What Is Ingrown Hair
Ingrown hairs are trapped hairs that create irritated, sensitive bumps. Although these bumps are fairly normal, you can still prevent and manage ingrown hairs. These lesions usually resolve themselves, but can also become infected if not treated properly.
An ingrown hair is a hair that doesnt grow outward as it should. The hair reappears on your skin as a small, raised, inflamed bump. Thats because your hair is now trapped beneath the skins surface. These bumps can cause pain, irritation, and even become infected.
Ingrown hair happens when the hair is cut too short or removed improperly. They can happen anywhere hair grows, but most commonly develop on the facial area, underarms, pubic area, and legs. People who have curly or coarse hair are the most likely to develop these irritating bumps.
The main causes of ingrown hair are:
- Shaving, plucking, or waxing the hair
- Not removing hair in the direction of hair growth
- Pulling the skin taut before removing hair, which causes the remaining hair stub to sink underneath the skins surface
Each hair grows from its own follicle. Some people have a condition where many follicles are inflamed or infected at once called folliculitis. This can happen due to shaving, clogged pores, or external irritants like tight clothing. Folliculitis is a relatively common condition.
An ingrown hair can become infected when the hair follicle is blocked. This blockage can be due to dead skin cells, oil on the skins surface, or other reasons.
What Are Complications Of Ingrown Hairs
- Ingrown hairs can sometimes lead to a secondary bacterial skin infection and/or an abscess .
- This complication can sometimes arise when individuals pick or scratch the area of the ingrown hair.
- Individuals who develop an abscess may require incision and drainage in order to resolve this complication.
- If a secondary bacterial skin infection develops, individuals may be prescribed a topical or oral antibiotic.
- Ingrown hairs can also lead to skin discoloration, thickening of the skin, and permanent scarring.
How Common Is Folliculitis
Folliculitis is a very common skin condition that many people will experience throughout their lives. It can happen to men, women, children and infants. Certain types of folliculitis are more likely to happen in particular groups of people. Pseudofolliculitis barbae and sycosis barbae, for example, are two types of folliculitis are closely linked to shaving. These conditions are much more common in men who are frequently cutting beard hairs.
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Data Collection And Analysis
Some parts of this section use text that was originally published in another Cochrane protocol or in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions .
Selection of studies
Two review authors will independently check titles and abstracts derived from the searches. We will not be blinded to the names of trials or their institutions. If we can judge from the title and abstract that a study does not relate to an RCT on interventions for treating folliculitis and boils, we will exclude it straight away. The same two review authors will independently examine the full text of each remaining study and will judge whether it meets our inclusion criteria. If the two review authors disagree on whether they should include a study, they will achieve unanimity through discussion with a third review author . We will list the studies that we exclude after examining the full text and will provide reasons for exclusion in the Characteristics of excluded studies tables. We will use Covidence for selection of studies .
Data extraction and management
Assessment of risk of bias in included studies
We will use Cochranes tool for assessing risk of bias in RCTs by evaluating the following domains .
Random sequence generation : adequacy of the method of random sequence generation to produce comparable groups in every aspect except for the intervention.
Blinding of outcome assessment : adequacy of blinding outcome assessors from knowledge of which intervention a participant receives.
How Is Folliculitis Treated
Treatment options for folliculitis depend on the type of folliculitis you have and its severity. Certain types may need more aggressive types of care, while others may go away with little to no treatment. If your folliculitis is mild, it can sometimes be treated at home. There are several ways you can care for your irritated skin, including:
- Using antibacterial cleansers to clean the skin. This will limit the amount of bacteria on your skin.
- Applying warm towels to your irritated skin to sooth the discomfort.
- Using anti-itch creams.
In less severe types of folliculitis, like Pseudomonas folliculitis , your symptoms will typically fade within a few days without treatment. If they dont, reach out to your healthcare provider. When you have a more severe case of folliculitis, oral antibiotics may be needed to treat the condition. Deeper infections, like boils and carbuncles, may have to be drained by your healthcare provider. This will remove the build-up of pus and allow the area to heal. Because Pseudofolliculitis barbae and Sycosis barbae heavily affect the beard area, you can manage these conditions by changing your shaving habits. These changes can include:
- Softening the hair with hot water before shaving.
- Shaving with the grain of the hair, not against it.
- Using a shaving gel or cream.
- Shaving every other day, rather than daily.
- Using an electric razor or hair removal product instead of a traditional razor blade.
- Avoiding pulling the skin while shaving.
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What Happens If The Ingrown Hairs Get Infected
If the ingrown pubic hair gets infected, the bumps may be painful and filled with pus. To treat the infection, you may need to see your doctor.
Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment or wash. If the infection is severe, you might need to take an antibiotic by mouth.
A few over-the-counter and home remedies can relieve bumps and possibly prevent ingrown hairs. Here are a few to try.
- Exfoliate with salicylic acid or glycolic acid. These products will help keep your hair follicles open, so the hairs dont get trapped again. Dont use these products if you already have an ingrown hair, because they could irritate the area.
- Use a benzoyl peroxide cream. This ingredient found in OTC acne medicines can help dry up the affected area and reduce redness.
- Moisturize. A non-greasy moisturizer can get rid of dead skin cells, which often clog follicles and contribute to ingrown hairs.
- Tea tree oil kills bacteria and brings down swelling. Its sometimes used to treat acne, and it may also work for ingrown hairs. Mix the oil with water to dilute it, and apply using a cotton ball.
- Sugar is a natural exfoliator. Mix it with olive oil or honey to moisturize the skin and kill bacteria. Apply the paste in a circular motion, and then rinse with warm water.
- Baking soda helps to exfoliate and bring down inflammation in the skin. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of water. Use a cotton ball to apply it to your skin, and then rinse with cold water.
Home Remedies For Ingrown Hair In The Genital Area
There are several ingrown hair home treatment options you can try. Many people create homemade scrubs to remove dead skin cells. Some of the ingredients in an exfoliating scrub include the following:
- Sugar is a natural exfoliator. Mix a half-cup of sugar with olive oil to make a paste, and apply it in a circular motion. Let it sit for 10 minutes and wash it away with warm water.
- Coffee can help remove the top layer of skin without damaging the skin underneath.
- Salt is a wonderful choice when you want to remove rough, dry patches of dead skin.
- Baking soda can exfoliate and decrease inflammation in the skin. Mix in a teaspoon of baking soda with water, apply it on the irritated area, and rinse with cold water.
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Deterrence And Patient Education
In the vast majority cases of folliculitis, the only therapy needed is time, as most cases will resolve spontaneously. More severe cases can be managed medically with either antibiotic, antifungal, or anti-parasitic agents. Patients should be counseled on proper hygiene for the affected area as well as the use of warm compresses several times daily for up to 15 minutes on the affected area. Patients should also receive counsel against scratching or shaving the affected areas as this could cause increased irritation and could potentially spread the causative agent.
What Causes An Ingrown Hair
- Hair that is cut close to or below the follicular opening may have a sharp tip that can pierce the skin to cause an ingrown hair.
- Improper shaving techniques are the major cause of ingrown hairs.
- Other hair-removal methods, including waxing, as well as common friction from tight clothing, may worsen the situation.
- Although an ingrown hair is primarily caused by improper or aggressive hair removal, it sometimes occurs naturally as too much dead skin debris blocks the hair follicle opening, causing the hair to grow sideways.
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When To Seek Medical Treatment
Seek medical treatment immediately if any of the following occur: fever, swelling, redness, pain, chills or raw open sores at the site of the ingrown hair. A doctor can not only safely remove the ingrown hair, but they can properly identify the infection and prescribe the appropriate antibiotics to heal the affected area. Itâs better to be safe than sorry so if you have any question that an infection has gotten out of hand, please seek treatment.
These are just some of the dangers of ingrown hairs. For the safest health outcomes, never ignore the warning signs of a potentially infected ingrown hair. Infections caused by ingrown hairs can spread to other areas of the body and can lead to serious complications if left unchecked.
What Causes Folliculitis On The Scalp
Folliculitis on the scalp may develop if hair follicles are damaged. This can happen due to several factors, such as:
- Wearing helmets for a long time
- Shaving your head
- Bacterial infection
- Long-term application of topical antibiotics
- Using unchlorinated water in a hot tub or being in unclean water for a long time
- Consumption of few drugs such as corticosteroid
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Why Does Folliculitis Keep Coming Back
Folliculitis keeps coming back for one of two reasons. First, folliculitis keeps returning because the infection that causes folliculitis keeps returning. Chronic infections of any type require medical attention, but some, like fungal folliculitis, have routine flare-ups during warmer seasons and will require preventive treatment. Second, folliculitis can keep coming back if people persist in activities that either injure the hair follicles or expose them to infection. Improper shaving, poor hygiene, makeup, and using poorly maintained hot tubs or pools can result in repeated bouts of folliculitis.
Use Proper Shaving Technique
If youre going to shave with a blade, there are a few things to keep in mind to decrease your chances of ingrown hairs.
- Wait until after a warm bath or shower to shave. The warm water preps the skin and hair for an easier shave, says Dr. King.
