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LeavesNoTrace's avatar

What should I do about this ingrown hair on my tummy?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5668points) May 10th, 2014

Ever since I’ve been an adolescent, I’ve been plagued by some gnarly black hairs on my lower abdomen. When I was about 18, I got the bright idea to shave them, which only made matters worse and caused ingrowns, redness, and horrible irritation. Plucking the hairs also resulted in even more ingrowns and scarring from digging around trying to free the little barb-like hairs that got caught under my skin.

Now, I’ve been going through laser hair removal and my lower abdomen is almost looking normal. Most of the hair follicles are ‘empty’ and the skin is looking much better. I know it’s going to continue to improve as I go through the treatments but this one ingrown hair I’ve had for about a year continues to annoy me.

It’s not infected or inflamed, it’s just a single strand of longish, black hair that I can see growing along right under the skin’s surface. If I really wanted to, I could probably dig it out with a needle but I don’t want to touch it and know better than to go picking my skin now. Could this eventually come out on its own? I’ve been exfoliating several times a week to bring it closer to the surface but I’m hoping it’s not all for nothing. Do I need to see a dermatologist to get it out for good? Anything that doesn’t leave a scar would be best.

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7 Answers

Judi's avatar

Who is doing your laser? What do they say?

JLeslie's avatar

I would just swab some alcohol on it and slice the skin a mini bit with a blade or use a needle as you suggested. Then put a little neosporin and a bandaid.

Is it where your trousers press against your skin?

If you do ever shave, make sure you shave with the direction of the hair, it doesn’t cut as close to the skin, but that micro amount above the skin will make ingrown hairs less likely.

Even with laser it’s difficult to get every single hair, so when you get down to very few hairs left you might want to do electrolysis that can really target the particular hair and it doesn’t matter what part of the growth cycle the hair is in.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@Judi I asked the technician last week and she said she would just “pluck it” but a few years ago I had a similar ingrown and the picking and prodding it took to extract it left me with a scar that looked even worse than if I’d just left it alone.

@JLeslie I’m definitely going to consider electrolysis if I see any extra hairs popping up in the next six months or so after my last scheduled treatment in June. I do shave my belly right before an laser appointment per the tech’s recommendation but I avoid it as a usual practice since it makes the hairs seem even more spiky and just leaves bumps and scars.

JLeslie's avatar

The hair seems more spiky, because the blunt cut from the razor makes them seem thicker. It’s part of the reason people believe the myth that shaving causes hair to grow back in thicker. If you pull them and they grow back they won’t seem as stiff, but then you run the risk of ingrown hairs being worse.

When you shave make sure the blade is very sharp, don’t keep blades too long.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@JLeslie I know that the hair doesn’t actually get thicker but it certainly seems to because of the bluntness and that plus the bumps and ingrowns are enough to make me want to avoid it.

Plucking for some reason seems to also make the hairs ‘angry’ and they come back with a vengeance and grow in at weird angles—causing even more ingrowns and irritation. I’m pretty sure that laser and electrolysis are going to be the only way for me to lick this problem for good.

In the meantime, do you think that exfoliation and time will finally bring that hair close enough to the surface that I can catch it without causing too much trauma to the surrounding skin?

Unbroken's avatar

Try Icthammol ointment it works well on splinters and tiny bits of dirt for me.

JLeslie's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace Like I said, I would cut the skin to release that hair. I’m not a doctor, it’s just what I would do making sure to do my best to protect from infection. As I mentioned before, shaving with a sharp blade and with the direction of the hair can help keep ingrown hairs to a minimum. If the hairs grow every which way it can be hard to shave with the growth of the hairs, since some are growing one direction and other in another. Another suggestion is to shave with the direction of the hair and do it before you go to sleep at night so the hair has a little time to grow without the pressure of clothing against the area. Some women have a lot of trouble with ingrown hairs at the panty line because they shave and then their underwear traps the growth of the hair with the elastic pressing right at the point where they shaved.

I am very happy with my laser treatment, and electrolysis especially is fabulous to truly permanently remove hair if the person doing the electrolysis has integrity. You should feel the needle, but not them removing the hairs. I only one time had a dishonest electrolysis session. She plucked a bunch, I never went back to her. The laser is great to greatly reduce hair growth in “large” areas. Doing only electrolysis in the bikini line or even the stomach is too long a process and too painful.

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