Does Plucking Nipple Hair Really Cause Cancer?

Having hair on the breasts or around the nipple area is quite common for women. Of course, the amount of hair does vary. Some women may not notice any hair around the nipple area until their late twenties. In some cases, the hair does tend to become thicker and darker, which is often a cause for concern.

Even though hair on the nipples and breasts is not concerning, many women prefer removing it. Shaving and waxing are some of the most common methods used for hair removal. However, some prefer plucking it. There is a type of noncancerous skin tumor that can develop in hair follicles (Pilomatricoma). In rare cases pilomatrixomas can become cancerous. But does plucking nipple hair really cause cancer?

Why You Should Avoid Plucking Nipple Hair

There are many methods to remove nipple hair. While there is a potential downside to each method, plucking could potentially cause the most damage to your follicles. Let’s look a few issues caused by plucking nipple hair:

Ingrown Hair

Ingrown hair is a condition in which the tip of the hair bends into your skin. This results in inflammation and discomfort. Ingrown hair is an inherent condition with some women. However, certain hair removal methods can cause ingrown hair. One of the most common reasons why you may develop ingrown nipple hair is due to plucking.

Plucking can cause hair to bend inwards into the hair follicle and results in ingrown hair. The condition could also be caused by shaving or waxing. Treating ingrown hair is easy. You can treat the infection with simple home remedies. But if you don’t take any precautions, the follicle can get infected. Pus-filled bumps are a common sign of inflamed follicles.

In most cases, an infected follicle can heal within a few days with home remedies. But it is best to get medical treatment if the infection has been going on for longer than a few days.

Enlarged Hair Follicle

Your hair grows out of hair follicles, which are micro pockets in your skin. If you notice bumps around the nipples, you may have enlarged follicles. These bumps could be a result of the hair follicle catching bacteria or fungus, and the bumps can cause discomfort and itching. You should treat enlarged hair follicles immediately before the symptoms worsen.

Hair Removal Methods You Should Avoid

Most women remove nipple hair to boost their confidence and for aesthetic reasons. However, there are certain hair removal methods you should avoid for reducing the risk of an infection:


One of the most commonly used methods for nipple hair removal is plucking. Even though this method is quite unsafe, women tend to use it as it gives better results and it takes a while for hair to grow back. The skin around the nipples is really sensitive and plucking can cause ingrown hairs, which can be quite painful.


Many women prefer shaving off hair around the nipple area. However, shaving can change the direction of hair and causes it to bend inwards, resulting in ingrown hair. The symptoms of ingrown hair are quite similar to that of inflamed follicles.


Waxing is relatively safer than plucking or shaving but there is still a risk of developing an infection or irritate your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you prefer waxing your nipple hair, have a professional do the job. Waxing nipple hair on your own could cause ingrown hair or enlarged hair follicles.

How to Safely Remove Nipple Hair

The best way to safely remove nipple hair is using a pair of small scissors and cut it close to the skin. This method will not cause the hair to bend inwards, nor will it result in an infection of the follicles.

Treatment for Infected Hair Follicles

Your hair follicle can get infected due to ingrown hair or a bacterial or fungal infection. Fortunately, there are home remedies for treating these conditions. You should not leave ingrown hair or infected follicles untreated.

Warm Compress

One of the best ways to treat infected follicles is using a warm compress. The compress will soften the skin and enlarge the follicle so the hair can slip out more easily. You should use a warm compress two to three times daily. To speed up the process, you can use a non-comedogenic lotion. This will keep dry skin supple and it can prevent oily skin from developing acne.


Another great way to treat inflamed follicles is to exfoliate the area. Exfoliation removes dead skin from the infected area and helps it heal faster. You can use it in combination with a warm compress for better results. You can even make your own exfoliator. Simply mix sugar and table salt in oil and use it on the infected area. Be sure to not use kosher salt as it could irritate your skin. When exfoliating the infected area, do so in a circular motion. Do not apply too much pressure. Be as gentle as you can.

There are certain things you should absolutely avoid when treating ingrown nipple hair or inflamed follicles. First and foremost, you should not attempt to lift up the ingrown hair with tweezers or a needle. Not only could this result in scarring, but it could worsen the infection. Also, you should never pop pus-filled bumps. It is best to the stick to natural home remedies to treat ingrown hair or inflamed follicles. If the ingrown hair or inflamed follicle does not get better within a few days, contact your doctor.


There’s no scientific evidence that plucking nipple hair causes cancer, however it can cause infections. Therefore, it is best to avoid plucking nipple hair and stick to safe hair removal methods on your nipples such as trimming.

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