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jill , 31 Mar 2009

Ingrown hairs

My problem is ingrown hairs on my chin. I am a 40 year old female and have had this problem since I had my first and only child. When I get the ingrown hair it begins with a red bump and then gets infected with pus. It will not go away until I extract the hair, then it will heal in a day or two. It is so frustrating because I can see the hair but can grab it with tweezers so it becomes a mission it get it out. I have to use a needle and get behind the hair. It is incased in a clear gel like capsule which "pops out" when I get behind it. Does this sound familar to anyone? My chin is so scarred from the years of picking. No matter how hard I try to leave it alone, the pain and itching is too much to resist, especially when I know that it will go away once the hair is removed. I have been to dermatologists who give me retinol products, but this has never worked. I have discontinued birth control thinking the hormones may cause the coarse hairs, but never seems to affect it. I have been using an exfoliating scrub which has help a lot. But what do we do to heal the years of scars? Anyone tried scar revision treatments? I assume that it won't do any good until I figure out how to eliminate the ingrown hairs or stop picking at them. Hope to hear from someone with the same experience.
35 Answers
April 07, 2009
Unfortunately, I have similar experiences. The hair, in my opinion, is literally the root of the problem. I wish I could afford electrolysis. I think about it on a daily basis. Every blemish that I get has a hair in it somewhere. I've read about it, but I think what happens is that if the hair never fully reaches the surface it grows inside/under the skin, hence the term ingrown hair which causes an infectious and obstruse inflammation. I'm Italian and I have blond hair (in excess, it seems), and I think the problem only persists on my face, probably because I have bad skin. I'm constantly tweezing my chin area, and though I don't want to embelish, I can relate to your experiences. My "picking" always consists of tweezing the blemish to rid of all hair because I believe it is the result of the blemish to begin with. Maybe this is all just a part of having OCD. The thing is, I wouldn't mind the hair if it didn't result in a blemish. I find that it won't heal until the hair is removed. In any case, it really bothers me too. Once I get the electrolysis, which is hopefully sooner than later, I will let you know the condition.
April 07, 2009

In reply to by AlmostThere

I had electrolysis about three years ago all over. It was good for about a year. But i never had much success on my chin. I had about five treatments and I think the key is to continue with the treatments a couple of times a year but I can't afford to do it. I agree with you that the blemish will not heal until the hair is removed. I can have a wound for weeks and as soon as the hair is extracted it will heal in a day or two. I have had more luck by using a gritty scrub. But the problem remains, but not as bad. I have tried every ingrown hair product available. Unfortunately, i am not in my forties and occasionally get a grey ingrown hair which is twice and coarse but impossible to see! Please let me know if you have any suggestions and good luck with the electolysis!
May 02, 2009

