Ingrown hairs in the pubic area can form cysts — sacs of fluid beneath the skin. A person may notice a lump, possibly with a hair visible beneath it. It may also be itchy. Cysts often go away without treatment, but some require antibiotics or draining.

An ingrown pubic hair cyst is usually no cause for concern. A person may choose to have a cyst drained, or a doctor may make a small incision to free the trapped hair.

These cysts may go away on their own. A doctor may only recommend treatment if the cyst seems infected or is causing issues such as pain.

This article explains how ingrown pubic hair cysts form, how to identify and prevent them, and when to contact a doctor.

a beauty therapist prepares a pot of hot wax for waxing the pubic area, waxing is one potential cause of an ingrown pubic hair cystShare on Pinterest
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An ingrown hair is a strand of hair that grows into, rather than out of, the skin.

Ingrown hairs tend to develop in areas of hair removal, including the pubic area. They may happen after a person shaves, waxes, or tweezes the hair.

Coarse or curly hairs are most likely to grow inward, but this can happen with any hair type.

An area with ingrown hairs may have little reddish bumps that may itch. It might be possible to see the hair trapped within the skin.

Over time, an ingrown hair may develop into a cyst — a sac of fluid beneath the skin.

An ingrown hair cyst is a lump beneath the skin. It will not have a visible head and may be red, white, or yellow. The cyst may also be painful or tender to the touch.

Most types of cyst look very similar. An ingrown hair cyst starts as a small, red bump. Many people call these bumps razor bumps or razor burn, and their medical name is pseudofolliculitis.

Over time, a bump, usually just one, may get bigger and form a cyst.

An ingrown pubic hair cyst can develop anywhere in the pubic area. It may result, for example, from removing hair from the bikini line.

Each strand of hair grows in a follicle beneath the skin. When people wax or shave, they only remove the strands of hair, not the follicles.

When the hair regrows, it may become trapped within the skin, growing farther inward instead of outward and forming a little bump.

Sometimes, skin cells and a fibrous substance called keratin, a protein in hair and nails, collect within the lump. Over time, the buildup forms a cyst.

Skin cysts are not usually dangerous, and may go away on their own within 7–10 days. They can, however, become inflamed or infected.

A dermatologist may recommend draining the fluid from the cyst by making a small incision. Sometimes, a doctor uses a small needle or blade to free the ingrown hair.

If a cyst becomes inflamed or infected, a doctor might suggest a steroid injection or antibiotics. Also, a steroid cream may help reduce swelling or irritation.

Although people should not try to pop or remove a cyst at home, the following home remedies and strategies may help to encourage drainage and relieve symptoms, such as pain:

  • apply a warm compress
  • keep the surrounding area clean
  • wash hands before touching the area
  • use creams and lotions to relieve itching

A person with an ingrown hair or resulting cyst should avoid scratching, picking, or squeezing it. This can damage the skin and lead to an infection.

If an infection develops, the ingrown hair and surrounding area may have the following features:

  • tenderness or pain
  • swelling
  • redness
  • feels warm to the touch

If a person develops an infection, they should contact a healthcare professional for treatment.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, a person should contact a healthcare professional if:

  • the area around the ingrown hair is very painful, hot, red, or swollen
  • they have a high fever or otherwise feel very unwell
  • they are unsure whether the issue is ingrown hairs
  • ingrown hair cysts occur frequently

The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is to avoid shaving and waxing. If a person wants to remove hair, it may help to switch to a hair removal cream or laser treatment.

For people who prefer to continue shaving, the following tips can reduce the risk of ingrown hairs:

  • wet the skin with warm water before shaving
  • use shaving gel or foam
  • use as few strokes of the razor as possible
  • rinse the razor after every stroke
  • do not shave too close to the skin
  • never use a blunt razor
  • shave in the direction of hair growth
  • after shaving, hold a cool, wet cloth to the skin
  • use an exfoliating body scrub to release any trapped hairs

Below are frequently asked questions relating to ingrown pubic hairs.

How does a person get rid of ingrown pubic hair lumps?

Typically, lumps or cysts from ingrown hairs resolve independently. However, a doctor can make a small incision to free the trapped hair or drain cysts if a person wishes. These minor procedures will lessen lumps.

Can a person pop an ingrown pubic hair cyst?

People should not pop or pick at pubic hair cysts. Doing so risks infection and scarring.

How long does it take for an ingrown pubic hair to go away?

Infected ingrown hair lumps can clear up on their own within 7–10 days.

How can a person draw out an ingrown hair?

According to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, a person can draw out an ingrown hair by using an exfoliating scrub.

Ingrown hairs can form anywhere on the body with hair. “Ingrown” means that a strand of hair grows back into the skin rather than out of it.

Shaving and waxing are the most common causes of ingrown hairs. At first, a person may notice a series of small bumps, which may be reddish and itchy. These patches of ingrown hairs are called razor burn.

One ingrown hair may form a cyst — a red, yellow, or whitish lump beneath the skin.

These cysts are usually no cause for concern and may resolve on their own. A doctor may only recommend treatment if a cyst causes pain or other symptoms or if it becomes infected or inflamed.

The best way to prevent ingrown pubic hairs is not to shave or wax the area.