Ingrown hair occurs mainly on the areas of the skin that are shaved or waxed. That’s why critical region in men is the beard, while women usually have the ingrown hair on legs, under the armpits and in the pubic area. An ingrown hair is a red, pimple-looking bump, and sometimes it may be filled with pus and accompanied by itching and pain. An ingrown hair can appear when a hair is shaved so that it has a sharp or uneven tip. This condition is not serious, but people find it upsetting because it’s esthetically unpleasant. There are situations when an ingrown hair requires medical treatment, but the problem usually goes away on its own. Still, if it bothers you, make an appointment and let our consultant dermatologist help you deal with it.
People with curly hair are more prone to this skin condition, because a curved hair follicle makes hairs more susceptible to bending over end reentering the skin after they have been cut. Tweezing can also cause an ingrown hair, because that way there is a possibility of a hair snapping so that a sharp fragment remains under the skin. A hair damaged by snapping continues to grow under the skin leading to an ingrown hair. Shaving and waxing make hairs become sharper and thus able to penetrate the skin and reenter it.
After a hair punctures the skin, your skin reacts as if there was a foreign body inside and that leads to an inflammation. Another possible cause can be levels of certain hormones that lead hair to grow excessively, at the same time being thick and strong. People with such a hair type are more likely to suffer from this skin disorder. In certain cases, especially in people who are prone to the ingrown hair condition, some complications may appear, such as skin darkening, bacterial infections, scars, razor bumps or folliculitis. Razor bumps or pseudofollicultis barbae, are small inflamed bumps with ingrown hairs inside of them that appear on the skin after shaving.
People who suffer from this disorder are advised to stop shaving, waxing and tweezing until the condition gets better. In certain cases this is impossible, so ingrown hair treatment is necessary. If an ingrown hair starts to cause problems or if it is infected, a small cut is made in the skin in order to calm the swelling down and to release the hair.
There are several medications that your doctor can prescribe and some of them are:
- Retinoids. Those are medications used to exfoliate (remove dead cells) your skin. Accumulation of dead skin cells leads to thickening of the skin, and in some cases it can cause skin to become darker.
- Anti-inflammatory creams. Steroid creams can be applied to skin to reduce the inflammation;
- Creams are efficient in cases of mild infections. Orally administered antibiotics are used for severe infections that occur on the ingrown hair area because of scratching.
Sometimes laser therapy is recommended for solving the problem of the ingrown hair. Since laser can destroy follicles, this ingrown hair treatment is recommendable only for unwanted hair.
Should you need any medical advice regarding ingrown hair treatment or any other dermatological issue, our experienced medical staff is at your disposal.