In reply to by jill

I mostly pick my face and a certain area of my back, with some scalp picking. I used to have a problem with seborrhea and acne, made many times worse by the picking. For many years, the only thing that helped the seborrhea was prescription ketoconazole shampoo (Nizoral), but over time I noticed that the shampoo aggravated the acne, and also sometimes caused acne on my scalp, which would inevitably trigger digging with my fingernails until I could get the "stuff" out and make the bump flat. Once I had an open sore, the irritation, inflammation, and itching would subside (replaced with pain, which was preferable). Then it would be weeks before the sore would heal, because of the picking at the resulting scab. On my face, I've never really had bad acne (I'm 49 and still have it), but it always looked like I did, because of the constant semi-conscious scanning of the face with my fingers for perceived imperfections, and this need to extract the gunk from inside my pores. A couple of decades ago, some retin-A gel helped, and I tried retin-A again more recently and developed a sensitivity to it. Finally, in desperation, I saw a dermatologist, who prescribed a sodium sulfacetamide lotion (Klaron lotion). Sodium sulfacetamide is a sulfa antibiotic that is also effective against the yeast that are associated with seborrhea. That, plus showering more frequently, has dramatically improved both the seborrhea and the acne, and secondarily, the face and scalp picking. I still scan and still pick, but I don't get the big craters any more (for the most part), because the comedones (pre-pimples) are much smaller and fewer, and they are less inflamed so the sebum comes out more easily. As to electrolysis - I would occasionally get one or two thick black hairs on my chin that I would pluck with my fingernails, for many years. This last year, they started increasing in number, and I've started getting electrolysis to get rid of them. I've had a half dozen 15-minute treatments so far. There's one spot (I think it might actually be a mole) where there always seems to be another hair waiting in the wings. Sometimes these ingrow, and about 50% of the time my electrologist is working through picked skin to get to the hair. For a while is seemed that 2-4 weeks after every treatment there would be a new piece of stubble getting expelled from a treated follicle, or a new hair growing in, either one of which would provide a focus for picking. I'd dab a little bit of retin-A (I still have some) to increase skin turnover (aka peeling) and try to expose the hair so it would be less irritating, but it really didn't help. I am finally finding less and less to pick at there - the thick, dark, irritating hairs are coming in less frequently and less thick. It seems, though, like there are more of the long, fine hairs in a patch surrounding my trouble spot. I don't know if this is real, or if I'm just noticing these hairs now because my attention is focused on the area. Rebeccah
April 07, 2009
Jill, I have the exact same problem that you have described. I have experienced it since I began to go through menopause at the age of 50 and I'm still fighting it. I get ingrown hairs on my chin and legs. My legs, arms and torso are a mess. I haven't been able to wear short sleeves or tank tops for going on 4 years now. I don't even like to go out anymore. And I live in FLORIDA for godssake! I'm tired of coming up with excuses for why I always wear long sleeves and pants. It is so embarrassing and depressing. I went to a dermatologist at the Mayo clinic last year and you know what he said? "Just stop doing it!" Thanks a lot Doc, that's a big help. I just made an appt. with another dermatologist, but this time I'm going armed with documentation I found on the Internet regarding compulsive skin picking. All the research shows that this type of behavior responds well to a combination of OCD drugs and behavioral therapy. Please read everything you can Jill, it will help you make a decision on how to deal with your own case. I wish you all the best! Deb
April 15, 2009
Hi Jill - I also had ingrown hairs on my chin and would pick at them to get them out. After many, many years, I did find something that worked! The minute that I would notice any redness on my chin, I would rub in a little Tea Tree Oil. I would do this several times a day and it really worked. The other thing that (I think) helped was that I started using a lotion under my makeup that contained grapeseed extract. The one I used was from The Body Shop (they also sell Tea Tree Oil). After starting this routine of the grapeseed extract lotion and the Tea Tree Oil I have completely stopped getting ingrown hairs on my chin. I hope it works for everyone else that has this problem. I don't know why it works, but it does!!
hella kitty
May 07, 2009
My boyfriend wants me to keep a full brazilian, and I'm a compulsive picker. Not a great combo. I've struggled with this for three years. It seems like when you pull the hair out, the pore weeps a little or something which makes a little scab, kind of, under the surface and when the new hair wants to push through the skin, it can't because the pore is clogged by something harder than the skin would normally be so the hair grows in, the pore gets irritated, becomes enlarged and inflamed and it takes minor surgery to extract the hair. By then, there is blood and that makes a larger scab and the next hair has an even harder time getting out and on and on forever until the skin is really damaged and thickened and the ingrown problem is even worse. I feel wretched about it, but I can't stop picking. I do it after work or school as some bizarre self-calming ritual even though it really hurts and I'm always upset with myself after. Because I am spending all this time hunched over, I frequently get neck and back pain as a result, so I have to regulate how much I let myself pick so I don't hurt myself too much for the next day's work/school/pick cycle. Anyway, I keep hoping to stop and I find that it has a cyclic quality in that PMS makes me do it more and then I do it less until the next PMS. What;s bizarre is that I am really health conscious and don't want to engage in unhealthy behaviors, but I just can't quit it. I tried TendSkin for awhile (mostly salicylic acid). I works pretty good because it thins the skin. If I used it too intensively, my skin would start to just peel away in layers. I stopped because I got to thinking how caustic it is and became afraid I would get cancer from using it (I had to use gloves to apply it because it would take off my nail polish otherwise). I just found out that salirlic acid is what aspirin is made of so now I don't know what to think. I still use it sometimes but try to just dab the affected pore rather than swabbing on my entire bikini area. Luckily, the problem is limited to the front part of my bikini area. The skin around my vaginal area must be less thick because the hairs come in OK there. After some searching, I discovered lemon juice. Now what I do is use a cotton pad to apply lemon juice every night before sleep. I buy bottles of it already squeezed rather than doing it myself. You can find info on this on the internet. It is working to make my skin softer and also reduce the redness and inflammation of irritated pores. At present, I only have 3 pick sites down from what had been over 20 probably. It stings but only for a minute. I have also been using it on my face and have found that my tone is more even and my skin looks younger. I pick my face, too, but usually only get a couple pimples each month. It's embarrassing and isolating and I feel really sad that there is this "other person" inside of me who lives by their own rules and won't let me be who I want to be. I worry about the craziest things like squishing my internal organs with all the time spent in such bad posture or that if I don't get the hair out it will fester in there and become some weird growth. It's irrational, but I'm always wondering what's going on in there, where I can't see. I convince myself there's a hair and I have to get it and I spend all this time excavating which makes the skin worse and the ingrown hairs continue on their vicious cycle. I hope something helps us all. It felt good just to confide in the ether. I'm crying now.
May 07, 2009

In reply to by hella kitty

Thanks for the comment. It does help to know we're not alone. I have actually have not picked in over a month so I want to share what I have been doing and maybe it will you as well. I have been using the St Ives apricot scrub. At first, I was scrubbing really hard trying to give myself an "at home" chemical peel, and I rubbed my skin raw. So I have lightened up on the intensity! But I have really noticed a difference. I also use it on my bikini area and I never get ingrown hairs there. I think the reason my chin is such a problem is because the scarred skin is too thick for the hair to break through the skin. But the scrub is reallyn helping. As long as it doesn't get infected, I don't have a tendency to pick. Its when I get that red bump that triggers my picking. The other thing I found was a tweezer case with a magnified mirror on it. Its rectangle in shape about four inches by two inches and I bought it at Walgreens. And it really magnifies! So much that I can see the hair much better and can grab it with the tweezers and not have to dig for it. I stand over a bright light too. I guess a makeup mirror would do the same, but I've never bought one in fear of sitting in front of it and picking for hours. The scrub is really what is making the biggest difference for me. I have even thought of taking pictures of my chin after having a "pickfest" and keeping it taped to the mirrors. I know it sounds gross and embarrassing to have the pictures out so everyone could see them, so I have not resorted to this measure. But i think if I get back into my picking stage, I am going to try it. Hope this helps. Keep me posted!
August 18, 2009

In reply to by hella kitty

Wow, you're describing the whole thing so well! I have almost exactly the same experience. What struck me though, was the first words: "My boyfriend wants me to keep a full brazilian". That is CRUEL! No wonder you have caught this horrible disease! As I wrote in another post, I have been going on with this kind of picking for ten years, but only because of myself, haven't ever tried a brazilian and no boyfriend has asked me to do it. I am so sorry to critisize your boyfriend. It's just that it feels so impossible for me to stop, so I can't even imagine how hard it would be in your situation. But then, I am probably a thousand times more whacky than you. :) Good luck, and love!
October 20, 2010

In reply to by hella kitty

I have the same problem! The things we do for boys. Ugh. I think that what I'm going to do is just come out and tell a doctor or a dermatoligist that I have a compulsive picking problem (Because it is a real health issue and with meds it can be stopped) and then work my way into revealing my vaginal area picking. Trying at home things like honey and certain body washes helps a little, but it won't really stop and the scarring won't go away unless something real is prescribed. I'm trying to build up the confidence to tell my mom (im in highschool :( so that I can go to the doctors, and I think this would be good for you to do too. I had no idea other people also had this problem and I don't want yours to get really bad so that theres irreversable scarring, because I think thats the case with me. I'm gonna try telling someone and getting a prescription for it, and I'll tell you how it works out because I know I need some help and I want to help you! Its so depressing but it will get better dont cryyyyyy! best of luck and keep me updated if u find anything PLEASE! I'll post stuff if I find anything too because its freakin scary and we all need some support!
May 12, 2009
My problem is almost entirely to do with ingrown hairs, too. Not on my chin, but on my shins. I don't remember when this started-- I wish I could, so that maybe it would help make sense of it. But what I know is that there is nothing more satisfying--more like a glorious exhale--than seeing one of those little suckers curled up and trapped, and releasing it. Sick, I know. But something about removing something trapped like that feels, I don't know, productive or something. I have a shrink who explained picking to me more in the context of eating disorders than OCD. Basically, this is a behavior that was started to "fix" something that is wrong with one's appearance. The act of "fixing" causes further damage, and soon there's a vicious cycle of shame and repetition and hiding that takes on a life of its own. I KNOW that I started this to "fix" the ingrown hairs. I think about electrolysis a lot, but then I wonder, is it really the hair? The compulsion would still be there, right? Wouldn't I just find something else to mess with? I am horribly scarred. I try every day. EVERY DAY. I can't imagine what success even looks like.
October 21, 2010

