Dealing With Ingrown Armpit Hair: Symptoms, Causes, And Remedies

UPGUYS > Blog > Hair > Dealing With Ingrown Armpit Hair: Symptoms, Causes, and Remedies

Written by the UPGUYS Editorial Team Published on September 11, 2022

Research shows that men struggle with body image issues at about the same rate as women. However, it's less common in today's culture for men to talk about their struggles or concerns regarding what's "normal" for them to be experiencing with their bodies.

This includes what kind of changes are normal if that bump is something to worry about, or how to follow a great general hygiene routine. And, yes, sometimes it includes ingrown hairs and other bumps in areas you'd rather not talk with your buddies about.

After all, who wants to ask their friend if an ingrown hair in their armpit looks normal? That's likely why you're here, right?

From understanding what causes ingrown armpit hair to a few home remedies that can help treat and prevent them, here is everything you need to know about how to keep armpit ingrown hair at bay.

In this article, we talk about the following:

What Are Ingrown Hairs?

Ingrown hair is a common problem that can occur after shaving, waxing, or tweezing. Basically, the hair you try to cut or shave off grows back into the skin instead of up and out. This can cause irritation, redness, and bumps. 

Ingrown hair can occur even if you're experiencing hair loss. Wherever you have hair follicles, you're able to get an ingrown hair. All in all, ingrown hairs can be slightly painful and unsightly, but they're not an STD (although you should get checked for STIs regularly!), and they're not contagious or life-threatening. 

If you have an ingrown hair, you may be able to treat it at home with special creams or lotions. However, you should see a doctor if you develop a serious infection.

What Does an Ingrown Armpit Hair Look Like?

We know just how scary an ingrown armpit hair lump can look. Ingrown hairs in other places can sometimes be mistaken for herpes. Or, in your armpit, it might look like a swollen lymph node. So, what's the difference?

The hair may be visible as a small, dark, round bump under the skin. It may also be sore or itchy. Usually, the bump is only about a few millimetres wide, if that. Swollen lymph nodes are often a bit larger and more solid than an ingrown hair lump.

Typically, an ingrown hair has a white head, but if an ingrown armpit hair is infected, it may appear red, swollen, and painful.

It's important to note that infected ingrown armpit hairs may also have pus or drainage. Again, this isn't something that you're likely to see with a swollen lymph node. If you have an infected ingrown armpit hair, see your doctor if you're concerned.

Or, if you're finding that you're frequently getting ingrown hairs, speak with your doctor at your next annual physical or sexual health checkup.

Ingrown Armpit Hair Symptoms

The most common symptom of ingrown hair is a red or white bump with the hair underneath it. They're usually itchy and slightly painful to the touch but shouldn't be so painful that you can't stand them.

Overall, the most common symptoms of ingrown armpit hair include:

  • Rash
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain or sensitivity in the affected area

If you have any of these symptoms, you should try to keep the area clean. Ingrown armpit hair can sometimes lead to serious infections. However, there are home remedies you can try.

Ingrown Armpit Hair Home Remedies

Alright, so what's the deal with ingrown hair removal? Several home remedies can help to ease the pain and underlying inflammation. 

One popular remedy is to soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it to the affected area. This will help to draw out any infection and speed up the healing process. 

Another effective treatment for ingrown armpit hair is to make a paste from baking soda and water and apply it directly to the ingrown hair. This will help to soothe the skin and reduce redness and swelling.

Once you've followed either of the treatment options above, you can start to remove the ingrown hair.

First, clean the ingrown armpit hair lump with alcohol. Make sure that your hands are clean as well. While you're at it, go ahead and disinfect your tweezers too.

If you need to:

  1. Apply a warm compress to the bump to help bring the ingrown hair more to the surface.
  2. Once you're able to see the hair under your skin, take your clean tweezers and try to delicately tweeze the hair out.
  3. Once you pull the hair out from under your skin, tweeze it out by pulling at it from the root.
  4. Disinfect the area again and keep it clean over the next few days.

