Ingrown hair is curling of the hair or growing sideways into the skin which could be accompanied by an infection in the hair follicle. It usually occurs in parts of your body having coarse or curly hairs and which has been shaved or waxed very often.
What causes ingrown hair?
When you try to remove your hair by shaving, waxing or threading or treat it with any other cosmetic treatments then your hair might break. The sharp tip created due to breakage curls or turns sideways to pierce your skin instead of growing upward above your skin. This is how the inflammation occurs and ingrown hairs are created.
Apart from shaving or waxing, one can get ingrown hairs also with wearing tight clothes.
Some risk factors for ingrown hair are high levels of sex hormones in both male and females. Women with hirsutism and poly cystic ovarian syndrome are vulnerable to having ingrown hair very often.
How to identify ingrown hair?
Ingrown hair is more often seen around cheeks, chins, groins and pubic area (or bikini line for women), armpits and inner thighs. You can easily identify the round shaped red bumps (often called razor bumps) filled with pus. They exactly look like pimples.
Ingrown hair is painful and tends to itch. You can also find hair growth inside the bump.
At times the skin surrounding the ingrown hair turns black due to accumulation of pigments.
Diagnosis of ingrown hair
Your dermatologist can identify your ingrown hair merely by a physical examination. You need to let him/her know about your hair removal techniques.
If there’s significant inflammation, pain and other complicated symptoms then your doctor might consider performing a minor skin biopsy or bacterial culture with the fluid.
Treatment of ingrown hair
Ingrown hair usually heals on its own. However, if it has become chronic or is recurring often and is immensely painful then it’s better to go for dermatological treatment. Your doctor might use a sterile needle to prick the bump and lift the hair tip and release the pus. Your hair will grow normally after this.
Furthermore, your doctor would prescribe you steroids to control the inflammation, pain and swelling. Oral or topical antibiotics might be prescribed protect or treat the infection. Another common medicine prescribed is – retinoid cream which helps to eliminate the dead cells and prevent or treat pigmentation.
You need to let your beard or hair grow normally and stay away from cosmetic treatments until the inflammation is managed.
Apart from this, your doctor would also advice you on how to prevent ingrown hair. We explain them below.
Preventing ingrown hair and home remedies
You can reduce chances of having ingrown hair by being little gentle on your skin while shaving, waxing etc. and take certain precautions
Always apply lubricating gels generously before shaving. You can also have steam bath or soak your body in warm water before undergoing waxing, tweezing or shaving. Pre treating your skin softens the hairs and they can be removed easily without breaking.
Look for ingredients that take care of your skin without damaging. For example: opt for salicylic acid based shaving creams or anti acne exfoliating agents or scrubs or hydrocortisone based gels. They protect your skin from infection
Do not allow your skin to dry especially after shaving, waxing, scrubbing or exposing it to heat treatments. Also opt for scrubbing your body gently with natural ingredients to remove deal cells and control ingrown hair. But remember to apply moisturizer generously after that.
Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: February 08, 2016