Ingrown Hair: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention
There are a few ingrown hair treatments that can be done to help those suffering from ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs are hairs on the body that have curled around, growing back down into the skin. Ingrown hairs can pop up on any individual, however, it typically occurs in individuals that have course or curly hair. Individuals that have a high level of sex hormones are also susceptible to getting ingrown hairs. Common places to get ingrown hairs include the legs, armpits and pubic region on females and in males, on the chin, cheek, and neck after shaving. Symptoms of ingrown hairs include itching skin with a rash, hair that remains on the skin after shaving, and an infection and/or pus under the skin. The area will often look like that of a pimple, being raised and red in colour.
What are some ingrown hair treatments?
Many times ingrown hairs will resolve themselves. However, if the ingrown hair does not go away, it can become infected. It may also darken the skin, or leave a scar. If the ingrown hair does become infected or it becomes bothersome, one will have to resort to an ingrown hair treatment. There are a few ways that a doctor can treat the ingrown hairs. These methods include:
- Steroid medication is a common used ingrown hair treatment that is rubbed into the skin to help with irritation and swelling. Applying topical treatments to the skin may also help to treat the skin bump, which will give the hair more room to grow how hair was intended to grow.
- Antibiotics may be taken orally or applied topically to treat an infection of the ingrown hair.
- Waxing is a common ingrown hair treatment. A patch of either hot or cold wax can be used on the skin and once dried, it is plucked off the skin, removing hair. This is a fast method, however, a disadvantage is that it could be very painful. The process only lasts about 6 weeks, giving ingrown hairs time to grow again.
- Retin A may be prescribed to remove any dead skin cells. This will also reduce the skin’s pigmentation changes that occur in some individuals.
- Electrolysis can be used as an ingrown hair treatment. An electric needle will pierce the hair follicle, in which case the root will be destroyed. This treatment is permanent (hair rarely grows back), and has been approved by the FDA. One of the disadvantages of this ingrown hair treatment is that electrolysis is very costly. Other disadvantages include the treatment can discolour the skin and the treatment is very time consuming.
Is there anything an individual can do to prevent having an ingrown hair treatment?
To prevent the likelihood of having an ingrown hair treatment, one can try the following:
- Use a single use razor that is sharp. Throw away after use.
- Men should rub the face in a circular motion everyday with a wet washcloth or a gentle exfoliant.
- Wet the skin with warm water and apply a lubricating gel prior to shaving.
- If an individual prefers to use an electric razor, hold the razor just above the surface of the skin.
- Shave the hair in the shame direction as it grows.
- After every few passes, rinse the razor blade out well with water.
- To reduce irritation, one should use a cool wet washcloth to gently wipe the skin down after shaving.
- Try to leave some stubble on the skin to avoid shaving too closely to the skin.
- Use less strokes when shaving. Using less strokes will reduce the chance of the hair slipping into the skin again.