Causes of Ingrown Hair on Penis Shaft and How to Remove it?

ingrown hair on penis
Medically reviewed by Dr. Marsha Dunkely

Key Takeaways

  1. There are various causes of ingrown hair, from curly thick hair texture, shaving or waxing frequently, tight clothing, to no exfoliation. Understanding the reason before diagnosing and treating ingrown hair is essential. 
  2. Ingrown hair can be treated and prevented by using a gentle moisturizer, trimming instead of shaving pubic hair, and practicing exfoliation. 
  3. In case of a wound or cut, the bacteria residing on the skin can enter the body and cause infection and inflammation of the ingrown hair bump. Prescribed antibiotics effectively treat this infection. 

Overview

Ingrown hair is a clogged pore condition where the pubic hair starts growing inside the skin and is frequent after shaving or waxing the pubic hair. The short hair tends to grow inside due to pores of hair follicles clogged because of dead skin cells or sebum and sweat. These ingrowths occur at the base as well as on the penile shaft. In most cases, these growths resolve independently, but sometimes, a bacterial infection can trigger and cause inflammation of the area due to razor cuts or waxing rashes. If you are looking for causes, treatments, and symptoms of ingrown hair, keep reading as we explore them in this blog. 

Why Do I Have Ingrown Hair on the Penis?

Various reasons can cause ingrown hair. Let’s explore the more prominent ones behind these uninvited guests: 

  1. Curly Hair: It is most common in black people with curly thick hair. The short, shaved pubic hair will likely curl back and grow inside the skin. These are also called razor bumps, which appear as small red ones. It happens more when the skin is dry during the shave. 
  2. Shaving and Waxing: Hair removal methods also affect the appearance of the ingrown hair. Shaving the penis hair from the penis shaft increases the chances of its appearance. Double razor blades can often cause ingrown hair as the two blades cut so closely and push a sharp edge that curls back into the skin and gets trapped in the skin. 
  3. Pseudofolliculitis barbae is the medical term for ingrown hair on the pubic area. It is common in people who shave pubic hair and other body hair like underarms, torso, and legs.  
  4. Lack of Exfoliation: Due to reduced exfoliation, the pores of the pubic area, which already remain covered and are prone to more sweat and sebum, get clogged due to the buildup of dead cells and sebum from oil glands. These clogged pores cause hair strands to curl back inside, causing hair ingrowth. Therefore, it is advised to use a gentle body wash that exfoliates your pores and keeps them clean. 
  5. Tight Clothing: Tight clothing can also cause the risk of ingrown hair as the fabric traps the hair and moisture, causing clogged pores and causing the hair to curl back inside the skin, especially after shaving. Therefore, try wearing breathable clothing a few days after shaving to avoid ingrown hair. 
Consult a Doctor for Ingrown Hair Treatment

How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair on the Penis

To completely get rid of these unwanted ingrowths, and avoid getting troubled by skin issues at the most sensitive yet private part of the body, here’s what can be done: 

  1. Use a Gentle Moisturizer: Using a moisturizer that is both a good emollient and hydrating is very important. If it has antioxidant properties, that’s just the cherry on top. It can reduce the chances of hair trapping and increase the removal of excess free radicals and oxidants, making your pubic area healthy. 
  2. Trimming instead of Shaving: Shaved hair is more likely to become ingrowths than short-trimmed hair. They are not sharp-edged like the one formed with a razor cut and are not too short and thin to be incorporated into the skin again. 
  3. Regular Exfoliation: Exfoliation is a great way to remove dead cell buildup and soften the pubic skin before hair removal. The dry, hardened skin is more prone to cause ingrowths. Pore unclogging can significantly reduce the chances of ingrown hair. The soft hair is easier to get lifted and removed with the razor rather than pulled and tugged. 

What To Do if the Ingrown Hair Is Infected?

Infection in the ingrown hair can cause inflammation of the area and break out in the form of small red bumps that grow in size over time. These inflamed, red bumps can cause redness, itching, and swelling. The ingrown hair gets infected due to any damage or cut to pubic skin due to razor or wax. These ingrowths can cause the bacteria that live on the surface of pubic skin, called Staphylococcus aureus, to enter the body and cause infection. It can cause pus-filled bumps with red, inflamed edges.

Following home remedies can help alleviate the symptoms of the inflammation: 

  • Using antibacterial oils like tea tree oil
  • Using over-the-counter medicines to reduce inflammation or itching
  • Using oatmeal lotions to soothe the skin
  • Scrubbing and washing to unclog the pores
  • Using a sterilized tweezer to drain out the pus

Complications with Ingrown Hair

Ingrown hair can cause some complications if the area is itched or scratched, increasing the chances of bacterial infection and inflammation, as the break in the skin is enough for bacteria to enter and cause infection. The scratching can also cause keloids, also called permanent scarring. 

Ingrown hair can cause various types of fungal infections as well. Infections from bacteria or viruses can be further spread or affected as superficial infections or Sexually transmitted diseases/Infections. It’s good to get medical attention before sexual activity to avoid such conditions.

