They itch, hurt, and look unattractive: ingrown hair. But how can you prevent them and what helps once they are there? And can they really lead to blood poisoning?
An ingrown hair is one of those aches and pains that can quickly become a problem. Because: it can itch, hurt and on top of that it looks very unattractive. Especially in summer, when women shave almost every day, the hair can become inflamed. But why is this actually so and what is the best thing to do then? We explain how hair does not grow in at all and give tips on what you can do if it does happen.
Ingrown hair: These are the causes
Ingrown hair is hair that curls and grows into the skin instead of out of it. This leads to pimple-like inflammation, which can itch and hurt. That is why this problem occurs mainly in people who have thick, curly, and unruly hair. This tends to curl so that it grows back into the skin.
The problem usually occurs after hair removal, the so-called razor pimples. If the hair on legs, arms, etc. has been shaved or epilated, the hair that grows back has a “sharper edge”. This makes it easier for it to penetrate the skin in the wrong direction, get stuck under the surface of the skin, and then continue growing. Another possibility of ingrown hairs can be dead skin flakes that clog the hair root, forcing the hair that is inside to grow sideways under the skin instead of out upwards.
Are some people more affected than others?
Unfortunately yes! Most commonly, ingrown hairs appear in people who have thick, curly or unruly hair. It tends to curl in a way that makes it grow into the skin rather than fine, straight hair.
Are there certain parts of the body that tend to have ingrown hairs?
Due to shaving, there are some areas of the body that are more prone to ingrown hairs than others, such as the armpits or the pubic area. In men, cheeks, chin, and neck can therefore also be affected.
Ingrown hair: How to prevent it?
The best way to prevent ingrown hair is to let it grow easily. Not shaving, plucking, or epilating any more is the best way to prevent ingrown hairs. If you still don’t want to do without it, you should consider the following for hair removal: Before hair removal, treat the skin with peelings to prevent pores from clogging. Then remove the hair in the direction of growth.
After peeling and shaving, apply a moisturizing lotion to the skin so that the hairs can grow out of the pores easily. If you want to solve the problem in the long term, we recommend permanent hair removal by laser.
The hair is already ingrown: What now?
If the areas are not irritating and do not disturb aesthetically, you can leave the ingrown hair alone: But if inflammation or even an abscess is imminent, it is said: Hands off and see a doctor!
The dermatologist can make a small incision in the skin with a sterile needle or scalpel to remove the ingrown hairs from the skin. Drugs with anti-inflammatory effects (cortisone) or antibiotic creams are also prescribed. Extra tip to remove dead skin cells and ingrown hairs from the skin: medical peelings.
The wrong way to deal with ingrown hairs: Can blood poisoning be the result?
There are often rumors that ingrown hair can lead to blood poisoning (sepsis) in the worst case. In most cases, this is rather unlikely. In general, however, the following applies: Caution is advised in the case of furuncles on the skin. These are inflamed, reddened, and pressure-painful lumps, often with a pus plug in the middle. These may have to be opened by a doctor, in the best case they open by themselves and drain off.
You should never try to open them yourself or initiate other treatment steps. Incorrect handling can lead to life-threatening blood poisoning. It is particularly dangerous in the lip, nose, and cheek area. Via the bloodstream around the nose area, bacteria can quickly enter the brain and cause infections.