Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is this an infection?"
I have ingrown hairs periodically in my armpits because I shave them. They usually go away on their own pretty quickly, but this one in particular turned black, and pus is coming out of it, and several little hairs. Should I put antibiotic on this? What is happening to me?
It sounds like you may have developed a small abscess (an enclosed infection). This occasionally can happen in areas of skin which are prone to in-grown hair development. In-grown hairs are actually small pockets of infection that have developed in a blocked hair follicle. If the infection does not clear on its own, then the pocket of infection can grow into an abscess. Putting antibiotic ointment on this probably won't hurt, but it may not help either, especially if the infection becomes walled off. Abscesses in this area often require surgical drainage if they become big enough and if they do not go away on their own. without the abscess opening up, all the antibiotics in the world will not help. Most of the time, this type of infection is easily taken care of inside a primary care physician's office (family doctor or internal medicine doctor). Thus, you should probably schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. In the mean time, it probably won't hurt to place a warm compress on the area to keep it draining. This is what is needed in the end for it to heal. I hope you get this cleared up very soon.
Need more info?See an internist today
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.