How to treat ingrown hair follicles

Ingrown hairs are hairs that grow into the skin rather than grow out of it. A sort of cyst A small tissue sac that develops on the skin and can be filled with fluid or pus. An ingrown hair cyst occurs when a cyst forms around the ingrown hair.Razor bumps from shaving, also known as razor bumps pseudofolliculitis of the beardis a form of ingrown hair cysts.

Read on to learn how to treat and prevent ingrown hair cysts.


Ingrown hair cysts are common and can occur anywhere on the body where hair is present. But they usually develop in the areas you shave, which may include:

  • Face
  • armpit
  • Public area
  • leg

A sign of an ingrown hair cyst is a bump on the skin that looks like a pimple, but you may be able to see the hair inside. The lump may be red, white, or yellow. If the lump becomes large or red, oozing, or painful, it may be infected. Infections require medication.

cystic acne

Ingrown hair cysts are different from cystic acne, which are bumps that form under the skin’s hair follicles due to the buildup of bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells.


Ingrown hair cysts tend to develop where the hair is rough or frizzy, such as in the pubic area. If you have coarse or frizzy hair, you may be more prone to ingrown hair follicles. They can also develop where there are dead skin cells blocking the hair follicle.

Whether it’s shaving, waxing, or tweezing, removing hair is one of the most common causes of ingrown hair cysts. Any of these methods can irritate your skin, causing it to become inflamed and swollen.

When new hair forms, if the follicle is closed, the hair cannot grow out of the follicle and through the skin. Instead, it grows inward or sideways.


Ingrown hair cysts usually go away on their own. But if someone is infected, professional treatment is required.

Symptoms of infection include:

  • swelling
  • pus
  • redness
  • itching
  • pain
  • odor
  • fever

If you notice any of these symptoms, call or visit your healthcare provider.

Never pop ingrown hair follicles

It may be tempting, but don’t try to pop out ingrown follicles. Popping a cyst increases the chance of infection and can lead to scarring. If the cyst does not go away on its own, a healthcare provider should treat the cyst.


Ingrown hair cysts usually go away on their own, but you can help with the process. If you can, stop shaving while the area heals and keep the area clean and moisturised.

You can also help with this process by softening the skin with a warm, clean washcloth, which may help move the hair to the surface.

If the cyst becomes more inflamed, oozes, becomes painful, or you see other signs of infection, see a healthcare provider.


If you have frequent ingrown hair cysts, try the following preventive measures:

  • Wash your skin with warm water and a mild cleanser before shaving
  • Use a mild exfoliator to remove dead skin cells before shaving
  • Use a single-blade or electric shaver, and try not to keep going in the same area
  • Keep shaving tools clean
  • Don’t scrape too hard
  • Always shave in the direction of hair growth without pulling on the skin
  • If possible, shave less often
  • Moisturize after shaving

You can also consider permanent hair removal methods such as laser hair removal, electrolysisor depilatory cream.

Is there a painless way to remove hair?

when to see a doctor

If you notice signs of infection, such as redness, pain, itching, pus, increased volume, or fever, you should see a healthcare provider about ingrown follicles or razor bumps.

A healthcare provider can treat the cyst with antibiotics or other methods to keep the infection from spreading or scarring.


An ingrown hair cyst occurs when a hair follicle becomes blocked and the hair grows into the skin instead of outward. You shouldn’t pop an ingrown follicle because it can lead to infection and scarring. They may go away on their own, but if they hurt, turn red, or ooze pus, see a healthcare provider.

To reduce the possibility of ingrown hair cysts, keep your skin clean, gently exfoliate and moisturize, shave less frequently, and always shave in the direction of hair growth.

VigorTip words

Ingrown hair cysts and razor bumps can be painful. Fortunately, they usually go away on their own, and there are ways to prevent them. If you see a lump that becomes larger, red, painful, or oozing, have it checked by a healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does ingrown hair look like?

    An ingrown follicle looks like a pimple, although it can get bigger. Sometimes you can see the hair inside. They may be red, yellow or white. They can be anywhere, but they usually appear in the areas you shave, such as your face, pubic area, or armpits.

  • How do you get rid of ingrown hair scars?

    At home, try to allow the lump to heal on its own. You can help by avoiding shaving, keeping the area moist, and applying heat. If these methods do not help, visit a healthcare provider for other treatment options.

  • Can ingrown hair follicles cause infection?

    Ingrown hair follicles do not reason infection, but they can become infected if certain kinds of bacteria grow in or around them.

  • What can ingrown hair be mistaken for?

    Ingrown hair follicles look similar to cystic acne or other pimples.