An ingrown hair is a problem that occurs when a hair curls backward as it grows and re-enters the follicle, continuing to grow beneath the surface of the skin. This most often follows shaving, as hairs with sharp tips are more likely to become ingrown, and the problem is associated with similar annoyances like razor burn. According to WomenFitness.net, most ingrown hairs occur in the pubic area, as hair that is curlier is also more prone to becoming ingrown.
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WomenFitness.net states that ingrown hairs may become infected and develop into folliculitis. According to the Mayo Clinic, Staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria are common causes of these infections, but they may also be caused by fungus or yeast. Ingrown hair-related folliculitis is often characterized by redness, inflammation, itchiness and noticeable, sometimes painful bumps on each affected follicle. Though mild cases may improve without treatment, spreading or recurring infections warrant a doctor visit. Treatment options include hydrocortisone cream, a wet compress of white vinegar and doctor-prescribed antibiotic creams. It is also best to avoid shaving the area until the folliculitis has completely cleared.
Another common byproduct of an ingrown hair is a pustule, a small but visible collection of pus just under the skin. Pustules caused by ingrown hairs are often similar in appearance to whitehead pimples, according to Ellen Marmur and Gina Way's "Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin," although you may be able to see part of the hair emerging from the pus-filled area. If the pustule is not severely inflamed or painful, the book suggests that you may relieve the pressure on the pustule yourself by carefully puncturing it with a needle that has been sterilized with alcohol. After the under-pressure pus drains, you can carefully clean the area, cover it with an antibiotic ointment and place a small bandage over it to accelerate healing.
Although most ingrown pubic hairs are mild skin problems and can heal on their own without medical intervention, their propensity toward infections can have serious consequences if rare severe cases go untreated. The April 2006 issue of "Men's Health" reports that ingrown hairs may become infected with flesh-eating bacteria that can spread throughout the pubic area. In worst-case scenarios, according to the article, the scrotum may need to be removed and the testicles implanted in pouches located inside the thigh.