Infected Ingrown Hair – Causes and Treatment
An ingrown hair is typically formed by curling of hairs inside the skin. Ingrown hairs can be seen n face, legs, armpits and pubic region. These ingrown hairs can sometimes get infected. The infection happens at the hair follicles hence it is also called as folliculitis. These ingrown hairs result from tweezing, shaving and electrolysis which causes the hairs to become sharp and curly and pierce the skin.
Generally ingrown hairs are not harmful, they cause pain and inflammation which can be cured by home remedies and in certain cases needs medical attention.
How an ingrown hair becomes infected?
An ingrown hair may get infected because of dead skin cells. The dead cells cause hairs follicles to clog and the hair does not come-out and results in infected ingrown hair. Curly and coarse hairs are sharp and by nature they tend to curl-back underneath the skin.
How to differentiate between ingrown hair and infected ingrown hair?
Ingrown hairs usually are red and are painful. Infected ingrown hairs start as red bump which increases in size and with time one can find pus and increased intensity of pain. An infected ingrown hair is red, irritated, itchy and warm to touch.
How to treat infected ingrown hair?
Infected ingrown hairs can be treated by simple home remedies or by seeking professional advice
One can opt for simple home remedies to get rid of infected ingrown hairs such as
- Use a scrub to wash-off the dead skin cells and release the trapped hair.
- Application of tea tree oil to prevent infection
- Application of oatmeal-based lotions to soothe the skin
- Application of hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching
The infection which is not subsiding with simple home remedies, you can opt for allopathic treatment. The doctors can prescribe you antibiotics to get rid of infection and also prescribe you some OTC corticosteroids to deal with the inflammation and irritation.
- Take prescription antibiotic’s under medical supervision
- Use of antiseptic lotions such asaluminum chlorhydrate preparations to reduce inflammation and infection
- Use a hot moist towel or napkin to cover the infected ingrown hair. The warmth causes the ingrown hair to burst releasing the pus and infectious exudate. This helps in healing of wound and also infection
- Use antibacterial soap to wash the infected area. Use a neat and clean towel to dry the area
- Incase you are frequently facing the problem of Infected ingrown hairs, try to stop shaving frequently atleast for couple of months. Frequent application of antibiotics will not be of great help as they loose efficacy over a period. In such cases, few doctors also prescribe creams and ointments which prevent formation of ingrown hairs. Retinoids creams can be of great help, this cream helps in removal of dead skin cells where ingrown hairs cannot move-in to cause infection. In addition to prevention of ingrown hair formation, retinoid creams helps in healing scars.
If the infected ingrown hairs are a regular problem, discuss with your doctor whether you should opt for permanent hair removal techniques.
Should we remove infected ingrown hairs?
An ingrown hair typically subsides on their own and does not require any surgical procedure for the same, unless it is very painful and doctor advises for it. Incase of surgical removal of ingrown hairs doctor uses tweezers or needles to let the trapped hair free. But make a note that forceful removal of hair by digging the skin can result in scars and increase the severity of infection. The infection can spread to other parts of the body and there are chances of complications such as razor bumps, hyperpigmentation, permanent scarring, hair loss and damage of hair follicle.
Try to avoid removal of infected ingrown hairs, instead try using a good scrub and warm the area with warm water, use an antibacterial soap to get rid of infected ingrown hairs. These simple techniques help in easy self-removal of infected ingrown hair.
Can we prevent ingrown hairs or infected ingrown hairs?
Ofcourse we can prevent the formation of ingrown hairs and subsequent infection of ingrown hairs by following proper technique of shaving and utilizing sterilize razor.
How to get rid of ingrown hairs on legs?
Ingrown hairs are very much preventable by following proper shaving technique and using simple scrubs and creams.
Application of shaving cream: Wash your legs before you shave it. Add a good quality moisturizer to hydrate the skin. A smooth and adequately hydrated skin makes the razor blade to move smoothly on the legs. This also prevents cuts on the legs.
Exfoliation of skin: Many times, the skin is layered with dead skin cells. When shaving the legs, the sharp edges of the coarse hairs turn inside the skin producing bump, redness, itching and inflammation. Use a good quality of exfoliator and scrub to exfoliate the skin. Use of this exfoliator softens the skin and helps how to get rid of ingrown hairs on legs. The scrubs help in removal of dirt and debris. It keeps the pores open and also prevents appearance of dark spots on the skin.
Razor: Although you are taking all the necessary precautions such as application of shaving cream and exfoliation of skin, you may still develop ingrown hairs. This is because of the razor you use. If the razor does not move smoothly, then the hairs may get trapped in the skin. Always shave in the direction of hair not against it. Use a sharp blade and change the blade after each session. Use razors with skin guard to avoid cutting of the skin. Sterilize the razor with alcohol.
Dry brushing: Use a long bristled brush before shower to remove the dead skin cells. This helps in making the skin look soft and clear. Dry brushing is equally efficient as the scrubs. Make use of natural or non-synthetic bristle brush. Make sure you do not overuse it as it can cause irritation of the skin. A long handle brush increases the area of reach.
Aftershave cream: Use a good quality hydrating and refreshing cream on your legs after shaving. These creams help you to be hydrated and reduce clogging of pores. An alcohol free aftershave lotion will be a good option to prevent skin irritation.
Aspirin and herbal extracts: Incase the ingrown hairs are causing unbearable discomfort and pain, dissolve aspirin in small amount of water and apply it over the ingrown hair. This reduces pain and inflammation. You can also opt for aloe vera extract, coconut oil, tea tree oil and witch hazel. Highly inflamed ingrown hairs on legs can be treated with a topical steroid cream or ointment which soothes the skin.
Apple cider vinegar and also lemon juice which is available in every house, can be used for controlled the inflamed ingrown hair. Apply one of the agents with a cotton swab on the affected area.
Medical interventions: medication such as glycolic acid, aluminum block, hydrocortisone and antibacterial creams are effective in reducing pain and inflammation.
Physical Methods: Physical methods to sooth the skin include use of hot or cold press. This reduces the pain. The cold press causes numbness in the area and the hot press opens the clogged pores releasing the trapped hair from inside.
It is quite simple and easy to get rid of ingrown hairs on legs by following proper technique and safety tips.