How do you treat an ingrown hair on your labia?

Someone please help me! I noticed some red bumps on my vagina and thought that I may have contracted some sort of STD, but now I am thinking it might be an ingrown hair from shaving. Are there any recommendations on how to treat ingrown hairs? It is not attractive.


F, 31, Iowa

Tags:woman age 25-34 genitalia labia minora bumps red treatment ingrown hair

Ingrown hairs in the pubic area can be easily treated with home remedies or prescription medications available from your doctor. One of the most effective treatments is to gently wash and exfoliate the affected area and surrounding small red bumps with a warm, clean washcloth. You then use a sterile cotton ball to gently apply benzoyl peroxide cream, which helps to reduce dead skin cells and inflammation.

Once the hair emerges above the skin, use sterile tweezers to gently remove it. Avoid plucking it until the area has completely healed, and avoid digging into the skin or you may cause an infection. Infected ingrown hairs are usually surrounded by pus-filled bumps and inflammation.

If your ingrown hair is painful or has become infected, you may need to take stronger measures. Seek medical advice from your healthcare professional.  He or she may prescribe an antibiotic ointment -- or even an oral antibiotic -- to help clear up the area. In some cases, a large painful cyst that looks like an ingrown hair may actually be a vaginal boil. These occur when a hair follicle is impacted and infection arises. Vaginal boils require medical attention because the infection is commonly caused by the staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

Ingrown hairs are unpleasant and unsightly, particularly when they occur around the pubic region. Ingrown hairs are fairly common and arise when pubic hair grows back into the skin instead of up to the surface.

Ingrown hairs can be itchy and are commonly accompanied by small round bumps called papules, or pus-filled bumps called pustules. These symptoms occur because the body responds to the hair as though it were a foreign object.

With respect to treatment, ingrown hairs generally clear up on the own. Keep the area clean and avoid picking or squeezing these bumps or you’ll risk spreading the infection.

If you’d like to speed up the recovery process, or should the hair not start growing through the skin, try one or more of the following measures.

  • Apply a warm compress to the ingrown hair to soften the skin and open the pores, encouraging the hair to grow out.
  • Cease hair removal until the ingrown hair has gone away, as waxing, shaving or tweezing in the area could increase discomfort and even lead to a skin infection.
  • Try a retinoid cream such as tretinoin. These speed up the cellular exfoliation process and can bring the hair to the surface faster. You will need a prescription from your doctor, however.