Healthy Living

Treatments for Ingrown Hair: Do I Need Surgery?

Treatments for Ingrown Hair: Do I Need Surgery?

Key Takeaways

  • Ingrown hairs are caused by cyst-like cavities that trap hair that grows abnormally into the skin instead of growing out of the follicle. 
  • Surgery becomes the only option where the bump or cyst is unusually large and happens to be located in a sensitive site under the arms or beneath the bikini line. 
  • If the condition is widespread and recurring in nature, surgery may not be the right option. 

Ingrowing hairs are cyst like cavities that trap hair that grows abnormally into the skin instead of growing out of the follicle. They form almost anywhere in the body but are usually seen at sites where hair is removed through shaving, waxing or peeling. Their presence is visually distracting, the zits are very painful, and they can develop serious infections if neglected.

Surgical as an option for permanent ingrown hair removal

Surgery becomes the only option where the bump or cyst is unusually large and happens to be located in a sensitive site under the arms or beneath the bikini line. Surgery becomes less attractive when the condition is widespread and chronic, affecting larger swathes of skin.

A sterilized needle is used to incise the cyst after applying local anesthesia. Blood and pus cells are drained away to expose the curled up hair. The ingrown hair is gently removed. Topical antibiotics are administered and the wound is covered with medicated dressing. The patient can resume activity almost immediately following the surgery.

Non-surgical treatments that alleviate ingrown hair symptoms

If the condition is widespread and recurring in nature, surgery may not be the right option. The individual needs to explore other treatments that may be more time consuming but are less invasive.

ü Tackling inflammation using hormones

Inflammation is the chief symptom of an ingrown hair, and it keeps the skin surface reddened, rough and painful. This often leads to massive irritation and itching which if indulged worsens the problem.  Corticosteroids are a group of hormones that are typically applied as topical creams. They quickly bring down inflammation. The only drawback to prolonged use is the prevalence of side effects.

ü Killing pain and fighting infection

Painkillers such as ibuprofen and Tylenol are useful in combatting pain especially when ingrown hairs disturb you in sensitive areas like the armpits and pubic area. If you are free of blood disorders, you could take aspirin.

The immediate risk of ingrowing hair is catching an infection that would eventually spread. Antibiotics are commonly administered as topical creams to bring down the infection.

ü Reducing the thickness of skin, preventing dead cell accumulation

Hardening of the outer layer of skin is one of the chief reasons encouraging ingrown hair.  Variants of the vitamin A group are applied as a cream encouraging new skin cell growth, and thinning of the skin’s upper layer. The removal of dead cells and growth of new skin cells lessens the chances of hair growing inward.

ü Using electrical energy to short circuit bumps

In this procedure, tiny needle-shaped electrodes piercing the skin are used to deliver electric currents that destroy the root of the hair. This arrests hair growth permanently in targeted areas. The sole inhibiting factor is the higher cost and longer time taken for treatment to deliver results.

ü Bombarding hair follicles with extremely low temperatures

Argon or nitrogen gas are focused on follicles under extremely low temperature to freeze and kill hair roots. Recovery is generally speedy with minimal side effects. But it is expensive and needs skilled handling to minimize damage to surrounding tissues.

Attempting home-based solutions to tackle ingrown hair

Very often, these are the best remedies as they can be done on your own with minimal side effects and maximum cost savings.

ü Application of heat

Heating pads and hot water bottles applied to affected areas over a layer of cotton fabric immediately relieve itching and irritation. The heat makes the skin softer, paving the way for more intensive treatments. Heat improves blood circulation and gives a helping hand to the healing process.

ü Tweezing the hair out of the follicle

Clean the skin with an alcoholic swab, and apply a warm compress to soften the targeted area. Pinch the skin around the follicle to raise the ingrown hair. Use sterilized and needle pointed tweezers to gently pierce the skin over the follicle and remove the curly ingrown hair. The procedure has to be performed in sterile surroundings using sanitized instruments to avoid infection.

ü Leveraging the healing power of table sugar

Take a small measuring cup and fill it with sugar and olive oil mixed in equal proportions. Cleanse the affected skin and apply warm compress. Then gently scrub the area with the sugary paste. The sugar crystals exfoliate dead cells, releasing glycolic acid into the epidermis which helps rejuvenate the tissue.

 

Baking Soda : Baking soda has anti-inflammatory properties which has a soothing effect on the skin. It gives relief from itching by exfoliating the skin and also reduces redness caused by ingrown hair.

How to apply it: All you need is one tablespoon of baking soda and one cup of water. Leave it on for five minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Repeat two or three times daily as needed.

You can also make a homemade scrub with one teaspoon each of baking soda and ground oatmeal and one tablespoon of water. Mix the ingredients together to create a paste. Apply it gently on the skin and leave it on for not more than five minutes. Then rinse it off with lukewarm water and gently pat the skin dry. Follow this remedy twice daily as needed.

 

Honey: Honey, not only moisturizes your skin, but it also acts as a good antiseptic and reduces swelling and inflammation. Apply a layer of honey directly to the affected area and leave it for ten minutes. Rinse it off with cold water afterwards. Repeat this remedy 2-3 times a day.

 

Cucumber: Cucumber contains lots of water, which helps deal with pain, irritation, skin inflammation, redness and swelling. The method is very simple. Refrigerate the cucumber for about half an hour . Take it out and cut into slices. Apply these slice on the affected area with the help of a ball of cotton. This procedure must be carried out until the symptoms subside.

 

Aloe vera : This is one of  the most effective herbal remedy to prevent ingrown hair. It soothes the affected area and provides instant relief from itching, redness and inflammation. It also keeps the skin moisturized and fasten ups the healing process.