An ingrown hair pimple, also known as pseudofolliculitis barbae or a razor bump, is at the very least an annoyance, and it might cause considerable discomfort or pain. Prevention is the best method of treatment for chronic ingrown hair pimples. Skin lotions might ease the problem by making both the skin and hair softer. When an ingrown hair pimple does form, it might be necessary to pluck the offending hair. In severe cases, medical attention might be required to relieve the condition.
Shaving is often responsible for an ingrown hair pimple. A close shave can leave sharp-ended stubble, and as the hair grows, this sharp tip can be driven into the skin. Other hair removal techniques, such as waxing, also might produce ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs might not even be exposed, curling from within the follicle shaft and growing below the skin’s surface.
The resulting ingrown hair pimple is an itchy or painful tiny red bump. These bumps might occur singly or across an area of shaved skin. In some cases, the tiny hair growing into the skin might be visible. Irritation can cause a pustule to form on the pimple, similar in appearance to a whitehead.
Often, an ingrown hair pimple will clear on its own. Given time, the hair will continue to grow and free itself. When the ingrown hair is visible, tweezers can be used to pluck the hair and remove the irritation. A sterile needle might also be used to free the hair. After the hair is removed, an astringent should be used to clean the area.
Ingrown hairs are most easily prevented by simply allowing hair to grow. Even short-but-visible stubble can be enough to keep the hairs from curling back into the skin. When hair removal is required, shaving with the hair instead of against the grain makes the formation of ingrown hairs less likely.
Chemical depilatories leave behind blunt-tipped follicles that are less likely to become ingrown. These creams can be harsh on the skin, though, and they might cause irritation. Alternating between shaving and depilatory cream can help to minimize discomfort or redness, and hydrocortisone creams can be used to further ease any irritation.
Permanent hair removal might be an option worth consideration for some people. Laser hair removal works best on dark hairs, and it is quick and easy. Electrolysis, on the other hand, works on all types of hairs, but it requires several treatments. With either method, shaving and ingrown hairs cease to be a concern.
In some cases, medical attention might be required. Antibiotic creams can deal with pustules and abscesses caused by ingrown hairs, and creams are available to minimize disfiguration caused by extreme cases. Some ingrown hairs might even require an incision to free them. Chronic or severe sufferers of ingrown hairs should consult with a dermatologist.