Ingrown hair on labia is an uncomfortable condition for a majority of women. Labia is a part of the female external organs that people commonly refer to as the vagina.
The proper reference for the whole area of the female external organs is the pudendum or vulva. The vulva comprises of several parts that include the clitoris, mons veneris, vestibule, perineum, and the Labia.
However, for this article, we will focus on the labia. The labia consists of two major parts the labia majora and the labia minora. Ingrown hair on the vulva is common in both the labia majora and minora. Normally, hair grows in the labia majora, but it can also develop in the labia minora.
Labia Minora (Inner Vaginal Lips):
The labia minora is responsible for the formation of the vulva’s inner lips. A mucous membrane lines the labia minora. The membrane’s surface uses a fluid that specialised cells secrete to keep it moist. There are no hair follicles present in the labia minora, but it has oil rick glands in plenty. The oil rick glands protect the urethra and vagina.
The glands also contain erectile tissues, and this ensures that there is a minimal presence of ingrown hair on labia minora.
Labia Majora (Outer Vaginal Lips):
The labia majora lies on the Vulva’s outer lips. The area is made of skin folds larger than the minora area, and they form longitudinal folds. The Labia Majora has plenty of fatty tissues. The hair follicles cover the skin area of the outer vaginal lips. The skin that covers the labia majora also covers the rest of the body.
The skin and the presence of hair follicles on the outer vaginal lips makes one have the ingrown hair on vaginal lips.
What exactly is an ingrown hair? Ingrown hair on labia occurs when pubic hair matures back into or under the skin. When an ingrown hair on labia develops, the first thing you notice is the appearance of small, round bumps.
These bumps are known as papules. When filed with pus they are known as pustules. Medically, ingrown hair on labia is a harmless condition, but it does cause discomfort.
Few people are at a higher risk of suffering from the ingrown hair on vaginal lips. For instance, people who have thick and curly hair develop ingrown hair on labia often than those with fine, thin hair.
Since pubic hair is coarse than the rest of the hair on the body, the condition tends to occur frequently.
Causes of Ingrown Hair on Labia:
Hair grows back when removed. Most hair shafts grow naturally through the skin; however, some grow under the skin or curl back inside the hair follicle. Here are some of the reasons behind development of ingrown hair on labia majora.
Clogged or blocked hair follicle:
Dead skin, body oils, and secretions accumulate and combine on the skin causing the hair follicle to block or clog. The blockage of the hair follicle constrains a growing hair shaft causing the ingrown hair on vaginal lips.
Clogged or blocked hair follicles on the vulva increase due to not exfoliating and hormonal changes.
Poor shaving practice:
For most people, ingrown hair on labia occurs after a shave. In fact, a majority of women have at one time experienced an ingrown hair resulting from hair removal.
Some of the hair removal techniques and practices encourage the appearance of ingrown hair on labia. Some of these practices include:
Failing to prepare for a shave:
Failing to clean the vulva before shaving encourages infections. The same thing applies to washing the vulva and not lubricating the area before a shave.
Pulling and tagging the hair:
Pulling of hair usually happens when shaving using a blunt shaving or shaving without using lubrication on the skin or the shaving equipment. As a result, the skin gets swollen and irritated and ends up causing the ingrown hair on labia.
Lack of an aftershave care:
Failing to apply an aftershave after waxing, shaving, or when trimming pubic hair results in the irritation of the hair follicles. The irritated hair follicles remain clogged with oil and dead skin and lead to the ingrown hair on labia.
Uneven hair breakages:
After waxing or shaving your hair, the sharp tip that remains easily penetrates the hair follicle wall. The penetration of the sharp hair tip results in the ingrown hair on labia majora.
Nature of skin:
Sensitive skin also contributes to the presence of ingrown hair around on vaginal lips. The hair irritates easily with sensitive skin especially when growing back. The skin responds to the irritation by developing pustules or papules.
Oily skin also has similar effects since it produces excessive body secretions and oils. The body secretions combine with the dead skins to form clots that block the hair follicles.
Nature of hair:
The quality of pubic hair influences the occurrence of ingrown hair on labia. The ingrown hair problem tends to have a higher likelihood of occurrence in women who have coarse and curly hair. The reason for this is that curly hair tends to coil inside the hair follicle or curve back when growing back.
This occurs after waxing, shaving, or tweezing. Studies have also shown that women with excessive hair also have a high likelihood of developing ingrown hair. The excessive hair production is a result of high levels of sex hormones.
The increasing or decreasing levels of sex hormones also contribute to the development of ingrown hair. This may occur especially during pregnancy periods or when stress levels are elevated. Hormonal changes cause the extreme production of secretions and body oils.
The secretions and body oils lead to the blockage of hair follicles and hence the development of ingrown hair. Hormonal changes also trigger increased hair growth and lead to ingrown hair.
Body care products:
Some cosmetics, body care, and conditioning products cause the hair follicles around the vulva to block resulting in the occurrence of ingrown hair. For instance, the use of bar soap instead of bathroom soap leads to the development of ingrown hair on labia.
Wearing tight pants or underpants immediately after shaving causes the development of ingrown hair. The tight fabric rubs against the skin causing undue pressure to the hair follicles. The pressure causes the sharp hair shafts to curl back towards the skin.
Symptoms of ingrown hair on Labia:
When ingrown hair develops on the vaginal lips, the body responds to the hair growing under the skin in several ways:
- Itchy skin around and on the vagina
- Swelling and pain
- Redness especially around where the ingrown hair occurs
- Cysts, often located deep around the area where the ingrown hair occurs
- Blisters filled with fluid and painful to the touch show up around the Vulva.
- Hard and painful bumps appear around the labia majora.
- The skin around the affected area darkens.
Treatment of Ingrown hair on Labia Majora:
Like mentioned earlier, Ingrown hair is a harmless condition, and it tends to disappear on its own. However, it is essential to treat them before they develop into complications that require further medical attention. Here are some treatment remedies you can use to help get rid of ingrown hair on vaginal lips.
Place a warm compress over the ingrown hair for 10 minutes using a towel. The warm compress will help the area soften, and the pores loosen releasing the ingrown hair. The warm compress also helps the swelling and redness to subdue. You can also use warm milk and bread to achieve the same goal.
Exfoliating and cleansing:
Use a mild cleanser to wash the affected area. Afterwards, exfoliate the area using a soft toothbrush or a washcloth repeatedly but in a circular manner. Exfoliating assists to remove the dead skin and dirt that clog the hair follicle causing the release of the tip of the hair.
Using the following home remedies daily helps to clear infections and reduce inflammation. The remedies help to reduce the swelling of the ingrown hair on labia causes and helps the hair grown upwards. The remedies include
- Tea tree oil: Helps to reduce inflammation, redness and kill germs.
- Turmeric: Reduces inflammation. Oral consumption of the turmeric helps to relieve the inflammation.
- Baking soda: Reduces inflammation and helps remove the dead skin and dirt clogging the hair follicles.
- Evening primrose oil: Reduces inflammation
- Fenugreek: The paste from its seeds reduces inflammation when applied to the affected area.
- Sugar: It acts as an exfoliator.
- You can also use a mix or blend of olive oil and honey to help kill bacteria and moisturise the skin.
- You can also apply aloe vera around the affected area.
Apart from treating the ingrown hair, you can also prevent them from occurring by shaving properly, avoiding repeated removal of hair, wearing loose clothes immediately after a shave.
You can also use a single blade razor to help shave the labia. Despite it being expensive, laser hair removal is an effective technique of shaving that guarantees no ingrown hair on labia.