What are Ingrown Hairs?

Ingrown hair occurs when a hair that's been removed starts to grow back and curves into the skin. Shaving, tweezing or waxing can cause this to happen. In fact, roughly 60% of men and women will get an ingrown hair at some point in their their lives. An ingrown hair can cause tiny, swollen bumps on the skin that are inflamed and may hurt. Most ingrown hairs happen in the beard area on man and in the pubic region if the man trims and shaves his pubic region, balls and buttocks. The condition commonly affects men more than women.  It also affects more men Black men due to the thicker, coiled and curly hairs.

What are Skin Boils?

A boil is a type of skin infection and it is generally caused by the staph bacteria. While a boil is a deeper, more painful infection of a hair follicle. Both ingrown hair and boils can appear as swollen, red lumps, but boils may develop pus and become more severe and often painful. Boils form under the skin when bacteria infect and inflame one or more hair follicles. Boils start as red, tender lumps. These fill with pus, grow and can rupture and drain.

fingers squeezing a ingrown hair boil, urth

What is an Ingrown Hair Boil? 

An ingrown hair and a boil are two totally different conditions. A ingrown hair boil is a skin infection generally begins as an ingrown hair bump that is infected by the staph bacteria and then evolves into a boil. There is a slight difference in how they start and form but the results look the same, painful, pus filled bumps.

What Causes Ingrown Hair Boil?

Ingrown hair boils happens when staph infection around the trapped ingrown hair follicles spreads deeper and wider into the skin. Boils are typically bigger, infected, more painful and more severe that an ingrown hair. 

Most people who keep getting boils are likely carriers of Staphylococcus aureus (staph bacteria). This means they have staph bacteria living on their skin or inside their nose that was breathed in thru their surroundings. Poor hygiene – sweat and dead skin cells in natural creases and crevices, such as the armpits, crotch area provide a moist and hospitable home for staph bacteria. They can also be located any where in the body but often found in the waist area, pubic region, and buttocks as well.

Ingrown Hair Boil Prevention

Practice good hygiene and adopt a good skincare routine.  Clean and exfoliate your face and body regularly especially after exercise and sweat to prevent bacteria from accumulating anywhere on your body. Pay attention and take notice of painful bumps that may develop and take care of it before it spreads. 

How to Prevent Ingrown Hairs?

black man cleansing face to prevent ingrown hair boil
  • Cleanse your skin and neck to soften the facial hair. 
  • Exfoliate with a face scrub for men to purge dead surface skin cells 
  • Use a best men’s shave cream to soften hair and provide protective cushion between razor and the skin. We always recommend shaving after a warm shower so the facial or body hairs are soften and pores are open so you can get a closer and more comfortable shave. 
  • Use a clean sharp razor and sanitized with rubbing alcohol before shaving.
  • Finish off with an after shave for men with salicylic acid to sooth and minimize ingrown hair. If you're someone prone to razor bumps or ingrown hairs a salicylic acid post shave is key in keeping your bump free and minimizing ingrown hairs.  It is also good to use as a spot treatment the minute you notice a bump developing.
  • Finally keep an eye out red painful bumps that may be the first signs of an ingrown hair and take care of it immediately. 

Practice Good Manscaping

When grooming and shaving the body, first cleanse the body and then exfoliate all over especially focusing on the areas you're about to manscape. Always trim pubic hair or chest hairs short using an electric shaver with a guard before shaving the rest. Use an enriched shave cream and a sharp clean razor for each manscaping session to give you a smoother and closer shave.  Follow with an after shave for men with salicylic acid to minimizer bumps in the freshly manscaped area. 

How to Treat Ingrown Hair Boil?

  • Apply a warm compress to affected area. The warm compress will sooth the inflammation and soften the pus build up within the hair boil.  The ingrown hair boil could rupture and drain on its own. If not, do not force it as it will cause further inflammation, hyperpigmentation and scarring.
  • Ingrown hair boil that do not drain on its own may require a dermatologist to make a slight cut, drain the puss and then extract the trapped hair.
  • Oral antibiotics may be needed to treat the staph infection, keep it from spreading and eliminating it all together.  A staph infection left untreated can cause further complications and spread to other parts of your body.  


Practicing good hygiene and a good skincare routine for men can help maintain a clear complexion reducing the risks associated with an ingrown hair boil. urth has curated skin care kits for men to simplify men's skincare routine. These plant powered men’s skin care products are formulated with chamomile, green tea, ginseng and pure essential oils to cleanse, brighten, nourish skin and protect against signs of aging. Improved and better skin after every use. Perfect for all skin types - including men with sensitive, dry, combo, and oily skin.

References: John Hopkins Medicine “Folliculitis, Boils and Carbuncles

Cedar Sinai: Folliculitis, boils, and carbuncles.