Thursday, July 23

Ingrown hair causes - Ingrown hair symptoms

  ›     ›   Ingrown hair causes and symptoms
What is ingrown hair?
Ingrown hair occurs when the sharp, cut-end of thick hair grows sideways, at an abnormal angle, penetrating into the dermal skin.
Quite often the condition resolves by itself without any clinical symptoms. In some persons ingrown hair may cause small pimple-like bumps with symptoms like reddening, inflammation, pain and pus formation. Though in most of the cases, the ingrowth involves the skin areas which are shaved, tweezed or waxed, it can occur in any hairy part on the body.

Ingrown hair causes

Pseudofolliculitis barbae

Pseudofolliculitis barbae, a type of extensive ingrowth, occurs in persons with thick, coarse hair. It is a common chronic inflammatory disorder in men of African ancestry, occurring most often in regions of thick hair growth after shaving. The condition causes erythematous papules with symptoms of pain and pus formation. A common polymorphism in a keratin gene (K6hf) may be a genetic risk factor for pseudofolliculitis barbae type of ingrowth.

Ingrown hair symptoms

In most of the conditions, the symptoms may be limited to small reddish bumps. The symptoms like rash, tenderness and itching skin may also appear. Infected ingrowth may present symptoms such as pimple like inflammation, raised large bumps, abscesses and pruritic erythematous pustules. Certain other medical conditions like folliculitis, keratosis pilaris and furuncle may mimic the symptoms and are to differentially diagnosed.
image of ingrown hair
Ingrown hair
Common signs and symptoms include:
  • inflammation,
  • papules,
  • pustules,
  • hyperpigmentation,
  • rash,
  • pain,
  • pruritus and
  • embedded hairs in the site.

Ingrown hair treatment

Avoiding shaving for two to three weeks may causes the existing bumps to resolve. Extrafollicular ingrowths can usually be tweezed gently and cut above the skin level. Transfollicular ingrowths as well as ingrowths with symptoms of pus and severe inflammation may require medical treatment. Chemical depilatories, topical creams, laser therapy or surgical removal are the other treatment options available.

Ingrown hair prevention

The best way to prevent the ingrowth is to refrain from shaving or using a beard trimmer. If shaving is necessary, wetting the skin with warm water and using a shaving gel may prevent the hair strand from getting pulled and getting cut close to the root. Avoiding shaving close to skin will enable the cut ends to grow out of the follicle smoothly. Shaving against the direction of the growth of strand must be avoided to prevent ingrown hair.
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References on ingrown hair:
1.Ribera M, Fernández-Chico N, Casals M. [Pseudofolliculitis barbae]. Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2010 Nov;101(9):749-57.
2.Alexis A, Heath CR, Halder RM. Folliculitis keloidalis nuchae and pseudofolliculitis barbae: are prevention and effective treatment within reach? Dermatol Clin. 2014 Apr;32(2):183-91.
Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eingewachsenes_Haar_2010.jpg
Image author: LBPics | Image license: CC BY-SA 3.0
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