How To Treat Armpit Infected Ingrown Hair

While an armpit ingrown hair is unsightly and slightly painful, it will usually go away on its own within a few weeks. 

But even though they eventually clear up, they often leave behind dark marks on the skin called hyperpigmentation. These marks can last for weeks or even months, especially in people with darker skin tones. 

In some cases, ingrown hairs can become infected with bacteria. This usually happens when pus accumulates under the skin around an ingrown hair cyst. So, it's important to know how to treat one if it gets infected. 

In most cases, infections clear up on their own as long as you're cleaning the area daily. However, in extreme cases, you might need antibiotics. If the infection lasts more than three days and the swelling and redness continue, get in touch with your doctor.

How To Avoid Ingrown Armpit Hair

If you frequently get ingrown armpit hair, you may be using shaving methods that make them more likely to occur. Or, you might simply just need to exfoliate more often to get rid of the dead cells that are blocking your pores.

  • Change Shaving Habits

It's important to shave in the direction of your hair growth. This can help prevent your hair from getting trapped under your skin.

Likewise, you might want to switch to simply trimming your armpit hair instead of shaving it down all the way. Most men have super coarse hair here, so instead of shaving, trim it with an electric razor.

  • Exfoliate Regularly

Did you know that even if you're shaving properly, ingrown hairs can develop if dead skin cells block the hair follicle opening? This can happen when the skin is very dry, making it more likely to flake off in layers.

So, to avoid ingrown armpit hairs, try exfoliating before you shave and at least once or twice a week.

Final Words: Is Ingrown Armpit Hair Worrying?

Should you be worried about ingrown armpit hair? No, not at all. It's a very common condition that usually isn't anything to worry about. However, if you're experiencing severe pain, redness, or pus-filled bumps, then you should see a doctor to make sure it's not an infection. 

Ingrown hair in your armpit can appear for a variety of reasons, including shaving, waxing, or using harsh chemicals on the skin. The good news is that there are several things you can do to prevent ingrown hair.

Follow one of the home treatment remedies mentioned above, and be sure to take care of your underarm skin just like you do the skin on your face. While you'll still likely get ingrown hair from time to time (we all do), you'll reduce your chances of getting them frequently.

Interested in other tips? Read through all of our UPGUYS resources on hair and how to care for yours.

FAQs About Ingrown Armpit Hair

1- Can an Ingrown Armpit Hair Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes?

Sometimes, yes. If you have ingrown hair in your armpit, it can swell up and become infected. This can cause your lymph nodes to swell. If this is the case, you'll likely feel the ingrown hair bump along with a separate lymph node bump.

2- How To Tell if It's Ingrown Hair in Armpit or Lymph Node

Have an ingrown hair armpit lump, and you're worried it's something serious? You can usually tell the difference between an ingrown hair in your armpit and a swollen lymph node.

Swollen lymph nodes are usually tender to the touch and can cause discomfort. Ingrown hair bumps are less tender, tend to be smaller, and have smaller red points than a swollen lymph node would have.

3- Does Laser Hair Removal Make Ingrown Armpit Hairs Worse?

No. In fact, laser hair removal can often help reduce the risk of ingrown hairs by reducing the density of hair in the treated area.

4- Can Sweat Cause Ingrown Armpit Hair?

Potentially, yes. For example, when sweat mixes with dirt and dead skin cells, it can create a clogging effect that could lead to hair follicles becoming blocked. Additionally, the moisture from sweat can provide the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, which could also contribute to ingrown hairs.

5- Can Deodorant Cause Armpit Ingrown Hair?

Yes, for the same reasons as why sweat can cause ingrown armpit hair. Deodorants and antiperspirants work by creating a barrier on the skin to prevent sweat and bacteria from coming into contact with each other. This can block pores and cause a build-up of bacteria, which can lead to irritation and inflammation. In some cases, this can result in ingrown hairs.


References

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Disclaimer
This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information provided in the articles cannot and should not replace advice from a healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider about any physical or mental health concerns or the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.