An ingrown hair happens when the end of a hair curls down and starts growing back into the skin rather than growing up and out of it.

This may not sound like a big deal. But even a single hair growing back into your skin can result in itchy, red, pus-filled bumps.

Waxing or shaving your butt may increase the risk of getting an ingrown hair in that area. But, even if you don’t remove the hair, the pressure from underwear or other clothing can push it down, causing an ingrown hair. This is why ingrown hairs can also be common around the pubic area or upper thighs.

You’ll often get ingrown hairs around areas that you shave or wax. When you remove a hair, it almost always grows back. While most hairs will grow back without any problem, some may grow back in the wrong direction.

Ingrown hairs can be uncomfortable. That’s why it’s helpful to know how to treat one or prevent them from happening in the first place. Read on to learn how.

Ingrown hairs tend to show up as small, red, round bumps that look like pimples.

They often appear alone, but can also appear in clusters. You may also notice a dark or discolored spot in the middle where the hair’s trying to get out.

Ingrown hairs can cause your pore or hair follicle to get infected. When this happens, the bump may swell up with yellow or green pus and become tender to the touch.

In many cases, an ingrown hair will clear up on its own. But if your ingrown hair is causing discomfort, there are steps you can take to relieve the pain or swelling. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use benzoyl peroxide on the ingrown hair when you shower or bathe. This may help heal the ingrown hair and prevent infection.
  • Press a warm, clean, wet washcloth against the ingrown hair. Do this a few times a day to help open the pore and release the hair.
  • Use sterilized tweezers to pluck out an ingrown hair. Do this once you’ve exfoliated the skin around the hair. Exfoliation can help to bring the hair closer to the surface of your skin.
  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with warm, distilled water and soak the area. Put the tea tree soak on a washcloth or cotton pad that you can press against your butt and seal. This may help reduce swelling and help fight off an infection.
  • Rub an over-the-counter (OTC) corticosteroid cream gently onto the skin. This can reduce inflammation, itchiness, or irritation.
  • Use an OTC antibiotic cream, like Neosporin. It can help treat an uncomfortable or painful infection, especially if the hair follicle is inflamed (folliculitis).
  • Try a CBD skin oil or cream. It can help reduce pain and swelling.

Ingrown hairs usually aren’t a cause for concern. They typically go away on their own or with simple home treatments.

But there may be times when an ingrown hair can become a bigger problem. That’s why it’s important to see your doctor if:

  • You get ingrown hairs often, especially if they tend to get infected.
  • The pain of an infected ingrown hair is unbearable.
  • The redness and swelling get worse or spread.
  • The pain from the infected hair spreads to a wider area.
  • You develop a fever, such as 101°F (38°F) or higher.
  • An ingrown hair leaves noticeable scars, especially if the scar is hard to the touch.
  • A dark, hard spot appears in the middle of the ingrown hair, especially after it seems to heal.

One of the best ways to deal with ingrown hairs is to prevent them from happening in the first place. To prevent an ingrown hair on your butt, consider the following steps:

  • Exfoliate the skin on your butt with a washcloth or exfoliating material every day. You can exfoliate your skin either in the shower or before you go to bed. It can help open your pores and prevent hairs from growing in the wrong direction. You can buy an exfoliating scrub or make your own body scrub.
  • Rinse your butt with warm water. This can help open up the pores before you shave or wax.
  • Use a gentle, unscented lubricant or shaving cream before shaving the area. Be sure to use a cream with no artificial dyes, fragrances, or ingredients.
  • Shave slowly and carefully with a sharp razor, preferably a single blade. Be sure to shave in the direction your hair grows.
  • Try to get as many hairs as you can in a single stroke. This may make it less likely that the hair will be pushed under the skin.
  • Rinse your butt with cool water or apply a cool towel after you shave or wax. This can help soothe your skin and prevent irritation.
  • Let your butt get some fresh air before you put on clothes. Wear loose cotton underwear or clothing to let the skin breathe.

Ingrown hairs on your butt are uncomfortable, but they typically don’t cause serious problems. They often go away on their own, but if they don’t, there are steps you can take to relieve the pain and discomfort.

Ingrown hairs, including those on your butt, are often caused by shaving or waxing. Knowing how to remove the hair while keeping your pores open and healthy may help reduce the likelihood of a hair growing the wrong way.

See your doctor if an ingrown hair gets infected, becomes very painful, or if the swelling and redness spread beyond a small area.