Ingrown Hair Treatment; The Complete Guide
Ingrown hairs occur when hair grows back into the skin instead of out to the surface.
This can occur when the hair has been shaved, waxed, or removed from the hair follicle. When ingrown hair develops, you may notice a papule or pustule at the site. A papule is a small, round bump while a pustule is a small, pus-filled bump.
Sometimes you may have pain, redness, swelling, or itching at the site of the ingrown hair. Individuals with thicker hair tend to develop ingrown hair more often than individuals with thin, fine hair.
How to Prevent Ingrown Hair?
In order to prevent ingrown hair, you should always prime the area by washing it and applying cream prior to shaving. Always dry your skin before putting on your clothing, and try to use a single-bladed razor with a fresh blade. Dull blades can increase your chances of getting ingrown hair.
How to Get Rid of Ingrown Hair?
Once you have an ingrown hair, there are a few steps you should follow in order to help it heal:
1. Stop removing hair in the affected area. This includes waxing, shaving, or plucking hair in the area until the ingrown hair goes away. Shaving in the area will continue to irritate the ingrown hair. Scratching or picking at the ingrown hair could lead to infection or scarring.
2. Apply warm compresses to the area.
3. Gently wash and exfoliate around the ingrown hair to remove dead skin.
4. Once the area is healed and the hair emerges above the skin, use sterile tweezers to gently pull it out.
Ingrown Hair May Go Away
However, sometimes the hair won’t start to grow back up through the skin and you may need to treat it at home. There are a few over-the-counter and home remedies that can be used to relieve bumps and possibly prevent ingrown hairs.
– Tea tree oil is used to kill bacteria and reduce swelling. It is used to treat acne and should be mixed with water and applied using a cotton ball.
– Sugar is a natural exfoliator. It can be mixed with olive oil or honey to form a paste that kills bacteria and moisturize the skin. Apply the paste in a circular motion and rinse with warm water.
– Baking soda can help exfoliate and reduce inflammation. One tablespoon of baking soda should be mixed with 1 cup of water. A cotton ball should be used to apply it to the skin and then rinse the area with cold water.
– Use a benzoyl peroxide cream, typically found in OTC medication, on the affected area to help keep it dry and reduce redness.
– Use a non-greasy moisturizer to remove dead skin cells and prevent clogging of follicles, reducing the chance of ingrown hairs.
Ingrown Hair Treatments
If the ingrown hair is causing uncomfortable redness and inflammation, your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream that can reduce swelling and irritation around the hair.
Retinoids can also be prescribed in order to speed up the clearing of dead skin cells. If the ingrown hair gets infected, the bump that forms may be filled with pus and pain. In some cases, you may need to see a doctor for an antibiotic wash or ointment. If there is a severe infection, oral antibiotics may help. Always get the opinion of a board-certified doctor in order to determine which treatments may be right for you.
Can Cortisone Shots Help Ingrown Hair?
A cortisone shot may be recommended by your doctor if you have problematic ingrown hair. Your dermatologist may use cortisone shots to remove ingrown hair easily without any pain.
Once your doctor confirmed, a cortisone shot will be administered with precision to the base of the cyst enclosing the ingrown hair. This will help to decrease inflammation that is keeping the hair trapped below the skin within 48 hours and allow the hair to fall out with mild exfoliation. The treatment causes very little discomfort and will actually relieve pain when the swelling is reduced. Anyone that has ingrown hair can get this treatment. But we do not recommend making it a habit, as cortisone shots can come with side effects.
Do not receive treatment if you are allergic to cortisone, as this can cause a rash or other symptoms of an allergic reaction.
There are typically no side effects with one cortisone shot; however, it is possible that there may be a slight indentation at the site once the swelling has decreased. This will usually return to normal within a couple of months.
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