Ingrown hair in the genital area


Ingrown hairs can occur in everyone and are favored by different conditions, such as particularly frizzy and thick hair or a previous hair removal. In general, ingrown hair is not a dangerous condition.

The hair curls and grows into the skin instead of straight out. An inflammatory area usually develops around the hair, which can also appear purulent and is therefore both painful and annoying.

Cause of an ingrown hair in the genital area

The most common cause of ingrown hairs is hair removal. When hair grows back, it can grow under the skin instead of growing out through the skin. It is also important that the edge of the regrowing hair is sharper than that of the untrimmed hair. In addition, when hair is removed or shaved, the hair canal can become clogged with sebum or skin flakes, leaving the hair under the skin. Therefore, ingrown hairs are mostly only found in adults who have previously performed hair removal.

In addition, tight and chafing clothing encourages hair to grow in in the corresponding area. The texture of the hair also plays a role. Thick and / or frizzy hair is more likely to grow in than thin, straight hair. In general, the hair in the genital area is often thicker than on other parts of the body. Ultimately, the hormonal balance also plays a role, as increased sex hormones lead to increased hair growth and therefore the risk of ingrown hair is increased


An ingrown hair is usually noticeable through pain. The result is a reddened swelling that appears as a lump under the skin and hurts when touched. There may also be an accumulation of pus and itching may also be present.

Scratching the affected area can cause permanent scars in the long term. With dark-skinned people, an intensely pigmented area of ​​skin often remains.

While most ingrown hairs will heal on their own, in some cases the hair follicle may become inflamed. A boil develops that should be treated by a doctor. An abscess (cavity filled with pus) or blood poisoning can also occur in individual cases as a result of ingrown hair.

Bumps as a sign of ingrown hair in the genital area

An ingrown hair often presents itself as a reddened and painful bump. The bump is a sign of the inflammation taking place. Inflammatory cells migrate in and pus forms. The pus cavity arises in the area of ​​the previously melted tissue, but also bulges slightly outwards, making the inflamed area appear as a lump. In addition, inflammation always leads to increased water retention in the tissue, which also leads to swelling.

Pain in the genital area due to an ingrown hair

Often, an ingrown hair is also accompanied by pain. This is the case when the area with the ingrown hair becomes inflamed by the foreign body reaction or by additionally immigrated bacteria. The body releases messenger substances that sensitize pain receptors and are thus involved in the development of pain.

Ingrown hair in the genital area with pus formation

Since the body recognizes the ingrown hair as a foreign body that should not actually be present at this point, an inflammatory reaction is triggered. The immune system tries to fight the foreign body and numerous defense cells immigrate. These secrete enzymes that also attack the surrounding tissue and pus accumulates. Furthermore, as the hair grows through the skin, bacteria that naturally occur on the skin can penetrate the body. These also trigger a defense reaction of the immune system and lead to the formation of pus. The bacteria that cause purulent inflammation are also known as pyogenic bacteria. Another point of entry for bacteria are scratched areas of the skin. If the ingrown hair shows a lot of itching, the scratching can also lead to a bacterial infection.

If there is pus, check whether it is actually an ingrown hair or a boil. A boil is an inflammation of the hair follicle lying deep in the skin, which has nothing to do with the direction of hair growth, but can also occur more often on shaved hair with small skin wounds


The determination that the hair is ingrown is usually a visual diagnosis that a family doctor or dermatologist can make. This means that no laboratory or technical examination is required to make the diagnosis. An ingrown hair has a very characteristic appearance. You can see a small reddened lump that is tender on pressure. You may also be able to see the ingrown hair under the skin. In addition, the region of the complaint is crucial. Ingrown hairs often appear in the genital area or on the armpits, as the skin is very sensitive here and the hair, in turn, is often thick and shaved regularly

Abscess due to an ingrown hair in the genital area

An abscess is an encapsulated cavity that is filled with pus. The cave is created by the melting of the surrounding tissue and, by definition, did not exist before. A collection of pus in a pre-existing cavity is called empyema.

Read more on the topic: Abscess on the testicle

In severe cases, an ingrown hair can lead to purulent fistulas, which in turn lead to an abscess. This should be examined by a doctor and opened or removed under strict hygienic conditions. This occurs particularly often in the area of ​​the coccyx. The so-called pilonidal sinus, also known as the coccyx sinus, is particularly common in young, very hairy men and is usually triggered primarily by ingrown hair. An inflammatory reaction takes place, pus is formed and is deposited in a pus cavity. The coccyx fistula must be surgically removed by a doctor as it does not heal on its own. The hair can be removed by laser to prevent fistulas from recurring in the area of ​​the coccyx.

What to do with an ingrown hair in the genital area?

If you notice at an early stage that an ingrown hair is developing, you can first try placing a warm washcloth on the affected area to soften and open the pore. Then sterile tweezers can be used to try to bring the hair back in the right direction.

In addition, nourishing and anti-inflammatory creams, e.g. with zinc or tea tree oil.

However, if there is already an inflammation, too much should not be manipulated in order not to spread the bacteria. In this case, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist who can open the area under sterile conditions and relieve the hair. Inflammation can be recognized by severe swelling, reddening, overheating and pain.

The doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs. In rare cases, cortisone is used for this. However, this should not be done in mild cases. In addition, an antibiotic may be needed if the inflammation is severe.

To make the hair more unlikely to grow in again in the future, care should be taken to shave with the hairline only. This leads to fewer skin injuries. In addition, the blade should be changed regularly and kept clean. After shaving, care should be taken with moisturizing creams. You can also exfoliate once or twice a week to remove flakes of skin.

Pull ointment for treating an ingrown hair in the genital area

Zugsalbe contains sulfonated shale oil. This is said to have an anti-inflammatory effect. It also promotes blood circulation, alleviates pain and inhibits the flow of sebum. Pulling ointment is often used to treat abscesses or boils, on the one hand it contributes to the faster maturation of the pus bladder and on the other hand it softens the skin over the lesion and thus makes it easier for the pus or the ingrown hair to escape.

Read more on the topic: Pull ointment

Creams for treating ingrown hair in the genital area

Creams can help remove the ingrown hair from the skin. Various active ingredients are available. A popular home remedy is tea tree oil. It has anti-inflammatory effects and helps wound healing. A similar effect is attributed to the zinc ointment. Zinc can also be taken in tablet form and strengthens the immune system. Furthermore, creams with the active ingredient glycerine can also be taken. This opens the pores and provides moisture. Triclosan is an agent that inhibits and disinfects bacteria.

Which doctor is responsible for this?

In general, the family doctor can diagnose an ingrown hair and recommend suitable care products. However, if there is a severe inflammation that may require a doctor to open the pus, the dermatologist is the specialist in charge. Even if ingrown hairs are very common, it is advisable to seek advice from a dermatologist in order to be able to prevent ingrown hair in the future.