Ingrown hair

Medical Specialties: Dermatology, Family practice

Clinical Definition

An ingrown hair occurs when a hair does not follow the normal follicle channel and instead grows at an abnormal angle turning back towards the skin. This abnormal pattern causes the hair to penetrate the skin and leads to inflammation and possibly suppuration. 

In Our Own Words

An ingrown hair is a common condition that develops when a hair turns back into the skin. The normal pattern of hair growth is outwards. When an ingrown hair occurs the hair curls back or sideways and grows back into the skin. The condition is not serious, but can lead to skin inflammation and a possibility of pus formation. An ingrown hair can occur anywhere on the body where there is hair, but is most common on the beard area. 

Relevant Conditions
  • Folliculitis
  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae
Side Effects
  • Skin redness
  • Pus formation
  • Localized pain
  • Skin inflammation
Share this article
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. "Ingrown Hairs." Accessed October 2013.
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital. "Ingrown Hairs." Accessed October 17, 2013.
  • University of Rochester Medical Center. "How to Treat and Prevent Ingrown Hairs." Accessed October 2013.
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