If you shave your armpit or underarm regularly, you must have come across ingrown hairs in this region. Ingrown armpit hair is a common condition especially for most ladies and some men. It may be a major discomfort particularly when inappropriate measures are taken to prevent, get rid or treat it. It may get deeper into the skin, develop into a lump or cyst due to an infection. Read on to discover more on under arm ingrown hair pictures, symptoms, causes and how to get rid of it.
Armpit Ingrown Hair Symptoms, Causes & Pictures
Ingrown armpit hairs are hairs that have curled around and grown back into your underarm skin instead of rising up from it.
This is followed by raised bumps, which are often called armpit razor bumps.
These type of hairs can affect any part of your body but they become a serious complication when they occur under your arm. Why?
- This region is not easily accessible especially if you are trying to treat this condition on your own.
- A lot of unavoidable friction happen in this region
- You under arm is almost always covered with clothing, sweat etc.
- The skin in this region is quite soft there needs careful handling
underarm ingrown hair pictures
In many cases, ingrown hair in armpit region come as a raised, red bump or a group of red bumps that look like a little pimple(s). Sometimes, especially when infected, an ingrown hair can form a painful, boil-like sore.
The infected region gradually puts on a yellow or white bump like structure that oozes out pus or similar kind of discharge. When they are many, ingrown hairs can be itchy and quite uncomfortable. In some cases, it is possible to see the very hair that is causing the problem.
A pictorial representation of these structures can also help in distinguishing their pattern of growth from the armpit lumps or lymphoma. Below are some pictures
Ingrown hair under armpit Symptoms
Under your arms, the symptoms of the ingrown hairs may at times depend on the underlying cause. In general, the following symptoms are usually noticeable.
- Small, solid, rounded bumps (papules)
- Small, pus-filled, blister-like lesions (pustules)
- Skin darkening (hyperpigmentation)
- Embedded hairs
Though these symptoms do not cause an alarming situation, you need to see a doctor, if armpit ingrown hairs are chronic condition. Sometimes, it may be symptoms of underlying serious ailments.
Ingrown hair under armpit Causes
Causes for its growth are widely varied. From bacterial infections, curly thick hairs and poor shaving techniques to the underlying health issues etc. Below are more causes.
- Old and blunt razors.
- Shaving in the opposite direction of your hair growth.
- Avoiding regular exfoliation. This clogs the hair follicles which further develops bacterial infection causing the hair developing inside the skin.
- Tight clothing right after shaving creates sweat and dirt clogging pores. It causes excessive itching, thus leading to the growth of ingrown hairs.
- General Hygiene.
How to get rid of ingrown hair in armpit-Prevent, Dislodge & Home Remedies
Ingrown hairs usually heal by themselves when left alone. In some cases, you may want to either fasten the healing process or just instantly dislodge them…
How to prevent
“Prevention is better than cure”- runs the saying. Hence, it’s always recommended that preventing the ingrown hairs in the armpits is better than spending dollars on its treatment. So, here’s some quick facts on how to prevent their growth.
- Avoid frequent shaving- Though you may be of the opinion that shaving off those unwanted hairs under your arm keeps you hygienic, frequent shaving may be harmful. The moment you shave, sweats begin forming, clog skin pores, which in the long run develops bumps with hair grown inwards.
- Antiseptic oil before shaving- Before you start shaving your armpits make sure that you are applying an antiseptic oil just before the day of shaving. It keeps the place soft and antiseptic oil prevents bacterial formation.
- Non-soap cleanser- Once you are done, clean the area with non-soap cleanser. Following that, moisturize the zone. Keep in mind that chemicals of soap will have adverse effects, thus triggering the growth of hair follicles inside.
- Not more than four swipes- Refrain from more than four swipes. Over-shaving tears your skin, causing damage. It further leads to the development of conditions like burns, irritation and razor bumps.
- Laser hair removal- Though expensive, laser removal is the ideal way to shave as it does not cause any bacterial growth on the skin. Moreover, it comes with lasting effects which prevents from frequent waxing and shaving.
How to remove/ Dislodge
For you to remove ingrowing hair gently, the first step is to soften the skin around the affected area. To achieve this, use a warm compress for 10-15 minutes. In other words, soak the affected skin for not less than 10 minutes in warm water or a salt-water solution.
Second step is extraction. If the hairs are extra tiny, a magnifying mirror may help you have a clear view of what you’re doing so as to avoid injuries. Sterilize a needle with alcohol and insert it under the part of the hair above the surface. Then carefully pull the needle up to release the hair.
Underarm/ Armpit Ingrown Hair Home Remedies
Here are some home remedies that can help you deal with ingrown hair in or on armpit.
- Tea-tree oil- The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of the tea-tree oil help reducing the bumps and healing the ingrown hair. Mix a few drops of oil with water before applying in the affected zone.
- Aspirin- Right after shaving, use aspirin, to treat deep and infectious follicles. It has anti-inflammatory property that cures swelling.
- Black tea bags- Black tea bags are used to reduce burns and irritations right after shaving. It also prevents the formation of bacterial infection and comforts the inflamed area.
In many cases, Hydrocortisone cream is also used for topical application. It reduces inflammation and burns across the zone.
Dealing with Deep Infected Ingrown Hair Armpit Cyst/Lump
In the armpit area, backward growing hairs may grow into a lump or cyst. These are likely to be painful pus-filled sores, which hurt due to frictional movements.
The friction, which may result from moving your arms and your clothing rubbing against your skin often worsens the condition. Likewise, the irritation often caused by deodorants, can make the bump feel even worse.
So, simply minimize the friction, avoid deodorants and seek medical help especially if the above home remedies do not work.
Ingrown armpit hair or lymph node?
Armpit lumps can be referred as an enlargement of the lymph nodes under your arms. More often than not, these are bacterial infection that induce the inward growth of a hair follicle, which further develops into lumps.
Though lymphoma or the enlarged lymph nodes often mimic a bump caused by ingrown hair, there’s a fine line of difference between these. In fact, ingrown hairs triggered by bacterial infection do produce a sizable lump but relevant physical tests and clinical trials are important to establish the difference.
According to healthline.com many lumps can be the effect of allergies, infections and harmless fats or tissue growth. In rare cases, these are cancerous growths. However, a clinical examination along with the required blood tests can determine the cause of the lump.
Ingrown hair underarm boil & Infected
A deep ingrown, or embedded hair is a hair that has grown through the wall of the hair follicle. When dislodging a deep ingrown underarm hair, precautions must be taken to avoid infection and permanent scarring.
An ingrown hair infection under your arm can lead to a boil but in rare occasions.
Treating this infection depends on the symptoms. Some of the above mentioned remedies may work but a clinical intervention be the most appropriate.
A dermatologist will initially prescribe a topical antiseptic, but, in serious cases an antibiotic might be prescribed to deal with the situation. Antiseptics are natural killers of germs and bacteria and they can be purchased from any drug store. However, make sure that the one you buy has the ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, isopropanol, iodine and povidone-iodine.
To conclude, ingrown hairs in the underarms or armpit are mostly caused by bacterial and viral infections, which are mostly grown by excessive shaving. They usually heal on their own. To avoid them, simply stop frequent shaving. Seek clinical help if the situation turns out to be worse.
- Bolognia, Jean; Joseph J. Jorizzo; and Ronald P. Rapini. “Dermatology, Vol 1.” Mosby, London: 2003