Ingrown hairs occur when a hair grows in at an odd angle, causing it to miss the opening of a hair follicle and curve back in toward your body. They tend to show up on the arms, legs, pubic area and even the nipples. If you get short, thick hairs on your nipples and have tried to shave or pluck them in the past, chances are you'll have ingrown hairs there once in a while. Though they're normal and treatable, there are steps you can take to prevent them.
Avoid shaving in the nipple area. It can be tempting as an easy way to get rid of nipple hairs, but shaving is a major cause of razor burn and ingrown hairs -- plus you run the risk of cutting the delicate skin around your nipple. If you feel you must shave this area, use a brand-new blade, apply shaving cream or gel and shave in the direction of hair growth. Clipping long hairs is another alternative.
Keep the area around your nipples clean. Bathe regularly, wear clean clothes and undergarments and shower after excessive sweating to avoid trapping sweat and dirt on your chest. According to Oregon State University's Student Health Services, this will prevent both acne and ingrown hairs by stopping dirt and bacteria from clogging your pores.
Exfoliate your skin regularly. This helps get rid of excess dead skin cells, which can trap hairs under the top layer of skin. Using a body wash containing salicylic acid can also help eliminate dead skin cells and prevent both ingrown hairs and body acne. Exfoliating and salicylic acid can also help get rid of an ingrown hair that has already developed.
Resist the urge to tweeze. Tweezing nipple hairs can cause ingrowns, according to MassGeneral Hospital. Plus, a dirty pair of tweezers can get bacteria and grime under your skin. Clean, sterilized tweezers can be used to ease an ingrown hair out from under the skin, but don't pull it all the way out.