Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How long can ingrown hairs last?"
I used to grow out my beard, but ever since I started shaving, I've had a problem with ingrown hairs. A few of them, on the underside of my chin, have been bothering me for nearly two weeks. How long can an ingrown hair last? Should I see a doctor?
Ingrown hairs can be quite annoying. While they typically do not stick around for a long time, they can easily re-occur in areas of skin that you are regularly irritating (in this case shaving). This is an issue that you could bring up with your primary care physician. He or she will be able to take a more detailed history and examine you rule out anything other possible skin condition. Ingrown hairs are actually tiny skin abscess. Basically, the hair follicles that are shaved can get plugged up with oil, dirt etc, and bacteria find this enclosed space a haven to grow. Usually your skin passes the infection in a matter of days to weeks, but they can come back. The simplest thing you could try is to switch methods of shaving. If you are using a razor, try out an electric shaver and vise-versa. Everyone's skin is a little different and yours might be sensitive to your method of shaving. If you have recently started using a new shaving cream, soap, shampoo, or lotion, I would switch back to what you were using before. You should always have a primary care physician you see for health care maintenance and if you don't have one right now you can use this as an excuse to find one. Good luck.
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