ZocdocAnswersHow do I remove an ingrown hair?

Question

How do I remove an ingrown hair?

I have a terrible ingrown hair on my leg that is getting bigger and hurting worse everyday. I don't know what to do! How do I remove it safely? Do I have to have a doctor do it at this point?

Answer

I would definitely go to see your doctor at this point. It sounds like the issue might be getting out of control and probably needs expert evaluation. As you know, an ingrown hair occurs when a hair curls around on itself and grows back down into the hair follicle. Ingrown hairs can be painful and unsightly, but they rarely get to the point that they are as big and dramatic as what it sounds like you are describing. Therefore, I would be concerned that the ingrown hair has served as a point of entry for some bacteria and that you now have an infection of the skin at the site of the ingrown hair. Sometimes these infections, if minor, can be treated with topical antimicrobial ointments, however they often do require oral prescription antibiotics, especially if the area of redness and warmth around the ingrown hair is spreading. Also, sometimes, there can be a collection of pus underneath of the ingrown hair, and this may need to be opened up and drained in order to promote healing. Start by making an appointment as soon as you possibly can with your primary care doctor, who should be able to help you out!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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