Small red bumps might appear as red or genital moles on the folliculitis penile shaft, causing severe itching.

Permanent darkening of the skin and scarring will also start to develop in case of ingrown hair left untreated.

Some studies have shown that ingrown hair on the penile shaft can also cause pilonidal cysts between the buttocks, which can only be removed after surgery.

How to Prevent Ingrown Hair Bumps on Penile Shaft?

To prevent ingrown hair bumps on the penile shaft, frequent shaving and waxing of the pubic area should be avoided. However, if you are someone who keeps their pubic area hairless, try adopting safer hair removal techniques to prevent ingrown hair bumps.

Here are some of the methods that can help in preventing ingrown hair bumps: 

  • Avoid shaving in the opposite direction of hair growth.
  • Change your razor more often to avoid shaving with a dull razor.
  • Don’t shave closely to the skin and with too much pressure.
  • Instead of shaving, alternate options like laser and electrolysis can be used for hair removal.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes that trap hair and moisture.
  • Exfoliate to remove the buildup of dead skin cells.
  • Moisturize the area with a soothing lotion after shaving.

Painful vs. Painless Penile Ingrown Hair

Penile ingrown hair may or may not cause pain. Pain indicates the slight bump is growing into a giant cyst under the skin, which can be very painful to touch. If the ingrown hair keeps getting bigger and doesn’t go away, consult your healthcare provider immediately to get treated with antibiotics. 

Consult a Doctor to Treat Penile Ingrown Hair

What natural remedy draws out ingrown hair?

Below are some commonly suggested natural approaches:

Warm Compress: Applying a warm, damp compress to the affected area can help soften the skin (Hair follicle) and open up pores, potentially facilitating the drawing out of the ingrown hair.

Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil possesses natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Diluting a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil, and applying it to the area might be beneficial.

Sugar Scrub: A mild sugar scrub can aid in exfoliating the skin, removing dead cells that might be trapping the ingrown hair. Creating a scrub with sugar, olive oil, or honey and gently massaging the area could help.

Tomato Scrub: A mild 5-minute Tomato scrub helps in great exfoliation removing dead cells from the skin. 

Aloe Vera Gel: The soothing and anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera are well-known. Applying pure aloe vera gel to the affected area could help minimize redness and discomfort.

Coconut Oil: The moisturizing attributes of coconut oil could soften the skin and alleviate irritation around the ingrown hair.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Diluted apple cider vinegar might prevent infection and reduce inflammation. Applying a diluted mixture (equal parts vinegar and water) using a cotton ball could be beneficial.

FAQs

What does ingrown hair on the penis look like?

Ingrown hair on the penis looks like a small red bump, often filled with pus and inflamed edges, which can cause scarring, pain, and itching. It happens because of hair growth inside the skin. 

Can You Pop an Ingrown Hair on Your Penis?

No, it is advisable never to pop out the ingrown hair as it can cause bacterial infection on the open wound. The same is true for scratching and itching, which can cause bacterial infection. 

What To Put On Ingrown Hair on Penis?

The treatment options vary as per the size and symptoms of the ingrown hair bump. If the bump is small, it will go away in a week; however, if it gets bigger, you should check yourself with a doctor to get proper antibiotic treatment. 

Can I Still Have Sex With an Ingrown Hair Infection?

Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment is advisable first because ingrown hair can be a sexually transmitted infection risk; thus, it is best to avoid intercourse until the infection goes away. 

How Long Does It Take for an Ingrown Hair on Penis To Go Away?

If the bump is not inflamed or infected, it usually goes away in a week, but if the infection accompanies the bump, it can take longer than a week. A proper antibiotic would be required to cure the condition in that case. 

How To Tell if It’s an Ingrown Hair, Pimple, Wart, or Herpes on the Penis?

To differentiate between ingrown hair, wart, herpes, or pimple, it is better to get a proper diagnosis from your healthcare provider. 

Does Neosporin help ingrown hair?

Yes, it’s good to generally apply Neosporin after removing ingrown hair to prevent any further bacterial or fungal infections.

How do you draw out an ingrown hair fast?

The healthcare provider can use the sterile needle very cautiously after warmly compressing the area and making the hair follicle soft for easy removal and drawing out.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Bumps, Normal. Causes of Bumps on the Penis, Scrotum, and Groin
  • Trager, Jonathan DK. “Pubic hair removal—pearls and pitfalls.” Journal of Pediatric and adolescent gynecology 19.2 (2006): 117-123.
  • Trager, Jonathan DK. “Pubic hair removal—pearls and pitfalls.” Journal of Pediatric and adolescent gynecology 19.2 (2006): 117-123.
  • Thomas, C. L., K. D. Gordon, and P. S. Mortimer. “Rapid resolution of hidradenitis suppurativa after bariatric surgical intervention.” Clinical and experimental dermatology 39.3 (2014): 315-318.
  • Law, Benjamin. “Dudes’ pubes: The virtues of completely hairless tackle.” Kill Your Darlings 11 (2012): 23-29.

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