Ingrown hairs might appear to be pimples, but that description is more akin to a possible symptom of ingrown hairs rather than an accurate definition. What ingrown hairs are, in fact, are hairs that, in the process of growing, curl downwards to the point where they grow back into your skin.

Ingrown hairs are more likely than not to occur post-puberty, and they tend to show up in areas of the body where the hair is coarse — namely the bikini region for women as well as the face and neck regions for men.

Dead skin can block up your hair follicles, which can potentially make the hairs in those follicles grow in a sideways direction beneath the skin rather than up through the blocked follicles. While ingrown hairs don’t represent a serious medical condition, they can nonetheless cause some discomfort. In order to better understand what are ingrown hairs, read on for the nitty-gritty.

Causes of Ingrown Hairs

While no one is immune from getting ingrown hairs, there are some demographics that are more likely than others to come down with this problem. For instance, if you have hair that is very coarse or very curly, you will face a heightened risk of getting ingrown hairs. Hair that is curly can bend back toward your skin much more easily than hair that is straighter, particularly after it’s been cut.


Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are of the Latino or African-American demographic — or if you have hair that is very thick or curly — then you could come down with a kind of ingrown hair known as pseudofolliculitis, otherwise known as razor bumps. These can materialize after you shave, use a tweezer, or wax your skin. The problem is that when your hair grows back, it is sharper and can poke into your skin and get stuck beneath the surface.

You might be surprised to know that ingrown hairs can also be caused by wearing clothing that’s too tight. Specifically, tight-fitting wearables, like nylon leggings, polyester undergarments, and skinny jeans can either lead to ingrown hairs or make the situation worse since the clothing will press the hair down in a way that can make it easy for the hair to penetrate your skin. In order to reduce the odds of this happening, you would be better off opting for breathable, looser fitting clothing that will not cling to your skin.

Treating Ingrown Hairs

Fortunately, ingrown hairs oftentimes will correct themselves over time. In the event that this does not occur, however, ingrown hairs can lead to infections that, should you scratch at them, may cause scarring. You can seek out medical attention if ingrown hairs are making your life miserable. The doctor will make a little incision in your skin in order to free the ingrown hairs.

It’s important to remember that you should never tweeze ingrown hairs! Tweezing can damage the skin and cause scarring. If you’re bothered by the unsightliness of an ingrown hair, use products like Tend Skin® Liquid to reduce the appearance. Again, if you are concerned about infection–a medical doctor is your first line of defense.

Luckily in the long run, ingrown hairs pose no serious medical risks. Ingrown hairs are a common occurrence that, nonetheless, are more likely to impact some demographics rather than others. However, knowing what are ingrown hairs is an important first step — and the next critical step is understanding how to reduce your odds of getting ingrown hairs. If you follow this advice, you’ll hopefully be able to reduce ingrown hairs and the trouble they can cause.