Ingrown Armpit Hair Symptoms, Removal and Home Remedies

Ingrown hairs cause a lot of pain and discomfort. An ingrown hair in armpit is painful and irritating. Even worse is when it results in swelling, boils, abscesses or deep cysts. The armpit is also a conducive environment for microorganisms which could result in an infected ingrown hair. The infection, if not treated, could lead to scabbing or scarring, hyperpigmentation and keloids in severe cases. We get into the details of these below.

Ingrown Hair in Armpit

Non-problematic hairs grow from the follicles right through the skin and on to the surface. When armpit hair is removed by shaving or waxing, its structure is interfered with and as it grows, the ends that are meant to grow out of the skin could get trapped inside. When an emerging hair grows back into the skin or sideways, it is said to be ingrown. An ingrown hair in the armpit is therefore a hair that grows in the wrong direction, bending into the skin or sideways. It carries with it various symptoms such as pain, itch, swelling and general discomfort.

Ingrown Hair Armpit Symptoms

Other accompanying symptoms include red pimple-like bumps, pus or blood-filled lumps. Where there are many ingrown hairs, large bumps that appear hidden in the skin or deep ingrown hair cysts could occur.

Causes of Ingrown Hair under Armpit

Although nearly everyone can have an ingrown hair, it is most common in people with thick and coarse hair or tightly curled hair. Reasons for the development of ingrowths include:

Inappropriate Shaving

In most cases, shaving and other hair removal procedures are the reason why you experience ingrown hairs under armpit. Using a blunt razor, shaving too close to the skin, keeping your skin taut while shaving and shaving against the direction of the hair growth could contribute to ingrowth.

Axila Surgery

According to Medscape, axillary dissection is a surgical incision procedure done to examine, identify and/or remove a lymph node. notes that the procedure disrupts the intergrity of the skin tissue which increases the chances of getting ingrown armpit hair.

Ingrown Armpit Hair or Lymph Node

At times, it can be hard knowing where what you have is an ingrown armpit hair or swollen lymph node. Also, people are always wondering: Can ingrown hair in armpit cause swollen lymph node?
According to, lymph nodes are “small pouches” that collect and drain the lymphatic fluid that goes through our system to keep body tissues firm and get rid of toxins. 

At times, the pockets become infected and clogged. Pressure from breast tissue especially in nursing mums as well as allergic reactions could also see your lymph nodes bulging. In some cases, it could be an indication of accumulating cancer cells. The enlarged and swollen when they are clogged. This will appear as a lump under your arms.

A swollen lymph node may also appear like an underarm boil, a cyst or ingrown hair on your armpits. To tell if what you have is an ingrown hair, check if you can see an embedded strand within the lump. In most cases, swollen lymph nodes will go away on its own. It is, however, essential to have it checked by a doctor to eliminate the chances of it being cancerous.

How to Remove a Deep Ingrown Hair- Ingrown Armpit Hair Removal

An ingrown armpit hair bump keeps getting worse with rubbing. It become quite uncomfortable especially if it becomes infected and the skin around it is irritated. Below is how to remove deep ingrown hair from the armpit.
  1. If the ingrown hair lump is quite swollen, start by applying a hydro-cortisone cream to bring down the inflammation and diminish swelling. Apply it three times in a day.
  2. After you have quelled the swelling, apply a warm compress on the ingrown armpit hair. Leave it on until it cools down and repeat procedure for a total of 15 minutes treatment.
  3. Inspect the area to see if the ingrown hair is visible. If you can see it, use a pair of sterilized tweezers or needle to pull it out.
  4. In case the hair was embedded too deep, continue treating with warm compresses regularly until the deep ingrown hair becomes visible so you can pull it out. 
  5. In the duration of the treatment, you can use a clean wash cloth to rub the area in circular motions so you can tease the hair out.
  6. Keep the underarms clean and check the skin regularly for any signs of infection. You can use mild topical treatments for mild infections. 
  7. For serious cases that make the armpit painful beyond comfort or where the loop of the deeply ingrown hair does not appear, see your general practitioner for the treatment and removal of the ingrown hair in the armpit.

How To Prevent Ingrown Armpit Hair

The inconvenience that comes with bumps and lumps under the armpit is worth avoiding. To prevent ingrown armpit hair, there are a few things you need to have in mind. Formation of ingrown hairs has a lot to do with how you shave. When shaving leaves sharp edges on the hair, ingrowths are inevitable. To avoid getting those pesky bumps use appropriate shaving techniques as discussed below.
  • Shave in the direction of hair growth as opposed to shaving against it
  • Do not use a blunt razor blade.
  • Avoid holding the skin tight as you shave as this puts too much pressure on the area.
  • Try and use few strokes and not shave the same area over and over.
  • Opt for other hair removal methods such as depilatories.

Ingrown Hair Armpit Home Remedies

  1. Warm Compresses: Applying a warm compress on the skin softens the underarm skin and allows the embedded loop to emerge on the skin.
  2. Benzoyl Peroxide: this will sanitize the underarms which are prone to bacterial infections. This way the likelihood of developing an infected ingrown hair is minimized.
  3. Milk and Bread: This can be used in place of a plain warm compress. Dip a slice of bread in warm milk and apply it on the under arms to open up the pores and bring the ingrowth to the surface.
  4. Salt: Dabbing the area around the ingrown hair bump with a salt concentration exfoliates it. Rubbing it also increases blood circulation which cleanses the skin.
  5. Black Tea Bags: Tea contains tannic acid which has healing properties. It helps to reduce ingrown hair symptoms such as redness and inflammation. Steep tea and hold the wet but not dripping tea bag on your underarms for about 15 minutes. You could also use a cotton ball to apply warm tea on the area and leave it on without rinsing.
  6. Cucumber Slices: These will offer the much sorted after relief from pain and inflammation. Slice a cucumber and place the slices in the refrigerator. Gently rub them on the armpits to get relief from associated discomfort.



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