Ingrown hair is a skin condition that occurs when a person removes hairs with a razor, wax, or tweezers from some part of their body. In other words, an ingrown hair appears when it grows in the opposite direction and not upwards (as it usually should), causing it to remain inside the skin and create a small lump.
This type of hair usually appears more than anything in African American men and women with curly hair. However, it can happen to any kind of person who uses any of the hair removal methods.
Ingrown hairs are characterized by being coiled inside a small lump of skin that can produce pus, irritations, and in extreme cases, cysts.
Ingrown Hair Infection
Infected ingrown hairs are the result of adult hair that has regrown and buried itself in the skin, thereby causing inflammation and infection.
Many dermatology professionals sometimes call it folliculitis, an inflammation or infection that affects several human hair follicles. It usually occurs in places where hair grows (including the scalp) and appears in areas where friction is most common, such as the thighs, armpits, and neck.
Places where ingrown hairs appear:
- The chin (this is where the beard grows, and small bumps of skin with ingrown hairs always appear).
- The arms.
- The cheeks.
- The legs.
- The armpits.
- The neck.
- The pubic area.
- The scalp.
In any part of the body or area mentioned above, ingrown hair can become infected. Hair can be trapped deep in the skin or even close to the bump’s surface, where they can develop a yellow or whitehead (pus).
As for its size, it can vary in different ways. An infected ingrown hair can be large, hard, small, or soft.
Don’t worry about infected hair as it can heal on its own over time. However, there are times when infected ingrown hair does not improve even as time passes. In that case, you should go to a dermatology specialist to prescribe a remedy or, if necessary, to remove it with their tools.
Causes of Infected Ingrown Hair
Dead cells are a skin problem for everyone. Ingrown hairs can become infected as a result of this, as the cells can obstruct the hair follicles.
The most common areas where infected ingrown hairs originate are hair removal areas, such as the pubic region, face, and armpits. It also happens a lot in men, especially when they shave their beards, causing many of their hairs to grow inside the skin generating small lumps.
How Do I Know That I Have Infected Ingrown Hair?
It is very easy to recognize when the hair becomes infected. It usually starts as a red bump, and as the infection progresses, you can see that the bump grows further and fills with pus.
You can also notice the following around the infected area:
- Feeling of warmth when the bump is touched.
- The appearance of redness in the affected area.
- Swelling of the bump.
- You will start to feel itchy around the infected area.
How is Infected Ingrown Hair Removed?
Infected ingrown hairs usually heal on their own without the need to remove them through any natural product or technique.
It should be noted that in some circumstances, the hair can be removed with sterile needles or tweezers, but only if the hair is on the surface of the skin. Instead, digging too deep into the area is only going to increase the risk of infection.
It is essential to mention that if you try to remove the hair while it is infected, you may run the risk of further complicating it.
Wanting to remove infected ingrown hair on your own with tweezers or even your fingers is very risky. It can increase the chances of infection since it exposes the follicle to bacteria.
You can use soap and warm water while rubbing gently on the infection. If you do this, the bump will weaken, and the hair will heal on its own.
Other possible complications caused by infected ingrown hairs:
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin (in this case, the infected area)
- The hair follicle weakens and disappears.
- Hair loss.
- Permanent scars on the surface.
How Can I Prevent the Appearance of Infected Ingrown Hairs on My Skin?
You can decrease the risk of infected ingrown hairs appearing by doing the following:
Use the Water
You must wash the area you are going to shave very well, and wetting it before shaving will prevent bacteria from entering your skin.
You need to change your blade from 5 to 7 shaves. On the other hand, if you leave it for a long time, you run the risk of more ingrown hairs appearing on your skin, and in most cases, they will be infected hairs.
Make sure the blade is sharp, as blunt blades cause the skin to become irritated and create infected ingrown hairs.
It is very important that you shave the hair on your skin in the direction of hair growth.
Use shaving gel or creams every time you want to shave. It is necessary since it prevents the skin from being irritated and scratched. Also, use these products along with warm water. After finishing the shave, apply lotion or a moisturizer to the area.
Treatment of Infected Ingrown Hairs
You can use home remedies if the infection is mild. Tea tree oil is an excellent home remedy to treat infected ingrown hairs on your skin. Mix the oil with a little water and gently rub over the affected area with a small towel.
You can also use oatmeal-based lotions to soothe irritated skin and repeatedly washing and rubbing the infected area to force hair out of the skin.