Hair removal is a common practice worldwide. Methods include plucking or epilation, shaving, waxing, and depilation (chemicals to dissolve hair). Other permanent options include intense pulsed light (IPL) and laser. While hair removal is usually safe, there may be some side effects. One of the most common side effects is razor bumps, also known as ingrown hairs or pseudofolliculitis barbae.
How are ingrown hairs formed?
An ingrown hair is formed when a strand of hair grows out of a follicle but then curves back into the follicle. While it is stuck in the hair follicle, it creates an inflammatory response. As such, the skin surrounding the ingrown hair may be red, dark, or filled with pus. If you look closely, you may see a loop of hair sticking out from the skin surface. You may experience some pain and/or itching.
Ingrown hairs are more common amongst those with curly, coarse hair, and are more likely to be found near the chin, pubic area, and armpits, but can occur anywhere on the skin with hair. They usually occur after shaving or waxing but can occur with any hair removal methods.