Ingrown hairs pop up everywhere. And why? Well, because most men have hair erupting all over their bodies. While not limited to shave-only places, ingrown hairs happen most often in areas where men shave. This includes the pot of gold that is a man’s family jewels. An ingrown hair on the penis is the exact same thing as it is on any other part of the body; it happens when the tip of a hair curls and grows back into the skin or hair follicle. This little hair can cause a painful, itchy bump to emerge. Sometimes it can even fill up with pus when it gets infected. Less than awesome, right? Let’s talk about ingrown hairs on the penis, from how they happen to how to fix and prevent them.

Ingrown Hair on the Penis: Symptoms

In this particular region, ingrown hairs can present as red bumps on the penis. They can show up anywhere in the area and are often painful to the touch. They can resemble pimples or cysts. Some are pretty minor, while others can fill with pus of many colors and ooze when irritated. If a man has eagle-eye vision, he may be able to see the small semblance of the unruly hair in it.

Ingrown Hair on the Penis: Causes

Ingrown hairs on the penis can be caused in several ways. The biggest reason would be, of course, shaving, but other things can cause these red bumps on the penis. Here are some things, besides shaving, that can erupt these pesky buggers:

1) Dry skin - When the hair follicle is clogged up with dead skin cells, the hair can’t grow straight and usually gets pushed sideways back into the skin.

2) Thick and/or curly hair - Sorry, all of you dudes with massive manes.

3) Keratosis pilaris - Also known as chicken skin, this skin condition causes excess keratin in the skin, which can turn into bumps and close up hair follicles.

4) Shaving protocols - In addition to just shaving, doing it too much or without the right prep and technique can also increase a man’s risk of getting ingrown hairs on his penis.

Ingrown Hair on the Penis: Treatment

Most times, ingrown hairs take care of themselves. However, if you want immediate relief, here are a few ways to help the hair emerge:

- Wash the area and your hands with antibacterial soap before touching the parts to be shaved

- Use a warm compress to relax the follicle and try to coax the offending hair closer to the surface of the bump

- Treat the area with an acne product made with only salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which will reduce swelling and encourage the follicle to open up and free the hair

- Using a pair of tweezers or a pin (be sure to sterilize first), drain the pus and guide the hair out of its shell, but don’t pull it all the way out at the root

- Apply tea tree oil or antibacterial ointment to keep bacteria out

- If it itches, use a hydrocortisone ointment

- Don’t shave or wax the area until it is fully healed

Ingrown Hair on the Penis: Big No-Nos!

Ingrown hairs can be itchy and irritating, and it’s natural to want to destroy them. Here are things you DON’T want to do, however, or else you could make matters worse:

- Don’t scratch

- Don’t pick or try to pop them

- Don’t wear tight underwear

- Dry off immediately after swimming, bathing, or sweating

Failing to obey that in the above list could lead to

- Bacterial infections

- Fungal infections

- Genital boils

- Swollen lymph nodes

- Scarring

- Staph infection (specifically sycosis barbae)

Ingrown Hair on the Penis: Prevention

There are many ways to avoid ingrown hairs on the penis. Start by waxing or shaving the area less often, and when you do shave, be sure to do so correctly and carefully. Always use a sharp blade and a shaving gel or oil. Soften the hair by soaking it in warm water for at least 5 minutes. When shaving, shave in the direction of hair growth, not against it. In between shaves, be sure skin is gently exfoliated to remove dead skin. Use a product like Tend Skin immediately after shaving or waxing to minimize ingrown hairs. If you shave or wax a lot, consider investing in laser hair removal.

Finally, use a specially formulated penis health oil (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) to prevent ingrown hairs on the penis. It has vitamins and nutrients that gently exfoliate the skin and keep bacteria at bay. Use at least once per day for the best results.