An ingrown hair is one that is grown back into your skin instead of rising from it. In case you cut your naturally curly hair too short, the sharpened end of the hair can pierce your skin, which can cause the ingrown hair. Also, sometimes dead skin can clog a hair follicle that forces the hair to grow sideways under the skin.
An ingrown hair can also appear when a shaved or tweezed hair grows back into the skin. It can cause inflammation, pain, and tiny bumps in the area from where hair got removed.
There are various types of ingrown hair, one common type of ingrown hair is pseudofolliculitis, also called “razor bumps,” in which small red bumps appear on the beard area. Red bumps are commonly experienced by African-American men, especially those who shave frequently. In chronic or inadequately treated situations, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, scarring, and rare keloid formation may occur. This skin condition is mostly seen in darker skin people with facial hair because of the curvature of their hair follicles.
Symptoms of ingrown hair –
Ingrown Hair most commonly occurs in the beard area including, the chin, cheeks, and neck. They can also appear on the scalp in those who shave their heads. The signs and symptoms of the ingrown hair include the following –
- Small solid rounded bumps (papules)
- Skin darkening (hyperpigmentation)
- Embedded hair
- Small, pus-filled, blister-like lesions (pustules)
Who is at a risk of ingrown hair?
The ingrown hair risk factors include many things. But the people who are involved in removing hair from waxing, tweezing, or shaving are at a higher risk of having ingrown hair.
Ingrown hair causes –
You might get ingrown hair due to following causes:-
- Pull your skin during shaving – This allows the cut hair to draw back into the skin and re-enter the skin without first growing out.
- Tweeze – It can leave a hair fragment under the skin surface.
- A curved hair follicle that produces curled hair is believed to encourage the hair to re-enter skin and starts to grow back.
Diagnosis of ingrown hair –
Ingrown hair can easily be diagnosed by your doctor by looking at your skin and discussing with you, all your hair removal habits. Also, the ingrown hair cure does not take much time and can be treated easily.
Treatment of ingrown hair –
To treat ingrown hair, avoid shaving, tweezing, and waxing until the condition improves, i.e. usually two to six months. You may also consider laser treatment which removes the hair at a deeper level and inhibits growth. If still the symptoms start worsening, contact a dermatologist.
Medications for Ingrown hair –
- Drugs to remove dead skin cells – Retinoids applied to your skin, such as tretinoin help in clearing dead cells from your skin.
- Creams like steroids are suggested by doctors
- Pills or cream to control infection – Doctors may also suggest antibiotic ointment or antibiotics pills avoid infections caused by scratching infected areas.
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Prevention of ingrown hair –
To prevent ingrown hair, avoid shaving, waxing, and tweezing. Also, you can follow the following steps:-
- Wash your face with lukewarm water and face wash before shaving
- Don’t pull your skin taut while shaving
- Shave in the direction of hair growth
- Apple lubricating shaving gel or cream a few minutes before shaving to soften the hair.
- Use a sharp razor every time you shave.
- Rinse the blade after each stroke.
- Rinse your face and skin and apply lotion after you shave.
- Electric razors or clippers can also be used to ingrown hair.