Ingrown Armpit Hair Causes, Symptom and Removal

In summary, this article covers what causes ingrown hair in armpits and suggests the best remedies, prevention, and removal ways. Also, learn to tell a cyst from a bump on the underarm.

This problem can be painful and the bumps or lumps that they come with them are unsightly. If you get severe or it becomes badly infected, you may end up with scarring after it is removed.

You will find below information to help you can remove them at home. But first a little on how to recognize it by its symptoms, and causes.


If you regularly shave or wax your armpits, then a lump or bump in your underarm is most likely ingrown hair. There are times when it could be a cyst, or in rare cases a sign of something far more serious. Just for your information, here is a picture of what these bumps look like in the armpit.

Cause and symptoms

It occurs when hair which typically grows outward from the follicle grows inwards into the skin. This causes irritation to the skin and causes the skin to form bumps, lumps, or pustules when either the skin around the hair is infected or when the whole follicle is infected.

This condition of fluid-filled bumps caused by a hair being trapped under the skin is known as pseudofolliculitis in medical terms. Pseudofolliculitis basically means, it is not exactly folliculitis but has similar symptoms.

It can occur in different parts of the body as we have active follicles everywhere. But most people complain of them in the groin or pubic area, armpits, legs, and face. They may also go under different names, like razor bumps, that often occur in men who shave their facial hairs. In women, they occur in the armpits and bikini area often.

While they may show up in different parts of the body, ingrown hairs have more or less the same causes. But we are focusing on those on the armpits in this article so we will try stick to that.

Common Causes

The following could cause of them forming in your armpits.

1. Shaving and other hair removal methods.

Shaving against the direction of natural hair growth could cause the new growing one to turn inwards and get caught under the skin becoming ingrown. Using blunt or old razors is also suspect in causing hair to lose the natural direction when growing back and becoming ingrown. Shaving too closely could also cause this problem.

Using tough removal methods like waxing which rips out the hair from the root may also cause the new one that regrows to change direction. If this happens, you will end up with this problem.

If you are not using an aftershave or a good ingrown hair serum, you may also experience the bumps that may last a few days or even longer after shaving That’s why we recommend using an Exfoliating Brush to Treat and Prevent Razor Bumps and Ingrown Hairs.

2. Having curly hair

You can be genetically predisposed to getting this issue in your underarm if you have natural hair. This is how Latinos and people of Afro Caribbean descent get this issue more often than people with straighter hair types. The more tightly curled it is, the more likely you are to get in growing ones in your armpits after shaving.

Before you feel all lucky and privileged if you do not have curly hair, just know there are exceptions and also other causes that are more inclusive.

3. Clogged Pores

If your pores, through where the new hair grows out of through clogged, it may turn inwards and grow either inward or horizontally become painful and ingrown. Dirt and sebum build up in the pores could cause the pore blockage. Makeup and some cosmetic products could also clog your pores.

Tight clothing and scratching may also cause the hair on your armpits to it grow.


How do you know you have ingrown armpit hair? Sometimes this problem or pseudofolliculitis will give you give you large bumps or pimples with an abscess.

Other times you will just see a rash in the affected area. You may notice it as a dark spot in a pimple if you have dark hair. If the area around is infected, one is likely to see some liquid inside the lump, making it appear white or yellow or red much like an acne zit.

Sometimes it will leave you with a hard lump, what some refer to as an ingrown hair cyst. More often than not these bumps are painful to touch and may also cause painful swollen lymph nodes in the armpit.

You may also feel some itching, or tingle at the point where the hair is growing into your skin as opposed to out of. The swelling or bumps are one of the most common signs though.

Removing – extraction at home and other remedies.

You can remove an ingrowing armpit hair and give yourself some relief. Basically, if the offending strand is removed, or dislodged from under the skin, the other discomfort that comes with it namely the pain itching and pus formation dramatically reduces or goes away completely. This is if there was no infection in which case the area might take a little longer to heal.

Sometimes, the infection might develop after the hair has been extracted, in the part of the skin that has been broken into. But this can be avoided by taking good care of the area you have removed it in your armpits and using sterile tools.

While it is perfectly safe to pull out it with a pair of tweezers or a sterilized needle, it is not advisable to dig into your skin to remove deep ingrown hairs in your armpit.

You may need to see a doctor in severe cases, especially if it is getting infected. Also if it is buried very deep into the skin, minor surgery, may be the only treatment for your ingrown armpit hair. A doctor may also recommend some anti-bacterial, or antibiotic treatment, topical and oral if a serious infection is involved.

With hair you can see the tip, or at least which you do not have to dig into your skin to get to, you can try removing it at home.

How to remove it

In some cases, the best solution for ingrown armpit hair is actually no solution. It should be left alone will sometimes self-dislodge and heal on their own.  If it bothering you though, you can get rid of that bothersome ingrown hair bump with this easy method.

Wash your armpits and apply a warm compress to the affected parts.

The best way to remove it would be to nudge the loop or tip if it is visible avoiding excising to the swollen skin around. Disinfect a pair of sharp tweezers or needle with rubbing alcohol and use this instrument to gently ease it out from the bump in your armpit.

You can apply an antibiotic cream to prevent infection or use a disinfectant diluted in water.

Also if itching from it is what is driving you crazy, a hydrocortisone cream may give you relief.

In case you remove it and it leaves a hole that takes long to or won’t heal, please see a doctor.

Home remedies

Actually, most remedies that will help get rid of ingrown hair anywhere else on your body will also work for your armpit. Most times though, you will still need to remove it eventually. There are several ways you can alleviate the symptoms that come with it naturally.

Home Remedy Hack has some remedies worth knowing about next time you get one in the armpit. Applying a piece of bread soaked in warm milk over the bump is one of the home remedies known to bring the tip or loop of the ingrowing hair closer to the surface. You can then safely dislodge the hair as instructed above.

We Also Recommend Using Ingrown Hair Treatment by Penchant Bare with Anti-fungal Antibacterial Benefits.


Prevention may not be better than a cure if this problem is making your armpit feel like it is on fire. Still, since hair removal, especially for females and particularly for armpits is something we are not willing to give up, here a few tips to prevent that nasty ingrown armpit hair, bump or lump from forming in the first place.

1. Use chemical depilatory methods.

Depilation is hair removal in fancy speak. Depilatory products are your ordinary removal methods. This method suggests using chemical hair removal products and avoiding shaving or waxing your underarms. These products may be creams like Nair and are known to leave a more rounded, blunter tip on hair such that it is less likely to grow back into the skin.

You can also consider laser hair removal options for your armpits as a way of avoiding bumps in the underarms from an ingrown hair. It is not exactly chemical but with it, you give a wide berth to hair growing inwards.

2. Learn to shave smarter

You may not be willing or able to give up shaving. Actually, you may not need to if you do it the right way. For one, shave with a sharp razor in the direction your armpit hair is growing in, never the opposite. You should also lather and wet the armpits properly before applying a razor.

3. Avoid comedogenic products

These are cosmetic products that tend to cause clogging or blocking of the pores. Getting rid of these in your beauty regimen will allow new hair to grow out of your pores freely.