.
6. Keep a close eye on the ingrown hair. When it comes to the surface, follow the previous steps for removing it.
If you have a large bump that is full of pus and causing you pain, the ingrown hair could be infected. The body may resolve the infection on its own if you follow the steps in the previous section, and apply Neosporin to the area. But if the ingrown hair does not appear to be getting better, you may need to see a doctor. A doctor will probably prescribe a topical antibiotic treatment.
The best way to prevent ingrown hairs on the labia is to stop removing your hair in that area. If this is not practice, there are measures you can take to decrease the likelihood of getting ingrown hairs, such as:
1. Soak in a warm bath before shaving, waxing, or plucking. When the hair is softer, it is less likely to coil underneath the skin.
2. Exfoliate the area before you remove the hair. Exfoliating will remove dead skin cells and sebum, which can clog the hair follicles and prevent the hairs from breaking through the surface.
3. Before shaving, apply a pre-shave lotion or baby oil. This will make the hair even softer and it will protect your skin better than just shaving cream.
4. Shave in the direction of the hair growth. Shaving against the grain is more likely to cause the hair to curl under the skin.
5. Try your best to shave in a single pass. Going over the same patch of skin multiple times with a razor causes more skin irritation, which can lead to ingrown hairs.
6. Use a fresh razor. A dull razor will not cut the hair as cleanly or precisely as a sharp razor.
7. Wear loose clothing after you shave. This will prevent dead skin cells, sebum, and bacteria from building up in your pubic area.
8. Consider laser hair removal. It is an expensive procedure, but it can permanently remove pubic hair, preventing all future ingrown hairs.