Ingrown hair is something between a pimple and a strange bump, which is also not a hive. It is itchy, painful, and red, and when the itching is too much the bump becomes swollen. Inside the bump, you can notice a papule or a pustule that has a hair strand on the inside. There also might be pus inside the bump. The condition worsens depending on general health, genetics, and lifestyle habits of an individual.
Ingrown hair happens when shaving is done the wrong way, causing new hair to lose its way to the surface of the skin. It also occurs when dead skin cells block hair pathways, forcing the hair to take a different direction under the skin. The problem commonly occurs among people with very curly or coarse hair. Curly hair bends back and re-enters the skin if it is cut too closely during shaving.
Some people have high levels of sex hormones that trigger excessive hair growth even on the face, which is a predisposing factor to ingrown hairs, especially after shaving.
People with thick hair are more at risk of developing pseudofolliculitis, or what is referred to as “razor bumps,” common on the beard area after tweezing, shaving, or waxing to remove unwanted hair. Hair that grows back usually has a sharper edge, which makes it easier for the hair to poke backward and get trapped under the skin.
Dry skin is also a predisposing factor for ingrown hair because lack of moisture weakens the skin’s defense mechanism and natural healing capabilities.
Ingrown hairs are a common occurrence from time to time, but when it becomes chronic, it becomes necessary to look for the real source of the condition and avoid treating the symptoms.
Usually, an ingrown hair will disappear on its own. If it fails to go away, it can become infected, cause the skin to darken, or cause a scar if you keep picking at it. Since the condition can be bothersome once infected, it is always advisable to seek treatment. A doctor will make a small incision on the skin using a sterile scalpel or needle. The incision is made to loosen the trapped hair and release it.
As you try out these options, remember that there is no one treatment for ingrown hair other than to grow the beard. Long hair is unlikely to break through the skin because it has no sharp ends. Unfortunately, avoiding the razor may not be an option for men who prefer to have a clean facial shave.
Since the primary culprit for ingrown hair is shaving, you can use some tricks to ensure that you reduce the chances of having an ingrown hair after trimming it:
It is also advisable to apply other methods of getting rid of facial hair, which will reduce the chances of producing ingrown hairs. Such methods include the use of depilatory creams that make the hair fall off. Besides, there is also the electric current method that can remove hair follicles permanently.
There is a lot of resemblance between acne and ingrown hair. The symptoms are almost similar, and they also look alike. Most men who think have they have acne are in most cases suffering from ingrown hairs.
For effective treatment, it is crucial to identify the problem that you are dealing with to avoid using the wrong medication for the wrong condition. Both conditions develop in the hair follicles, but acne is formed from oil build-up and dead skin that causes blockage of the skin pores. As the orifice fills up with dead skin and other foreign material, the contents spill into the surrounding skin, causing it to become irritated, swollen, and red. Ingrown hair does not cause pore blockage.
The body detects the ingrown hair as an invader, causing redness and swelling, and the result is a bump that resembles acne, but which in actual sense is different.
Overall, the most important thing is to take care of your skin to avoid cases of ingrown hair. Exfoliating the skin, using moisturizers, and applying beard oil are simple procedures that can be followed daily to keep ingrown hair away.