In reply to by Tweezer

Defintely not SICK... I get the same weird satisfaction from somthing coming out... I pick it first and get the pus out, and even take tweezers to it afterwards to get the hair out... feel great with both accomplishments.... seems bizarre to me also, even tho i cant stop and even tho i feel like im messing myself up, i really cant stop ~Tanya~
December 24, 2011

In reply to by misstanya

you should not...i had three bumps on my left cheek once and i used tweezers to dig my skin and now i am left with 3- 4mm long ugly looking pits on my face... just avoid plucking it with a tweezer ..use a me tweezers devastated my life...
August 13, 2009
Shaving too closely is one of the triggers for razor bumps. Hair stubs cut too closely will get trapped inside the hair follicle and dig inward or sideways. pentru caderea parului
October 20, 2010
Once I started going through puberty, i got acne. By the time I was in seventh grade I had picked at my face, back, and chest so much that i could tell I was going to have scarring but I just couldn't stop! I am now a freshman, and I have finally gotten my acne picking under control, but now I also have an ingrown hair problem like the rest of u guys. My boyfriend also likes me to keep a brazillion, but when i started doing that i noticed hairs just near the surface of my skin that would regularly turn into pimples- im a compulsive picker so it was like I just coudn't stop myself! If I saw anything that could be removed from my skin- even if I knew picking would damage it- I would pinch and squeeze at it until something came out. I would use a needle to get out the ingrown hairs which made me bleed. I would pop and pick until my skin was so inflamed it hurt and I would start crying because I felt guilty for doing that to myself. The entire time I'm thinking, who else does this to themselves? whats wrong with me? But now I see I'm not alone! Thank you Everyone! Ive looked stuff up on scarring since I'm positive I'm going to have scarring down there now. Ive been doing this for maybe half a year now and it's depressing thinking I could have avoided scarring and that it could be to late to fix it. I have stopped overly picking for about a month now and only pick maybe 1 spot every 2 days, but tonight I had a set back and went at it full zeal again. Just telling yourself there are gonna be bad consequences helps alot I think, once you look at how your love life or anything else could be destroyed in the future, it makes you take a step back. Ive heard that honey and olive oil applied to the affected area a few times a day helps the scarring if you don't want to go to a doctor about it. I have been trying this for 3 weeks and the inflamation has gone down as I stop picking, but I can tell now that there are scars. I think going to a dermatoligist about it could be the only way to reverse it, but its so embarrassing! I would have to tell my mom, and show the doctor and seriously its my vagina! I think this is the right choice but I don't know if I could face the embarrassment. It feels good just talking about it here but still. Judy
October 21, 2010
I have the same problem. I spend hours in front of the mirror my husband and kids get mad at me for wasting so much time. My husband always wants to know what I m doing. It is so embarrassing. I don't know what to do I can't afford laser hair removal I tried electrolysis once but stopped treatments. I dont go out anymore and I pretty much am alone all day I just wish I could get help.
December 05, 2011
Over the years I've had problems wth picking hair out ma face from my sideburns 2 my chin an all it would do is leave these dark scars which would make it look worse so now lately I've been useing a product called gigi facial hair removal that comes wth a calming balm you can find this at a sally's beauty store for about 8 bucks are so and 4 me personally works wonders 4 me also there is a product called salley vansen or husen Itz a brush on that u apply to the facial area that u can find at walgreens
December 05, 2011
Also for those dark areas "COCOA BUTTER" for which I've alwayz use I've find really lightens those dark scar areas. I use it everyday and before I go to bed and I read on here I've notice some ladies have problems wth the brazilla area honestly u might think im crazi,but I use nair yes nair n what areas I can't see my boyfreind lover assist apply let it sit for bout 5min r so n remove wth wet towel comes right off also if ur producing bumps down there 4 u pickers use this wash called phisoderm it works
January 19, 2012
I have what i believe 5 ingrown hairs on my arm and im tired of them being on my arm. I dont know for sure what exactly they are and i need some help
January 21, 2012
I have the same problem under my arms and bikini line. What works is products with salicylic acid in them - I use something called Tend Skin lotion which I buy on Amazon. It's incredibly strong so you have to be sure to rinse it off in the morning, and be very careful around your face, or if your skin is very broken or sensitive. It will seriously reduce your ingrowns (or get rid of them in my case) if you leave it on overnight. I SWEAR BY IT. Also, rigorous exfoliation also helps a lot.

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