About a week ago, I shaved my pubic hair to the skin, on a whim — which was not a great idea. I’ve done it several times before, but mostly just trim things, as I got pretty bad ingrown hairs. This time I got a pretty close shave and thought I’d done well, but ingrown-wise, things didn’t turn out so well. (Fair warning: the specifics of this are rather gross. Background: 18 years old, currently in college, FAAB, no STIs.)

I have issues with skin-picking, especially at anything resembling a blemish or an ingrown hair, and so I’ve been trying to fish out the ingrown hairs, either scratching and digging with (clean) hands or with tweezers. (The ingrowns are only on the mons pubis, there’s none on my labia.) For the most part I’ve been successful, and nothing hurts/is swollen or blemishy. But there’s a few spots where things are slightly swollen/puffy, like “lurking” acne, and painful when touched. (I get what I think might be cystic acne on my face, where it gets swollen and pink on the surface but the actual, er, contents of the blemish is buried deep under the surface. One of them still visibly has a hair trapped under the skin, and when I’ve pressed on the other swollen spots, something like pus came out. (It was the same color as what comes out of a blemish on my face, no greenish color or discoloration, but still seemed a little worrying. I’m really worried about stuff like MRSA, being at college, but that seems unlikely, I have no fever and no other symptoms besides this.) I’ve tried to keep everything clean, wear cotton underwear, etc. and have cleaned the area with soap, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol. (As a recovering self-harmer, I had a lot of fear of infections, and my ability to actually take care of minor wounds and keep them clean is kind of primitive. But I still really worry.)

Is this an infection I should seek help for or just an unfortunate side effect of ingrown hairs in general? And I know I should probably quit picking at it, and I’ll try. Definitely not doing that again.

Tagged with →  

11 Responses to Ingrown hair question

  1. Knuora says:

    1. As tempting as it might be, you really should not be scraping/poking at your blemishes with tweezers or anything else. Unfortunately, no matter how clean you think your utensils are, they are never going to be entirely sterile enough to warrant digging around in an open would with. Ultimately it is up to you, but I personally would not do it.

    2. It does sound like you have cystic acne. I used to have this, and it is more often than not caused by hormones. Do not pick at it, it makes it worse. I know you’re going crazy trying to get that stuff out, but it’s not going anywhere. Talk to a dermatologist or your GP if you want to make it go away.

    3. It sounds like you’ve just got an infected cyst/nodule/ingrown hair. This DOES happen with ingrown hairs, but if you are picking and scraping at it, you are making it worse. You’re just introducing more bacteria to it. If it is oozing pus when squeezed, you might want to go to a doctor or esthetician and get it lanced. That way the pus will be drained correctly/sanitarily, and that ingrown hair can be taken out so the wound can heal.

    Good luck.

  2. Nahro says:

    I agree with teapunk’s response. I’ve always had problems with cysts developing on my vulva. It only happens occasionally now, but it was especially noticeable when I was younger. For me, it was quite evidently hormonal, but regardless of its cause, it is best to avoid picking whenever you can. (Even though it can be REALLY difficult to resist trying to “fix it” yourself. lol I can relate.)

  3. AsuNo says:

    I have many of the same issues – picking, self-harm, and I always shave there. I feel comfortable assuring you that what you’re describing is 100% normal and not a cause for worry. For me it’s almost a weekly occurrence (ooziness included), and has been for years. If I leave the in-grown places alone, they heal fine within a week or less.

    If anything is discolored (not white or clear), if the wound becomes large or surrounded by redness, or if you develop a fever, then it would be a good idea to see a doctor. In the meantime, try placing your tweezers in a less accessible spot (somewhere you wouldn’t just be able to reach while bathing/nude) and perhaps trimming your nails. I find it easier to avoid compulsive behaviors when the tools are a little less available.

  4. OblFriut says:

    I have a bit of a compulsion to pick, squeeze, cajole blemishes on my skin and can appreciate what that is like. My partner is also a ‘groomer’ but is less inclined to gouge or poke, but I will show no mercy to blemishes.

    my advice is that if it looks REALLY ugly (open, raw) leave it alone. Cover it so that you don’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind. Also. If it’s not touching your clothes or anything else it is much less likely to get infected.

    If you really must poke at something, go to the pharmacy and pick up a pack of insulin needles. they cost about 4-5 dollars and these should be sterile until you use them, and be sure to clean off surface bacteria first, too.

    If something is larger than say, a large marble, get it looked at by a doctor. Really.

  5. OblFriut says:

    I just wanted to add that Dairy seems to make my cystic acne MUCH worse, along with refined, junky foods.

  6. HarFru says:

    I’m a compulsive skin picker as well, and I’ve had several ingrown hairs get to the point that you’ve described, in the exact same way. It sucks, I know. You just want to get that darn hair out! Honestly, the best thing to do is what you’ve been doing – keep it clean, and hands off [hardest part, I know]! It will deflate and de-pus itself soon. You’ll probably end up with a mark or scar; that too will fade with time.

  7. Sssne says:

    One thing that I’ve done on anything that looks like it could be a pus-filled situation, or is infected, is dilute some tincture of iodine and use a q-tip to apply it directly. It does stain the skin, but I find it gentle enough to use on sensitive skin, and it’s transdermal so it can get below the skin at any little pockets of infection. I probably wouldn’t recommend this for your face, but as long as it’s used externally you should be fine.

    I’ve used iodine during extreme tonsillitis, where my tonsils were literally completely white masses in the back of my throat from pus. I put iodine on a q-tip and put it inside my mouth onto my tonsils, and each day the affected area decreased exponentially. I swear by iodine for anything infected, haha!

    Best of luck, I can’t imagine you’re very comfortable right now, so hang in there!

    Edit: I also want to mention, for legitimacy’s sake, that this was recommended to me by a pharmacist.

  8. Koody says:

    I hadn’t thought of iodine before, but that sounds like an amazing idea. Hydrogen peroxide is my go-to because of the foaming, but iodine working below the skin sounds amazing. (Is it safe to use on wider areas, do you know? Not like, an entire leg, but on the whole area affected with ingrowns.)

  9. Sssne says:

    I work at a gymnastics center, and occasionally have issues with ringworm patches (it also seems to be a genetic predisposition, as my mother often had small outbreaks as I do between the ages of 13-25) and I’ve used various methods to broadly treat areas. While the physical evidence of the fungus shows in a flaky circle with an inch in diameter, I often cover around it as well in case any fungus is lingering. I’ve used hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar, dilutions of bleach (it was on my arm, and was a 1/10 solution, but I reeeally wouldn’t recommend that. I’m a very scientific person but my family has had fungal issues, so I tend to be very…extreme in my treatment options, mostly out of fear) and iodine. You’re welcome to use it broadly, I tend to use the pure tincture instead of watering it down and I’ve never experienced any problems. If you’re appalled by the colour, I might suggest using hydrogen peroxide after, as I found it tends to lessen the stain.

    You should be able to pick up a small bottle that honestly lasts forever at just about any drugstore, I’ve even seen them in walmarts 🙂

  10. Nobeeva says:

    Iodine is amazing! My housemate used it on her face as well, but the colour doesn’t last very long on skin and if it’s bedtime, you’re not going out anyway. Cream lifts off the colour if it’s still there come morning. You can use it on large areas as well, but I would wear an old set of underwear to keep it all on your mons pubis at night and off your sheet! It doesn’t come off sheets easily!

  11. Sssne says:

    100% agree about the old underwear. Break out those granny panties, cause iodine stains ridiculously!

Leave a Reply