Shaving your bikini line can very easily result in ingrown hairs that become infected, turn into small abscesses or simply look like a pimple that never goes away.
They can come and go, change places, or be recurrent in the same spot. Ingrown hairs are a casualty of hair removal using waxing or shaving, and although you usually can’t avoid them altogether (depending on your skin type), you can remove them quickly when you see one appearing by simply popping the stuck hair out so it can grow freely.
What is an ingrown hair?
An ingrown hair is a hair that has been cut off (shaving or hair removal cream) or pulled out and has regrown underneath the surface of the skin instead of popping through and growing outside the skin as a normal hair. This causes a blockage that then becomes inflamed, irritated and can become infected easily, and sometimes go on for years, leaving scars.
These hairs can grow anywhere on your body, but your bikini line is particularly prone since the hair is coarser and thicker, making it harder to pop out of the surface of the skin.
Often ingrown hairs appear in the same place over and over again since scar tissue forms, making it even harder again for the hair to make its way to the surface.
Ingrown hairs can occur anywhere hair grows, such as on the outer vulva – the labia majora (outer lips) – your mons pubis (the pubic mound where most of your pubic hair grows), or in the thigh crease and beyond.
Removing an ingrown hair on your bikini line
To make this easier, prepare your tools first.
- Sharp tweezers and a needle, pin or safety pin – clean, so dip in disinfectant or heat with a lighter or match to burn off bacteria
- Tissue paper
- Disinfectant or antibacterial of some kind
To prepare your skin
If you can, shower or bathe – hair follicles open slightly with warmth, making hairs easier to pull out without too much pain. Make sure the skin is clean and dry.
Avoid shaving for a while until the redness is gone, as another hair needs to come out of the follicle and might get stuck on the inflammation and cause yet another ingrown hair.
How to remove the ingrown hair
You need to pick the hair, which is folded over inside your skin, out. Pop the top of the bump off with the tweezers or pin, and dig in a small amount at a time until you find the hair, and then slide the needle underneath the hair, and pop the end out, or using tweezers pull it out.
Squeeze out any pus or fluid, then wipe it with a clean tissue, and apply some antibacterial to the surface. It is going to sting a bit, make no mistake, however once it’s out, the relief is immediate, the swelling tends to go down within days and the infection, after applying some antibacterial to the small opening, will abate.
Tips and tricks
- Warming the skin opens pores and makes the procedure easier and less painful
- Don’t hack at your skin – be delicate and gentle and it will be less painful
- Keep cleanliness and hygiene high on your list of priorities, because if you get more bacteria into the wound, you could end up with a bigger problem
- Try to find another way to remove hair, or avoid removing hair so often
- Don’t block hair follicles with oils or moisturisers – to keep skin supple and pliable, use only very small amounts of moisturiser or natural vegetable oils (don’t use baby oil or ‘white’ or ‘mineral’ oil, as it is petroleum-based, not vegetable-based)
How to avoid or manage ingrown hairs in future
There is much discussion about ingrown hairs, as with the popularity of shaving and waxing over the past few decades, it is a real problem for many women (and men).
The best solution for hair removal is laser, but that doesn’t suit all skin, hair and budget types, nor does everyone want hair permanently removed, so waxing, hair removal cream or shaving may be the only practical solution.
Exfoliating the area regularly does help, but exfoliating your labia is not very pleasant, and often, not even very helpful. You do not have an ingrown hair on your bikini line because you didn’t exfoliate.
These ingrown hairs develop because it’s the nature of the area and if your skin is prone to hairs getting stuck on their way out, it’s just something you will need to manage, or find a new hair removal method.
The best way to keep on top of ingrown hairs is to pop out any hairs that start looking like a red bump as soon as they form – you will notice the characteristic red, hard bump that looks like a pimple.
Use the method above to dig out the hair so it can roam free as nature intended. This liberates the hair and removes any cause of inflammation. Check out our pubic hair article for other hair removal options.