You’re applying deodorant, and notice a small little bump on your armpit. A pimple, body acne you think. But you wait, and notice this little pimple doesn’t go away. What might’ve started as a “pimple”, has become an unpleasant, even painful annoyance.
Ingrown hairs can appear without warning and can strike virtually anywhere. Including your armpits. In fact, ingrown hairs on the armpit can be noticeably more painful due to the armpits’ sensitivity. Armpits contain a high volume of hair follicles, glands, blood vessels and intersecting tissue, making the potential for ingrown hair very likely, and very painful.
But what can you do when an ingrown hair appears and doesn’t go away?
This quick guide will give you insights on pain-free removal of ingrown hairs, as well as post-care tips to help you reduce the risk of ingrown hairs occurring again.
Causes of Ingrown Hairs on Armpits
Many of you are familiar with the causes of ingrown hair. As its name suggests, these types of hairs occur when the hair curls back into the skin instead of growing out. After re-entering the skin, the hair continues to grow, inwards, making its presence known and its removal essential.
Whether it is on the armpit or other parts of the body, certain people are more prone to ingrown hairs.
Individuals who have coarse or curly hair are more likely to suffer from ingrown hair than people who have straighter or fine hair. Other people who are at risk for ingrown hairs include those who use tweezers to remove hairs (as this leaves hair fragments under the skin) or those who pull the skin while shaving.
When it comes to the armpits, having curly hair and being a frequent shaver puts you at risk for developing ingrown hair. So for those of you who have curly hair and pluck away at those underarm feathers, beware – you might be encouraging the development of ingrown hairs.
Signs of Ingrown Hairs
Ingrown hairs on armpits (or anywhere else) will make their presence very obvious. To keep it simple: they hurt!
So do other conditions, however. In case you get a painful bump in the armpit and aren’t sure what you’re experiencing, you will need to know what distinguishes an ingrown armpit hair from something else like razor burn or boils.
Distinguishing Features of Ingrown Hairs on Armpits
- Red bumps with pus-filled heads
- Solid red bumps with a tiny dot on top (the hair itself)
- Pain or tenderness
- Hyperpigmentation (armpit darkness)
You’ll likely have a single bump or maybe a few of them in the armpit, but not much more than that. In many cases, the bumps and irritation will disappear on their own – assuming you don’t aggravate them (more on this later). In rare cases, though, ingrown hairs can become infected so you should pay attention to bumps that become very hard, very painful and very persistent.
The Painless Removal of Armpit Ingrown Hair
Ingrown hairs can be problematic any way you look at it. If you try to remove them, it’ll likely hurt. But if you let them sit there for long enough, it’ll cause irritation, and possible pain, at every moment.
Whether you’re putting on a shirt, shaving or showering, ingrown hairs aren’t subtle. The best of both worlds would be to remove ingrown hairs without having to feel a thing (or at least, not much).
It sounds tricky but it’s entirely possible.
The At-Home Treatments for Ingrown Hair on Armpits
- Steroid/anti-inflammatory cream – First and foremost, comes pain relief. Using a steroid cream that reduces inflammation as this will reduce the pain and tenderness.
- Moisturizers & exfoliants – A skincare routine will be helpful to remove dead skin (that contribute to ingrown hairs) with exfoliating agents. That could be an exfoliating oil (along with a gentle scrub) or natural ingredients such as salt or baking soda. Also, since dry skin is more likely to produce ingrown hairs, you’ll want to use a moisturizing cream or essential oils that help restore the skin’s natural hydration ability.
- Topical retinoids – Approach these over-the-counter products cautiously, but you can use topical retinoids that contain adapalene, glycolic and salicylic acids since they assist with exfoliation.
- Benzoyl peroxide – This compound is an antiseptic ingredient that’s effective at reducing pustules, papules and hyperpigmentation that ingrown hairs cause. It’s especially effective when they’re infected.
Gone for Good with Laser?
Let’s say you’ve been struggling with ingrown hairs for years, despite your efforts to prevent them from forming. You exfoliate, moisturize, have used anti-inflammatory creams and more. But all fail or only provide temporary relief. The ingrown hairs persist.
Not everyone is a candidate for laser hair removal, but it can work wonders for those who have certain skin and hair textures/types. The laser works by generating an intense, pulsating beam of light that penetrates the skin and hits individual hair follicles. The heat damages the follicle so that it prevents hair from growing in the future.
If you decide to undergo laser hair removal, you will be assessed for suitability since having certain skin tones and hair types may put you at risk for complications.
Keep in mind too, that the intensity of the laser will determine how many treatments you need as well as how much discomfort you will feel. Again, this will be something you discuss as you decide to go forward with the procedure.
Keep Ingrown Hairs Out
Ingrown hairs on the armpit can really put a damper on your mood. They are painful and persistent, but you can treat and even prevent them with the right skin care routines and treatments.
In the meantime, be gentle with your shaving habits and use a natural deodorant that doesn’t pile on harsh chemicals on already-sensitive skin. And most importantly, if the ingrown hair last despite all other efforts, see your doctor or a dermatologist. Your ingrown hair will soon be out of your life – maybe even, for good!
Joban Beauty specializes in concealing deodorant that combines the power of makeup with the endurance of a deodorant. These two founders dedicate their product to helping women hide armpit darkness and discoloration.