An annoyance that can cause serious problems: The hairs that are incarnated in the skin
Strange bulges have arisen in your face. They are not exactly pimples. It is not acne either. Will they be ingrown hairs?
Ingrown hairs are hairs that have been rolled up and have grown back on the skin instead of rising over it.
Sometimes, dead skin can clog a hair follicle. That forces the hair inward, to grow under the skin, instead of up and out.
Sometimes, naturally curly haircut will result in ingrown hairs.
Intimate hairs are not serious. But they can be irritating and shameful.
What does an ingrown hair look like?
A red hair irritates the skin. It produces a raised, red bump (or group of bumps) that look like small pimples.
Sometimes a red hair can create pain and can even form sores that hurt.
Ingrown hairs can cause itching and discomfort, especially if it is not just one, but you have a lot of them.
You can notice pus inside the bumps. Or you can see that the hair is causing the problem.
In men, ingrown hairs often appear as a bunch of small bumps on the chin, cheeks or neck after shaving.
In women, ingrown hairs are common in the legs, as well as in the pubic area and armpits. They can also have them in the buttocks.
Anyone can suffer from this problem, but it is more common in people who have very curly or thick hair.
Curly hair is more likely to bend back and re-enter the skin, especially after being shaved or cut.
In addition, people with high levels of certain sex hormones may have excessive hair growth, which makes them more susceptible to ingrown hairs, especially after shaving.
Many African-Americans, Latinos, and people with thick or curly hair develop a type of ingrown hair called pseudofolliculitis.
Pseudofolliculitis more commonly known as “razor injuries”, this collection of small bumps is common in the area of the beard after shaving, or have used tweezers to remove unwanted hair.
Hair that grows back has a sharper edge, so it can more easily be pushed back through the skin and get trapped under the surface.
Often, a hair that will become red will disappear on its own. If it does not go away it can get infected, darken the skin, or leave a scar, especially if it has been scratched.
If an ingrown hair is bothering or has become infected, the doctor may make a small cut on the skin with a needle or a sterile scalpel to release it. The doctor may also prescribe medications such as:
- Steroid medications that are rubbed on the skin to reduce inflammation and irritation.
- Retinoids (Retina A) to remove dead skin cells and reduce changes in skin pigment that can occur from ingrown hairs.
- Oral or topical antibiotics on the skin to treat an infection.
There is no real treatment, apart from letting the beard grow. Longer hairs are not as sharp at the ends, so they will not be as likely to coil and burrow into the skin.
But for men who prefer a clean shave – or women – avoiding the razor may not be an option.
To prevent this discomfort, try these tips every time you shave:
- Every day, rub the face in a circular motion with a wet wipe or an exfoliant.
- Wet the skin with warm water before shaving and apply a lubricating gel.
- Shape in the same direction that the hair grows.
- Use the few movements of the razor as possible. That diminishes the possibility of a hair buried in the skin.
- Rinse the blade with water after each shave.
- If you are using an electric razor, hold it lightly on the surface of your skin.
- Apply a cool cloth to your skin after shaving to reduce irritation.
- You can also try other methods of hair removal that are less likely to produce ingrown hairs: these methods include depilatory creams that dissolve the hair, and a laser or electric current (electrolysis) to permanently remove the hair follicle.
When an ingrown hair develops, you may notice small round bumps called papules or if they are filled with pus they are called pustules.
In some cases, the surrounding skin may become darker. This is known as hyperpigmentation. You may also experience pain or itching around the area.
People with thick, curly hair tend to develop ingrown hairs more often than people with fine hair.
This is especially true with pubic hair, which tends to be thicker than the hair on the head or the rest of the body.
How to treat ingrown pubic hair
In most cases, the pubic hairs do not require treatment. That’s because they can disappear on their own without treatment.
Occasionally, however, treatment may be necessary. The following treatment options may be useful:
Stop removing hair in that area.
Stop applying wax, shave the hair in that area until the inguinal pubic hair is removed. Such treatments will only further aggravate the sensitive area.
Scratching or removing ingrown hair will also make the discomfort worse. It could even lead to a skin infection or leave a scar.
Remove the dead skin.
Gentle washing and exfoliation around the ingrown hair can help it come to the surface of the skin. If that does not work, the doctor may prescribe a medication that can help the dead skin cells disappear more quickly.
Retinoids, such as tretinoin (Renova, Retin-A), can accelerate the clearance of dead skin cells. They can also help clear up the dark skin patches that occurred due to ingrown hair.