An ingrown hair that appear in your armpit can be painful with a lot of problems. It is common after shaving your underarms and it usually disappear on its own. However, in some people, deep ingrown hairs in armpit can cause bumps or pimples, underarm cysts and even infected boils.

What does it mean of ingrown hair on underarms?

Ingrown hair refers to a hair follicle that grows inward into the skin, often, after shaving or waxing, the hair curls back as it grows and lengthens towards the skin. As a result raised bumps will form, also called armpit razor bumps.

Infected ingrown hair underarm are likely to be painful or develop into pus-filled sores under your armpits. These will hurt because the natural friction around them is likely to cause bruising and general irritation.

Ingrown Hair Underarm Causes

Ingrown hair underarm causes

An ingrown hair underarm

Ingrown hairs occur when hair which typically grows outward from the hair follicle grows inwards into the skin. This causes irritation to the skin and cause the skin to form bumps, lumps, or pustules when either the skin around the hair is infected or when the whole follicle is infected.

Ingrown hair underarm can occur when we have active hair follicles. They may also go under different names, like razor bumps, which are ingrown hairs that often occur in men who shave their facial hairs. In women, ingrown hairs occur in the armpits and bikini area often.

While they may show up on different parts of the body, ingrown hairs have more or less the same causes. But we are focusing on ingrown hair in the armpits in this article so we will try stick to that.

The following could cause ingrown hairs forming in your armpit.

Shaving and other hair removal methods

Shaving against the direction of natural hair growth could cause the new growing hairs to turn inwards and get caught under the skin becoming ingrown hairs. Blunt or old razors is also suspect in causing the hair to lose the natural direction when growing back and becoming ingrown. Shaving your armpit hair too closely could also cause in growing hair underarm.

To add on that, waxing which rips out the hair from the root may also cause the new hair that regrows to change direction. If this happens, you will end up with ingrown hairs armpit hair.

Having curly hair

This is how Latinos and people of afro Caribbean descent get ingrown hairs more often than people with straighter hair types. The more tightly curled you natural hair is, the more likely you are to get in growing hair in your armpits after shaving.

Clogged Pores

If your pores, through where the new hair grows out of are clogged, the hair may turn inwards and grow either inward or horizontally becoming painful and ingrown. Dirt and sebum build up in the pores could cause the pore blockage. Make up and some cosmetic products could also clog your pores.

Tight clothing and scratching

Tight clothes can also obstruct the growth of hair in your underarms. The same thing happens when you scratch underarms, especially if you are suffering from itchy armpits from razor burn. Some types of clothing such as synthetic and nylon fabrics are known to cause ingrown hair under armpit.

Underarm Ingrown Hair Pictures

As ingrown hairs result to skin irritation, they tend to look like raised bumps under arms. Most people would describe them as bumps that look like pimples. In infected ingrown hair bump will appear as a yellow or white bump in your armpits and may ooze or discharge pus.

So, if you usually shave or wax your armpits, then a lump or bump in your underarm is most likely an ingrown hair. Some times when it could be a cyst, or in rare cases a sign of something far more serious. Just for your information, here is a picture of what ingrown hair bumps look like in the armpit.

Ingrown Hair or Lymph nodes

A lump in an ingrown armpit hair may be a swollen lymph node. This can be as a result of a response to the fungal infection or the sweat dermatitis, sometimes it can be as a result of an infection of the hair follicles. There may also be an enlarged lymph node that may be caused by malignancy of breast.

This is very rare in males but it is very possible. Sometimes a cyst too can get infected. It will be good to consult your dermatologist for an evaluation of this condition. A doctor may prefer to do a CT scan as a confirmatory test or a fine needle biopsy.

The Treatment may vary from wait and watch to an anti-inflammatory along with antibiotics in order to excision the lump. It is advisable to Check for diabetes too because high sugar levels usually causes a repeated infection and boils.

How to get rid of Painful Ingrown Hair Armpit

Causes of ingrown hair underarm

Painful ingrown hair in the armpit

When an ingrown hair is noticed in armpit, one has to be cautious. When you prick at the skin or use tweezers to extract the ingrown, you are likely to end up doing more harm than good to yourself. One can end up having an infection which can cause an irritation on the area.

Treating ingrown hair underarm

  • Soak a piece of cloth in a warm water or a salty water solution and place it on the affected ingrown hair armpit for about ten minutes so as to soften it up. By Softening the skin helps allow one to remove the hair more gently.
  • While using your mirror, get needle that has to be sterilized with alcohol and then inserted under the part of the hair that is above the surface. The needle is then pulled up carefully to release the hair.
  • If one is worried about bacteria and wants to eliminate the ingrown hair underarm naturally, then they can use a solution of white vinegar that has been diluted with water. It can be difficult to soak the armpits in the solution unless you sink down into the tub. Instead you can soak a washcloth and place it under the armpit.
  • An oatmeal lotion or a hydrocortisone cream can be used to help in relieving the itchy irritation that is caused by ingrown hairs. This cream can be gotten over the counter in chemists. You may also try shaving with an electric razor while then skin heals so that you avoid causing discomfort to yourself.
  • When one has an irritation in the ingrown hair underarm, it can be as a result of the deodorant or antiperspirant that you use. Any products that are applied to an open or inflamed skin can worsen the condition.
  • The Dead skin cells may build up on the skin and block the hair follicles hence makes it hard for the hair to grow out the way is supposed to. Therefore to keep off dry skin you can apply a mild body wash with synthetic exfoliating beads. Moisturize the area well after the exfoliation.

Ingrown Hair Armpit Infected

Infection in the ingrown hair is basically caused by bacterial or fungal infection. People who have the tendency of waxing or shaving too close to the skin have a higher risk of getting infection from bacteria invasion in the cut or waxed skin.

Ingrown hair underarm often appear as raised bumps most commonly after shaving. Bacteria tend to enter the skin through cuts or scratched surface of the skin. As the hair grows under the skin, the infection builds up causing pain and pus accumulating.

Women are likely to get infected ingrown hairs most commonly on the legs, groin and armpit as well. Poor shaving techniques attracts infection in these area. As the hair curls and bends back re-entering the skin, it carries with it infection.

You risk getting infection whenever you pick, scratch or squeeze spots due to ingrown hair. This creates an entry point of bacteria and fungi. It is advisable to stop touching normal ingrown hair, this reduce the risk of infection and inflammation of the hair follicles.

How to draw out an ingrown Hair in Armpit

How to remove ingrown hair underarm

how to get rid of ingrown hair in armpit

You can remove an ingrowing armpit hair or hairs and give yourself some relief. Basically if the offending hair is removed, or dislodged from under the skin, the other discomfort that comes with it; the pain, itching and pus formation reduces or goes away completely. This is if there was no infection in which case the area might take a little longer to heal.

Sometimes, the infection might develop after the hair has been extracted, in the part of the skin that has been broken into. But this can be avoided by taking good care of the area you have removed an ingrowing hair in your armpits and using sterile tools.

How to remove ingrown hair underarm.

In some cases of ingrowing hair, the best solution for ingrown armpit hair is actually no solution. Ingrown hairs left alone will sometimes self-dislodge and heal on their own.  If it bothering you though, you can get rid of that bothersome ingrown hair bump with this easy method.

  • Wash your armpits and apply a warm compress on the area with the ingrown hair. The best way to remove an ingrown armpit hair it would be to nudge the loop or tip if it is visible avoiding excising into the swollen skin around. Disinfect a pair of sharp tweezers or needle with rubbing alcohol and use this instrument to gently ease out the ingrown hair from the bump in your armpit.
  • You can apply an anti-biotic cream to prevent infection or use a disinfectant diluted in water.
  • Also if itching from ingrown hairs is what is driving you crazy, a hydrocortisone cream may give you relief.

In case your remove an ingrown hair underarm and it leaves behind a hole that takes long to or won’t heal, please see a doctor. Here’s how to pop an infected ingrown hair.

  • Warm compress the skin affected with the infection several times a day until the bump is soft.
  • Take cotton wool in one hand
  • Using a pair of tweezers or sterilized pin, prick the bump with hair growing in.
  • Drain pus completely until blood starts coming out. Remove out any curly hair follicles.
  • Clean the area well with an antibiotic soap. Use cotton ball to wipe the fluid and dry the area.

Ingrown Hair Armpit Home Remedies

Ingrown hair usually goes away on its own. However, if it doesn’t, you may need to interfere and either remove the ingrown hair or treat it with some remedy so that it doesn’t become infected. If you go to your doctor, he might make a small cut onto your skin in order to remove an ingrown hair.  He might then give you certain medicines to treat the swelling and infection, if any. Here are some of the home remedies that may help:

Use Salt

The minute granules of salt help exfoliate your skin and slough off the dead cells that might be causing clogged pores, one of the major reasons behind ingrown hair underarm. Not only salt is an excellent exfoliating agent, it also increases your blood circulation and promotes faster healing in order to reduce swelling on your skin.

What to do:

  • Add salt to the water and mix well.
  • Now soak the cotton ball in this solution and apply this to your ingrown hair site on the face. Rub the cotton gently over the area. The salt helps draw out the ingrown hair by cleansing and exfoliating the skin there.
  • Repeat daily. However, if you see that using this salt-water solution is giving red or irritated skin, stop using it.

Sugar Scrub

Sugar, although not as minutely granular as salt, is a gentler exfoliating agent than salt is! It also helps get you rid of dead skin cells so that your ingrown hair stuck within can come out and relieve you from pain and irritation. While the first one is really good for an infected ingrown hair due to its ant-bacterial properties, lavender oil soothes the inflammation and redness of your skin due to the ingrown hair.

What to do:

  • Mix all the ingredients well.
  • Apply some of it to your affected skin area.
  • Scrub gently in circular motion till the sugar granules get dissolved or do it for about 2-5 minutes.
  • Wash off with water.
  • Initially, repeat daily for about 7 days and then do it once or twice a week or whenever necessary.
  • If you feel your skin getting irritated with the scrub, stop using it and opt for some other remedy.
  • You can store the prepared scrub in an airtight container and keep it away from direct heat.

Castor Oil

This is useful for infected ingrown hair underarm where you have also pus into your skin bumps surrounding the ingrown hair. Castor oil helps open the clogged pores and has a drawing effect on the pus. This cleans off the area making it easier for the ingrown hair to come out. You can even try this remedy for ingrown hair cyst.

What to do:

  • Take the oil and apply a thick layer of it on your ingrown hair affected area.
  • Let it sit there for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Now wet the washcloth and wring out the excessive water.
  • Wipe away the area where you had applied the oil with this washcloth.
  • Repeat at least 2-3 times a day till you get rid of ingrown hair.

Baking Soda

It is a very good as it not only maintains its pH level to discourage bacterial growth but also exfoliates the skin gently to slough off the dead skin cells and open up the clogged pores. This helps ingrown hair come out and give you relief from all the discomforts. It is also good for infected ingrown hair but stay gentle while using it on your skin.

What to do:

  • Mix both the ingredients, baking soda and water to make a paste.
  • Now apply this to your ingrown hair affected skin.
  • Gently rub it there in circular motion for about 2 minutes.
  • Now wash off with water.

Tea Tree Oil

While tea tree oil not necessarily treats ingrown hair but it prevents any infection from developing in the area. It is due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. You also get relief from swelling and redness due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the tea tree oil.

What to do:

  • Add tea tree oil to water or the carrier oil, whatever you are using.
  • Apply this to your ingrown hair affected area.
  • Leave for about 10 minutes.
  • Wash off with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat two times a day.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar makes it an excellent anti-microbial agent. As its anti-bacterial properties prevent infection, it has also been used for acne remedy which is again caused by almost the same cause as for ingrown hair, clogged pores!

What to do:

  • Soak the cotton ball in the vinegar.
  • Now apply this to your ingrown hair affected site.
  • Let it be there for few hours, preferably overnight.
  • Repeat this daily till you get rid of ingrown hair or the cyst formed by it.

Garlic for Ingrown Hair

Causes of ingrown hair underarm

Home remedies for ingrown hair

Garlic has fine anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Crushed fresh garlic can cure a wide range of bacterial infections. The sulphur compounds of garlic also exhibit excellent anti-inflammatory properties that can help you get rid of swelling and redness related to ingrown hair.

What to do:

  • Crush the garlic to get its paste.
  • Now apply this paste to the affected area.
  • You may want fill an empty tea bag with this paste. You can also put this in a clean piece of cloth and tie it to make a small bag.
  • Now place this bag over the affected area.
  • Try to keep it restricted to the area having ingrown hair only as healthy skin might get burning effect due to the strength of garlic.
  • Leave it there by securing it with tape for some time, may be for 20-30 minutes.
  • Repeat it daily till you get rid of ingrown hair.

Black Tea Bags

Black tea is rich in tannic acid. Tannic acid helps reduce inflammation and redness. Thus, you can use a black tea bag to get rid of an ingrown hair. Here’s how to do so.

What to do:

  • Dip the tea bag into the warm water.
  • Let it there for a couple of minutes.
  • Now take the tea bag out and press out some of the water from it. Let some remain in it.
  • Take this wet warm tea bag and press it against your affected skin.
  • Hold it against your skin for few minutes.
  • Repeat everyday till you get rid of ingrown hair.

Warm Compress

A warm and moist compress help soften the skin so that the ingrown hair can come out easily to relieve you of all pain and irritation. In fact, it also softens the ingrown hair and brings it to the surface of the skin from where you can easily remove it with the help of tweezers.

What to do:

  • Soak the washcloth in the hot water.
  • Wring out the excessive water.
  • Place it on the affected area and gently press it against your skin surface.
  • Once the cloth cools down, make it warm again by dipping in the hot water.
  • Keep on doing this for about 10-15 minutes.
  • By this time, you would be able to see the hair tip close to your skin’s surface. If not, take help of your doctor.
  • If you are able to see the hair, remove the ingrown hair with the help of tweezers as explained in the next remedy.

Prevention is better than cure. So why not prevent ingrown hair underarm so that you do not need to remove it or treat it with remedies and medicines. And the major cause of ingrown hair is the wrong way of shaving. However, some of them may be taken heed of by women too who often shave unwanted hair of their various body parts.

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More references

  1. How to dislodge ingrown hair:
  2. Armpit lump;
  3. Infected ingrown hair in armpit:
  4. Home treatment for ingrown hair:
  5. Natural remedies for ingrown hair underarm: