What Are Ingrown Hairs?

Body hair removal is common practice all over the world. People remove hair from their body for cosmetic, cultural and hygienic purposes. The problem with body hair removal is that it can present a number of different side effects, one of which is the growth of ingrown hairs. This is a fairly common problem that is encountered by people who remove body hair. It basically refers to an undesirable condition where the hair curls back and grows sideways into the skin before breaking through the surface. This usually leaves a bump on the surface of the skin. The entire description may sound like a scene from a grotesque sci-fi movie, but ingrown hairs is a reality that many people around the world have to deal with on a daily basis. The growth of ingrown hairs does not take place in every single person who undergoes body hair removal. In most of the cases, the ingrown hairs are a rare occurrence and are deemed to be nothing more than a minor irritation. However, this hair growth defect can get really bad, really quick. They can be terribly bothersome as they become painful, visually unpleasant and even infected.

Some of the Possible Causes of Ingrown Hairs

Ingrown hairs grow when people are not careful about how they remove their body hair. If hair is cut haphazardly and if there are sharp ends left exposed, then you are likely to develop a significant amount of ingrown hair on your body. Poor maintenance of body hair is not the only reason why ingrown hairs appear. In certain cases, the hair follicles in different parts of a person’s body can become distorted. These distorted hair follicles give rise to ingrown hairs. When this happens, the hair curls back and starts to grow inside your skin, which can be a horrifying sight for anyone who is not accustomed to seeing ingrown hairs. Some other causes of ingrown hairs have been listed below:

1) An increased amount of embedded oil in the hair follicles

2) The lack of moisture in the skin

3) Use of a very sharp blade that damages the hair strands

4) Poor shaving techniques such as shaving too close or shaving against the flow of the hair growth

5) Accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface and in the pores of the skin which are known to cause irritation in the hair follicles

6) Hair removal processes such as waxing, electrolysis, shaving and tweezing

7) Hormonal imbalance can lead to ingrown hairs

8) People with curly or coarse hair are likely to develop this condition

9) Clogged hair follicles give rise to ingrown hairs

What Are Some of the Common Symptoms of Ingrown Hairs?

The symptoms of ingrown hairs differ from one individual to the other. The reason for that is because there are many different causes of ingrown hairs. Each cause produces a different type of symptom. Generally speaking, the symptoms can range from a minor irritation to infected pustules that could potentially bleed. In a lot of the cases, the bleeding pustules are confused with acne, even though there are significant differences between the two skin conditions. The infected, bleeding pustules tend to form long conventional shaving lines around neck, legs, armpits and face. If you are looking for some more symptoms of ingrown hairs, take a look at the list below:

1) Tenderness in the area that has been affected

2) Incessant tingling and itching

3) Rashes and discolouration of the skin

4) Mild to severe pain

5) The formation of a papule on the body which is caused by the inflammation of the hair follicles. (A papule is basically a small, raised, abnormality on the skin that is commonly referred to as a razor bump because it is usually formed by a razor cut)

6) The formation of pustules which is another name for a pus containing blister on the skin

7) Rupture of an infected pustule, leading to the appearance of blood

8) The appearance of hard, prominent and irregular bumps that turn into easily noticeable scars on the skin (this happens in chronic cases only)

Do Ingrown Hairs Pose Any Major Problems?

Normally, ingrown hairs should not be much of a problem for you. There are certain ways in which you can treat ingrown hairs. You can start by learning how to shave or remove your body hair without damaging the skin or the hair follicles. You need to shave in the right direction, use the proper shavers and reduce the frequency of shaving. Unless you change your ways, the ingrown hairs will soon grow into a major problem for you. This is particularly true when they become infected. Once you have infected hair ingrown hairs on your body, you have to deal with blood and pus on a regular basis. Under such circumstances, your best option is to fix an appointment with an experienced dermatologist who has handled cases of ingrown hairs before. Do not delay the treatment. You are advised to fix the problem as soon as you possibly can.