How to get rid of ingrown hair? Ingrown hair is a hair growth condition that consists of the hair curling backward or growing towards the skin. This condition is more frequent in people with curlier or thicker hair. Besides, it can or can not include a hair follicle infection or skin bumps. These infections or bumps can vary in size.
Even though ingrown hair appears more frequently in areas where the skin has been shaved or waxed (beard, legs, and pubic area), it can also appear in other places. Any instrument that can cut the hair unevenly (like an old razor) can cause ingrown hair. Ingrown hairs are also a consequence of a lack of natural skin exfoliant.
What causes ingrown hair?
When you get rid of hair, it usually grows back. Most hair stems will grow through the skin with no issues.
Other hairs can grow underneath the skin. For example, when you shave, the shortened hair can curl backward and grow toward the skin.
When the hair grows back, the skin responds to the hair as if it was a foreign body.
This is when symptoms appear, including pain, itch, redness, or swelling.
How are ingrown hairs treated?
In most cases, there is no need to worry about ingrown hairs. Often they clear by themselves without treatment. If ingrown hairs do not start growing through the skin, you might have to try one of the treatment options.
Stop removing the hair on the area
One solution is to stop waxing, shaving, or plucking the hair in the area until the ingrown hair goes away. Continuing to shave will only make the area even more sensitive. Scratching or picking on the ingrown hair will only increase the discomfort, it could even cause a skin infection or leave a scar.
1. Apply warm compresses, how to get rid of ingrown hair
You can apply warm compresses to the area. You can also rub a wet cloth or a soft toothbrush with a circular motion over the skin.
2. Remove the hair gently, how to get rid of ingrown hair
Once the hair rises above the skin, you can use sterile tweezers or a needle to pull it softly. Try to avoid pulling it out completely until the area heals, or the skin will heal over the hair again. Do not dig into the skin, as you could break it and cause an infection.
3. Get rid of dead skin, how to get rid of ingrown hair
Washing and exfoliating softly around the ingrown hair can make the hair rise back to the skin’s surface. If this does not work, a specialist could prescribe a medicine that can help the skin’s dead cells to detach more quickly.
4. Use creams to reduce swelling, how to get rid of ingrown hair
If the ingrown hair is causing a lot of redness and swelling, your doctor could prescribe a steroid cream. This treatment can reduce swelling and irritation around the hair.
5. Use retinoids, how to get rid of ingrown hair
Retinoids, like tretinoin, can speed up the cleaning of the skin’s dead cells. It can also help lighten the dark skin patches that can appear because of ingrown hairs. You will need a doctor’s prescription for the retinoids. These medications can cause some skin dryness.
What is an ingrown hair cyst?
An ingrown hair cyst is a situation that occurs when the ingrown hair turns into a cyst. This is the large lump that extends between the surface of the skin and deep below it.
The appearance is a mix between regular ingrown hair and an acne cyst, although this is a whole different condition.
These types of skin problems are very common among people who shave, wax, or use other hair removal methods. Although you can feel a little anxious to get rid of these cysts just because of their looks, it is also important to keep an eye out for signs of infection.
How does an ingrown hair cyst look?
As its name says, ingrown hair cysts start as ingrown hairs. At first, it is possible to notice a small lump, which can be similar to a zit with hair on top. It can also have a reddish color, which makes them more noticeable. With time, when an ingrown hair refuses to go away, this little lump can turn into a very big one.
The resulting cyst can be distinguished for its characteristic color, which can be red, white, or yellow. It can also be painful to touch. Although ingrown hairs can happen anywhere in the body, it is more likely for them to develop in areas prone to ingrown hairs.
An ingrown hair cyst is not the same as acne pimples, although both conditions can look similar. An infected ingrown hair cyst starts as a regular ingrown hair. On the other hand, acne pimples result from an oil and dead cell combination that accumulates deep underneath the hair follicle.
Cystic acne can be widespread in an area, like the back, or the face. Ingrown hair cysts, on the other hand, are fewer and stay contained; it is possible to have one. Unlike pimples, ingrown hair cysts will not have a head.
What causes an ingrown hair cyst?
Inadequate waxing techniques can be a cause of ingrown hair cysts. Whether the person shaves, waxes, or tweezers, getting rid of hair is not always easy. The process itself can cause some swelling, which can irritate the skin and cause pimples and cysts.
Getting rid of hair can also make the hair that grows back to do it the wrong way. The new hair grows outward and eventually curls downward.
When this happens, the pore can close over the hair and make it stuck or ingrown. The skin responds by swelling, treating the curly hair as a foreign object.
Ingrown hairs are very common on their own in african-american males that shave. You can also be at a greater risk of developing these cysts if you have naturally curly hair.
What are the available treatment options?
The main aim of the treatment is to reduce the surrounding inflammation and reduce the infection risk.
Over-the-counter medicines that contain benzoyl peroxide or retinoids can reduce the swelling and decrease the size of the cyst. It is possible to need prescribed medications for acne if the over-the-counter options do not work. For example, your health professional can prescribe a steroid cream to help reduce the swelling and pain around the cyst.
You must never pop an ingrown hair cyst, as this can increase the risk of infection and scars. You should not try to lift the hair with some tweezers either, as you would do with a normal ingrown hair. At this point, the ingrown hair is too deep beneath the cyst to get it out.
Instead, encourage the cyst to shrink and smooth the hair outward, rubbing the cyst softly with a warm cloth twice a day.
If you develop an infection, your health professional will prescribe topical or oral antibiotics. This will help reduce the inflammation and the pain at the same time as it avoids the infection from spreading and getting worse.
When to go to a health professional?
In most cases, you do not need to see a health professional for this kind of cyst.
Creams can usually help bring out the hair. If the cyst gets extremely annoying, or if the lump does not fade away, consult a health professional or a dermatologist.
They can drain the cyst and get rid of the ingrown hair. You should also consult with a professional if you suspect an infection.