- To reduce friction on the skin, always use shaving cream and a sharp blade.
- Use short, light strokes in the direction of your hair growth. Going against the grain can cut hair below the skin.
- After shaving, rinse your skin with cool water and pat dry.
Using an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help soothe shaving irritation. Dr. King likes Aquaphor® Itch Relief Ointment.
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Ingrown Hair Symptoms & Signs
Since the most common cause of ingrown hairs is cutting or removal of the hair below the level of the follicular orifice , it typically tends to occur on your face, neck, armpits, groin, and legs. The usual sign of this condition are multiple red to flesh-colored bumps, which can be tender or itchy and can become pustular. Sometimes it is possible to see the imbedded coiled hair on magnification.
An ingrown hair happens when the sharp tip of the hair curls back or grows sideways into the skin of the hair follicle. It is a benign condition, which usually appears as a small tan or sometimes pink bump under the skin. Often, a small pinpoint part of the underlying hair may be seen under the skin bump. In severe cases, multiple small red or pink little bumps at hair follicles may be seen on any skin area that normally grows hair.
An ingrown hair is a very common skin condition occurring primarily after puberty. Ingrown hairs tend to be more common in areas with coarse hairs, like the bikini area in women, and beard and neck in men. Individuals with thicker, tightly curled hairs, such as African Americans, tend to have the highest rate of problems with ingrown hairs, particularly in the beard area.
Rarely, ingrown hair may also appear in other skin parts, such as the eyelid or thighs. An ingrown hair is medically harmless, yet it may become cosmetically disfiguring and lead to scarring, skin discoloration , skin infection, and rarely keloidscar formation.
What Is An Ingrown Hair Infection And How Does It Come About
Once your hair curls back or grows back into the skin, it makes the tissues around it vulnerable to disease-causing agents such as bacteria and virus. These agents invade the tissues around the ingrown hair then continue to multiply. The reaction between your tissues and the by-products of the disease-causing agents is what results to an ingrown hair infection. Physicians say that the ingrown hair infection can crop up any time and continues to grow, if not treated in time.
The ingrown hair and the infection is mostly caused in the inner thighs, face, armpit and groin, which remain closed most of the time, thus making these areas pretty conducive for the bacterial and virus infection.
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Other Ingrown Hair Infection Home Remedies And Tips
Among the other remedies, that is in addition to use of heat, a mention must be made of the following
What Medications Are Used To Treat Ingrown Hair
Your healthcare provider may provide medications that can decrease inflammation and improve infections from ingrown hairs, including:
- Antibiotic ointment or pills.
- Prescription acne medications, like retinoids, to help remove dead skin.
- Steroid pills or creams help reduce inflammation.
For more serious cases, your healthcare provider may recommend other hair removal options, including:
- Electrolysis. This technique uses a tiny needle and a mild electrical zap to destroy your hair roots one by one. Each hair follicle requires treatment, so it may not be practical to use electrolysis over a large area of your body.
- Laser hair removal. In this technique, heat from a laser destroys cells that have a lot of pigment . This works best on dark hair.
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Ingrown Hair Boil/abscess Infection
How are boils different from ingrown hair bumps?
Boils caused by Staph infection are usually formed with pus. From the very beginning, they appear like rash filled with pus. On the other hand, the ingrown hair develops inside the skin making the epithelial tissue swollen. While it pushes back the skin inside, it becomes tender and a boil like structure or a mass like lesion is formed. However, if they are not infected, the formation of pus is very unlikely.
How do ingrown hairs result to boil infection and what can you do about it?
Ingrown hairs are a skin abnormality and hence the area is already vulnerable to the staph infection. As they grow inside, it feels like a raised bump onto the skin. If left untreated for a long time, you can get infected by the Staph bacterium.
What Is The Best Antibiotic For Folliculitis
Looking for an antibiotic to treat folliculitis? Folliculitis causes itching and tiny red bumps near where the hair grows that signals an infected hair follicle. When the hair follicle becomes infected, it could either be a fungal or a bacterial infection. While the condition isn’t too serious, an untreated infection can leave you with permanent damage to the hair follicle. Most cases clear on their own in a few days, but if it doesn’t clear up, you need to see your doctor. This article explains the different types of antibiotics used to treat folliculitis and how they are used.
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Infected Ingrown Pubic Hair
In many cases, ingrown hairs disappear on their own. If you have one that doesnt go away, it could become infected.
The signs of an infection include a darkening of the skin, swelling, redness, and painful bumps filled with pus. The chances of an infection increase if you scratch or pick at the sensitive area.
If you notice that your ingrown hair is infected, you should visit your health care provider. They can help treat it and may prescribe an antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics.