What do hair bumps and ingrown hairs have in common?
Both can pop up anywhere on your body that you have hair, and both are unpleasant.
But there’s a difference in where they come from.
Hair bumps–also called “folliculitis”–happen when our fair follicles get infected. Bacteria, viruses, fungus, and even parasites can be to blame. Shaving can lead to folliculitis, but there are lots of other causes, too.
Ingrown hairs are different. They’re usually a result of shaving, tweezing or waxing. When the hair starts to grow back, instead of growing out straight, it turns backwards and starts growing into the hair shaft. Once the hair makes that u-turn and begins growing under the skin, it can produce what looks like a little blister, and it may itch or be painful.
Curly hair increases the risk for developing ingrown hairs. This makes sense, because if the hair curls, it’s easier for it to make a u-turn and head back into the hair follicle than if it were straight. As most of us know, shaving is a big cause of ingrown hairs.
Because when we shave–especially if we stretch our skin, looking to get a nice, close shave–the super-short hairs that our razors leave behind can sort of “spring back” into our skin. Then, when they start to grow, they curl backwards. Men’s beards and women’s bikini areas are really prone to ingrown hairs.
Here are a couple more differences between ingrown hairs and hair bumps:
Ingrown hairs grow beneath the skin, and you might even be able to see the hair curling in the middle of the little blister. Hair bumps often have a hair growing out from the center of each bump.
Also, while ingrown hairs can get infected, this doesn’t always happen.
But hair bumps are often caused by an infection. Since we have plenty of germs that normally live on our skin, there are plenty of possibilities for infection whenever our hair follicles are irritated.
What are some risk factors for getting hair bumps?