Ingrown hair: Symptoms and treatment

Ingrown hair

What Is Ingrown Hair?

Ingrown hair is what you get if your hair starts growing back into the skin rather than emerging from the surface. The hair will then grow in a curved pattern and eventually pierce the skin's surface, forming an unsightly sore surface known as a "razor bump."

This leads to inflammation and an increased likelihood of infection. It causes itching and stinging as well as the formation of acne-like pustules. It usually occurs in areas where the hair is shaved or waxed or tweezed. 

The area may be dry, red, and tender with small pus-filled bumps. These bumps can become infected and may look like acne. It is more common among men who have curly beard hair than others. It may occur in other parts of the body such as underarms, legs, and pubic hair.

What are the Common Causes of Ingrown Hair?

The causes of ingrown hair may vary from time to time but most of them lead to the development of ingrown hair facial hair. For example, genetics, shaving, hair removal creams and razors, use of incorrect shaving products, improper trimming, unhygienic conditions, and taking drugs are the common causes. Other causes of ingrown hair in the beard are:

  • Poor trimming.
  • Improper shaving technique.
  • Tight Fitting clothes.
  • Tight-fitting facial hair accessories.

What are the Symptoms of Ingrown Hair?

Ingrown hair affects the appearance of a man and his personality. It also affects the emotional health of men. The symptoms of ingrown hair in the beard are:

  • Itching.
  • Redness and swelling.
  • When you try to remove the hair, it takes off layers of skin with it, causing severe pain.

How to get rid of Ingrown Hair?

Ingrown hair is a medical condition in which hair starts to grow inward instead of growing outward. The incidence of ingrown hair is most common in the leg and beard areas.

Ingrown hair is something that affects all men with beards from time to time. Actually ingrown hair in beards is very common, especially for men who live in cold areas or at high altitudes. The most common way of dealing with ingrown hair is by simply shaving over them, but this results in redness that lasts for a few days.

For ingrown hair in beards, the best thing you can do is to make sure that you trim your beard regularly, once a week.

If an ingrown hair gets infected, your doctor can make a small cut with a sterile needle and scalpel to release it. He may also prescribe some medicines like:

  • Steroids that can ease swelling and irritation.
  • Retinoids that can remove dead skin cells and reduce skin pigmentation.
  • Antibiotics that can treat infections.

How to Prevent Ingrown Hair?

Here are some tips to prevent ingrown hair:

  • Shave with a good-quality razor and apply moisturizer to nourish your beard and the skin beneath.
  • Wet your face with lukewarm water before shaving and apply shaving gel.
  • Shave in the direction of your natural hair growth.
  • Use as few strokes of the razor as possible. This will reduce the chances of hair slipping back into your skin.
  • Rinse your razor with water after every stroke.
  • Don’t put extensive pressure on your razor while shaving.
  • While using an electric razor, hold it slightly above the surface of your skin.
  • Use effective beard products to enhance the health and look of your beard. Avoid products that contain parabens and sulfate.
  • Apply a cool washcloth to your face after shaving.

You can also use creams and laser treatment to remove the hair follicle.

How to Treat Ingrown Hair at Home?

There are few home remedies that you can try to treat ingrown hair.

  • Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and can bring down swelling. It can work for acne and ingrown hair as well. Mix some tea tree oil with water to dilute it and apply to the affected area using a cotton ball.
  • Sugar is a natural exfoliator and can moisturize the skin. Mix it with olive oil or honey to kill bacteria and apply the paste to the affected area in a circular motion. Rinse it off after some time with lukewarm water.
  • Baking soda helps to exfoliate the skin and can reduce skin inflammation. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of water and apply it to the affected area using a cotton ball. Rinse it off using cold water after some time.

These home remedies must be tried out only after doing a patch test. These remedies are not clinically proven and hence can have side effects as well.

What is Ingrown Hair Cyst?

Ingrown hair cyst is a recognized medical condition also known as Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB). PFB is characterized by the inability of the hair shaft to exit the skin causing it to re-enter the follicle. 

Most cysts form near ingrown hair and can occur anywhere on your body but they are most likely to develop in areas that are prone to ingrown hair, including armpits, head, face, legs, pubic area, neck.

Take Away

An ingrown hair is a result of the hair shaft growing out of the skin and then turning back on itself, causing the tip to be buried under the skin. Another less common type of ingrown hair is the "follicular inclusion," which is a result of the follicle being closed off by dead skin cells or cellular debris, which then traps the follicle below the surface of the skin, necessitating its removal. 

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