Ingrown hairs can develop on the penis shaft, at the base of the penis or on the scrotum. They appear as small, red raised spots that resemble pimples. Shaving is the most common cause of ingrown hairs. Common symptoms include itchiness and pain. Swelling, tenderness, redness and pus formation are signs of infection.
Treatment for an ingrown hair is often done at home with over the counter products and home remedies. Medical treatment is only necessary when dealing with chronic ingrown hairs, severe or spreading infection, cystic ingrown hairs or when there are chances of scarring.
What causes ingrown hair on penis?
The hair that grows on the shaft of penis, near the penis and on the scrotum is usually thick, curly and coarse. After shaving, this hair is left with a sharp edge which pierces the skin when the hair curls back. Clogged hair follicles may also force a hair to grow sideways into the wall of a follicle. As the body fights this unnatural phenomenon, a small red bump will result. While shaving, especially when done poorly, is the most common cause of ingrown hair on the penis, the following may also contribute:
Curly or thick hair
Most people have curly, coarse and thick hair on and near the penis. When this hair is shaved inappropriately, the sharp tips end up piercing the skin.
Clogged hair follicles
Clogging of hair follicles makes it impossible for hairs to break through the skin. Clogging can be caused by accumulation of dead skin cells or excess production of sebum. Dead skin cells accumulate mainly due to lack of exfoliation. Excess sebum production may be due to genetic predisposition or puberty.
Some people will always develop ingrown hairs no matter how carefully they shave. This is linked to hereditary factors such as having coarse and curly hair. Excess production of some sex hormones can sometimes lead to excess or thick hair growth, which in turn increases chances of developing ingrown hairs after shaving.
Tight clothing allows little room for hair to grow. Inevitably, the hair will twist back towards the skin. Tight clothing also prevents air from circulating in the genital region. This encourages breeding of bacteria.
What are symptoms of ingrown hair on penis and scrotum?
Ingrown hair on the scrotum and penis will result in red and painful bumps which are sometimes filled with pus. Unfortunately, several other causes such as herpes, keratosis pilaris and warts can also be responsible. Knowing the symptoms of ingrown pubic hair on the penis is therefore important, especially when treating the condition at home. General symptoms include:
- itchiness and tingling after shaving
- small red bumps that resemble pimples
- darkening of the skin around affected follicle (hyperpigmentation)
- a dark spot in the middle of the bumps
- Painful large bump which may ooze pus or clear fluid. This occurs after the ingrown hair has been infected and developed into a boil or an ingrown hair cyst.
- scarring after the bump has healed
Ingrown hair on penile shaft pictures
You can browse through the many ingrown hair on the penile shaft pictures available online. Below are variations of ingrown hairs that can develop:
- Papules – these are round and hard bumps that develop after shaving. They are not painful and contain no pus. Papules heal the fastest.
- Pustules – these are ingrown hairs that contain pus. They are painful and sometimes swollen. Surrounding skin may feel tender and warm.
- Infected ingrown hair – these are ingrown hairs that have been invaded by bacteria. They are painful, red and filled with pus. Sometimes, a greenish or whitish tip may form. Infected ingrown hairs can spread and develop into boils.
- Ingrown hair cysts – these are ingrown hairs that have formed deep in hair follicles. They form large bumps which are usually painful. Hair removal methods such as waxing and tweezing are common causes of ingrown hair cysts.
How to get rid of ingrown hair on penis
When it comes to how to get rid of ingrown pubic hair on the penis, you can easily do it at home. You will need a sharp needle or tweezers and a sterilizing agent such as alcohol. Below are steps for how to remove ingrown hair.
- Clean your hands and the affected area and pat dry
- Sterilize the needle or tweezers with alcohol
- Locate the ingrown hair, which can often be seen as a black spot in the middle of the bump
- Prick the tip of the bump to expose the ingrown hair
- Use the needle or tweezers to tug the hair out. It should retract from the skin without much pressure
- Apply antibacterial ointment after the operation
This process works better for ingrown hairs that do not contain pus. Otherwise, you will first need to prick the tip of the bump to release the ingrown hair pus. Afterwards, gently squeeze the skin around the ingrown hair until the hair breaks through. You can thereafter use your tweezers to pull it out.
Remember to keep cleaning pus and blood to avoid spreading infection. When done, don’t forget to apply antibacterial ointment. This keeps the infection from spreading or coming back. Sometimes, ingrown hairs form a rash under the skin with no visible tips. Consider learning how to pop an ingrown hair with no head before attempting this treatment.
How to treat ingrown hair on shaft of penis, pubes and scrotum
Ingrown hairs are not a one-time problem. Below are tips that may help in long-term treatment:
- Allow enough time for ingrown hairs to resolve before shaving again. Irritation worsens the situation and increases risk of infection.
- Apply lubricating oil and shaving cream before shaving. Avoid use of soaps and shampoos for shaving.
- Always shave along the grain. Avoid pressing the shaving razor too hard on the skin or stroking the same place more than once. Wipe the razor after every stroke. Replace your shaving razor after 2-3 shaves.
- Exfoliate regularly to get rid of dead skin cells. You can exfoliate physically with body scrubs or chemically with products such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Don’t use salicylic acid on already formed ingrown hair bumps.
- Avoid too-tight underpants or skinny jeans.
- Keep your skin moisturized, especially after shaving. Keep away from greasy or alcohol containing moisturizing products. Grease blocks hair follicles while alcohol dries the skin.
- Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation. For more effective results, regularly apply a warm compress on the affected regions. This will encourage the ingrown hair break through the skin. Ingrown hair cyst removal requires a lot of patience when done at home. The good thing is that unless irritated, the cyst will still respond to topical creams and home remedies.
How to remove ingrown hair on penis with home remedies
- Use tea tree oil for ingrown hair. To use it, dilute tea tree oil and apply it directly using a cotton ball or a Q-tip. Rinse with warm water after 10 minutes. This should reduce itchiness and prevent infection.
- Add baking soda to water, enough to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area in circular motions. Wait for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
- Prepare 1 cup of white sugar, half cup of olive oil and several drops of raw honey. Add all the ingredients together. Apply the mixture directly to the affected areas.
- Massage the affected area with aloe vera gel several times a day. Once the gel has dried, rinse with fresh water. Aloe vera works by soothing itchy skin as well as preventing infection. If you cannot access the plant itself, you can use purchased gel as an alternative.
See your doctor if ingrown hairs don’t improve with home treatments. Medical treatment options for ingrown hairs include laser hair removal, electrolysis, chemical depilatories and use of antibiotics. Antibiotics usually are prescribed in form of creams and ointments although oral antibiotics may be required for severe infections. Chemical depilatories work by dissolving pointy hair tips that may end up piercing the skin. Laser hair removal inhibits the ability of hair to develop from a follicle. Electrolysis destroys hair follicles so that hair will never again develop on the affected area.
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