Does Ingrown Hair Hurt and Why?

by Jay Kang | Posted on January 29th, 2023

Have you ever experienced the pain and discomfort of ingrown hair? If you have, then you know how uncomfortable it can be.

Does Ingrown Hair Hurt?

Ingrown hairs can be an unpleasant experience and can be quite painful. The cause of ingrown hairs is shaving, tweezing, or waxing, which can cause the hair to curl back into the skin.

Ingrown Hair Problem. Portrait Of Unshaved Black Guy Touching Neck With Bristle While Standing Near Mirror In Bathroom, Unhappy African American Man Making Morning Beauty Routine At Home

Symptoms of ingrown hair include redness, swelling, tenderness, and whiteheads. An infection can worsen or spread to other body parts if left untreated. Most ingrown hairs heal on their own within 1-2 weeks, but there are ways to avoid them.

Make sure to use a sharp razor when shaving, exfoliating regularly, and moisturizing after hair removal. If you have ingrown hair that is painful or infected, it is important to seek medical advice.

Why Does Ingrown Hair Hurt?

Ingrown hairs can be painful, as the hair can curve back and pierce the skin, causing a localized infection. This infection can cause redness, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area, as well as whiteheads and pus.

The areas where ingrown hairs occur most often are the face, neck, pubic area, and anywhere else where hair is removed. To avoid the pain of ingrown hairs, we suggest avoiding shaving, tweezing, or waxing in areas where you may be more prone to them.

Taking care to exfoliate the skin area before and after hair removal can also help prevent ingrown hairs by removing dead skin cells that can block the hair follicle.

How Can I Reduce the Pain From an Ingrown Hair

To reduce the pain from ingrown hair, it is suggested to use an OTC antibiotic cream, like Neosporin, to help treat any uncomfortable or painful infection. Additionally, one should rinse their skin and apply a cool, wet cloth to the affected area for a few minutes.

After that, using a soothing after-shave product may help. To remove ingrown hair, gentle exfoliation is recommended. Applying warm compresses to the affected area for 10-15 minutes multiple times a day can bring the cyst closer to the surface and allow it to drain. Finally, an aspirin-honey treatment may be beneficial in reducing the pain from ingrown hair.

Ingrown Hair vs. Pimple: How to Tell the Difference?

Types of ingrown hairs flat illustration. Cross section of the human skin with hair follicles. Hair removal concept.Can be used for topics like shaving, depilation, cosmetology

Ingrown hairs and pimples can appear as red bumps on the skin that can be swollen and irritated. However, it’s important to note that different things cause the two. Ingrown hairs occur when hairs grow inwards instead of outwards and can form in the same location as pimples – the hair follicles/pores.

On the other hand, pimples originate at the sebaceous oil gland when excess oil gets trapped in the pores. Ingrown hairs usually have hair visible on the surface, whereas a buildup of oil and bacteria causes pimples.

It’s important to differentiate between the two, as ingrown hairs can form a cyst that extends from the skin’s surface and deep underneath it.

How Do I Know if My Ingrown Hair Is Infected

You may notice raised, red, itchy spots on the skin if you have ingrown hair. Sometimes, you may even see the hair trapped underneath the skin. In some cases, ingrown hair can become infected, leading to a condition called folliculitis.

Signs of infection include swelling, redness, itchiness, and the appearance of a pimple filled with pus. You must contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. They will be able to properly diagnose and treat the infection before it becomes more severe.

Risk Factors for Ingrown Hair

Risk factors for ingrown hair include having tightly curled hair and over-shaving, over-plucking, or waxing. Other predisposing factors are shaving too close to the skin, using a dull razor, using improper techniques, and having a history of pseudofolliculitis barbae (ingrown hairs).

People with thicker or coarser hair are also more prone to ingrown hairs than finer hair. Also, sensitive skin may be more susceptible to developing ingrown hair. Knowing these risk factors can help you take preventative steps to avoid getting ingrown hair.

Diagnosing Ingrown Hair

Diagnosing ingrown hair can be done through a physical examination of the skin. Your doctor may be able to identify an infected ingrown hair by its appearance and the pain it causes. In some cases, no further tests are needed for diagnosis.

If a doctor suspects it is an epidermoid cyst, they may order additional tests to confirm the diagnosis. The best way to diagnose ingrown hair is to consult your doctor or dermatologist, who can examine the area and determine the best course of treatment.

Can I Pop the Ingrown Hair Cyst Myself?

It is not advised to pop an ingrown hair cyst yourself, as it may introduce new bacteria to the skin and cause an infection. Popping a cyst can also lead to scarring and is not always successful. It is best to leave any cysts alone and allow them to heal naturally.

To speed up the healing process, you can cleanse the area with warm water and a mild cleanser, followed by an antibacterial ointment. If the infection is severe, it may require medical treatment.

Does an Ingrown Hair Bleed When Popped

While similar to herpes in the symptoms they cause, the difference between the two can be determined by the presence of pus and whether the bump is painful when pressure is applied. If pus is present or the bump is painful, it is likely an ingrown hair. If the bump continues to grow, bleed, or inflamed lymph nodes are present in the groin area, it is best to seek medical attention.

When to Consult a Doctor

In some cases, ingrown hair may require medical attention. If the area around the ingrown hair becomes red, swollen, itchy, and inflamed, it is best to seek the advice of a doctor. Pus may also be present in more severe cases.

If you are experiencing pain that does not go away or the area becomes infected, you must visit your doctor to get the proper treatment. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to clear up an infection or recommend a steroid cream to reduce inflammation and itching. In rare cases, a doctor may need to cut out the ingrown hair or perform minor surgery to remove it.


In conclusion, ingrown hairs can be uncomfortable and painful. While they are not usually dangerous, they can become infected if not treated properly. You must consult a doctor immediately if you are experiencing pain or seeing pus in the spots.

Several treatments and home remedies may help reduce the pain and prevent further infection. To prevent ingrown hairs in the future, always use clean shaving tools and make sure to shave in the direction of hair growth. Taking proper care of your skin is key to keeping it healthy and clear of ingrown hairs.

Jay Kang

Just because i'm asian does not mean I don't need shaving. I always wanted to grow a beard when I was young, now I need to shave because hair growth for me is a problem. I'm going through what every man will and has gone through before.