Dead skin can sometimes clog up a hair follicle leading to a sideways growth of the hair rather than upward and outward. They can be painful especially if you have quite a number of them. You may notice pus inside the little bumps. Sometimes these ingrown hairs can occur on the legs, armpits and pubic area of women. But in men, you'll mostly see them on their chins, cheeks or neck after shaving.
Razors tend to tug and pull the skin to give you a close shave. Cutting hair very close to the skin surface can make the edges to get caught in the skin rather than growing out.
When skin cells are not removed from the skin, they usually prevent hair follicles from growing out of the skin. This makes the hair to grow sideways or backward because they cannot grow up.
While shaving, most people tend to stretch or pull the skin to get a close shave. When the skin is released, hair can get caught below the skin and result to an ingrown hair.
Other causes of ingrown hair include chemicals that irritate skin, fungal or bacterial infection, pore-clogging skincare products, makeup, dirt and grease.
A person can easily mistake Ingrown hair for acne, mainly because the symptoms are not only similar but also look alike.
A skin culture test is usually done since dermatologist too often find it had to distinguish ingrown hair and acne. This test will show if you are suffering from an infection either fungal or bacterial.
Identifying the problem is essential since the treatment regimen is different. Both ingrown hair and acne develop in hair follicles. The difference is that acne develops from oil buildups and dead skin that cause pore blockage. When the pore grows bigger, the materials inside spills into the surrounding skin and it becomes red, irritated and engorged.
On the other hand, an ingrown hair does not form a blockage. Instead, the hair grows back in the skin. The body then sees the hair as a foreign object and cause redness, abscess and swelling.
The final result is a bump that looks like acne, but it’s not the same thing.
After an infection, ingrown facial hair can become a cyst. An ingrown facial hair cyst is an unusual epithelium-lined sac that forms in the hair follicle. They are usually harmless and disappear after some time. Cysts are typically filled with liquid or semi-solid substance. Never try squeezing or popping ingrown facial hair cyst.
Having tightly curled hair is a significant risk factor for ingrown hairs.
Ingrown hairs usually appear in beard area including cheeks, chin and neck, on people who shave their head and also pubic regions, legs and armpits.
Signs and symptoms include:
When shaving, you can use the following tips to prevent ingrown hairs:
Other methods of hair removal such as a laser, electric current or creams that dissolve hair are likely to reduce the chances of developing ingrown hairs.
The three main principles of facial maintenance such as moisturizing, cleansing and exfoliation should be a priority.
Exfoliation should be done 2-3 times a week. It helps in reducing ingrown hairs by removing dead cells from the body and face. Cleansing should frequently be done than exfoliation.
Cleansing also serves as a great way of getting rid of dead cells. Lather the cleanser in a circular motion after wetting the neck and face with warm water. This dislodges all of the tips of ingrown hairs and gets rid of the dead cells and debris from the skin surface to give it the best chance to grow properly.
Moisturizing is a must, especially after exfoliation and cleansing. This is because exfoliation usually leaves the skin irritated and dry. Moisturizing reinfuses it with hydration and also reduces ingrown hairs.
Post shave balm aids in returning the skin to its natural state after a shave.
Beard oil is known to give relief and prevent ingrown hairs. It works by opening up skin pores and allowing bacteria and pus to get out of the skin.
Prepare your face for waxing by pressing a facecloth soaked in warm water to open up pores. This will prevent ingrown hairs later. After removing unwanted hair by waxing, you can use cold water or aftershave to repair and sooth the skin.
Most ingrown hairs do not need a visit to a doctor. However, if an ingrown hair is infected, red, swollen and is uncomfortable for more than four days, you may need to visit a dermatologist for antibiotics.
Home remedies are usually the best and safest way to get rid of ingrown facial hairs. You can make and exfoliate at home using sea salt, baking soda, olive oil and sugar.
For moisturizer, you can opt to use honey since its very useful and is a great way to cope with infections because of its antibacterial properties. Apply it twice a day, and it will loosen the skin and draw out the free end of the captured hair. Make sure that honey stays on your skin for 20-30 minutes until it dries out.
Ingrown hair on chin can be irritating and frustrating. However, they are usually harmless and will go down by themselves. Taking preventive measures helps in reducing ingrown hairs and makes shaving more enjoyable. If you are not able to self-treat, laser hair removal may offer lasting results and alleviate ingrown hair. This is especially for people that are prone to ingrown hair and do not respond to therapy.