Has a burgundy bump sprung up on your countenance, armpit or pelvic line? Men sometimes notice a pimple-like protrusion on their buttocks or inner thighs. Relax, it is nothing to fear. The mysterious pimple-like blemish is probably on an ingrown hair. Now you are wondering, how do you know if you have an ingrown hair? Please continue reading to learn about these pesky imperfections.
What is an Ingrown Hair?
Our bodies are covered with animallike fur (humans are primates). Some are fine and others are very coarse. Your hair typically grows upwards and protrudes through the skin’s surface, but with an ingrown hair, it curls and grows downward causing a mild skin infection.
Pustules occur on areas of the body that experience a friction burn from skin rubbing against surfaces or coming into contact with clothing. Especially when combined with perspiration during a workout, jogging, bike riding, or using gym equipment.
Causes of Ingrown Hairs
If you shave your face, neck, chest, or bikini line then you are probably familiar with a ‘razor burn’. This slang term denotes ingrown hairs that spring up after shaving.
Curly and Coarse Hair: Who doesn’t adore ringlets? Unfortunately, if you have naturally curly hair, then you are more prone towards ingrown hairs. This is especially true of African Americans, Aboriginal Australians, and Latinos. The hair curls even inside of the follicle which makes it more prone towards taking a U-turn instead of busting out.
Tight Clothing: Skinny jeans, spandex tights, and lycra form-fitting apparel might look fabulous but they can scrape your skin with agitation. Another dilemma is elastic in underwear that rubs against the bikini line. Polyester materials allow no air circulation so your pores cannot breathe.
Tugging Skin: If you are pressing the razor’s head hard into your skin then you scraping the surface. A dull razor causes irritation. Waxing is a more practical option if you are susceptible to razor bumps. If you use a razor, then use a thick shave gel. Also, always use a new razor fresh out the package with pristine blades. Never use a razor past six to eight uses because the blade can become dull.
Pulling the Wrong Direction: You must always shave or wax with hair growth. First, apply a pre-shave foam to the skin to soften the stubble. If you are using a waxing kit, then choose a premium at-home package. Nowadays, you can obtain a sugaring formula which is an all-natural gel formulated from a mixture of water, lemon, and crystalized sugar powder. The gel adheres to the hairs and does not stick to the skin. Most people prefer removing hairs with this formula because it hurts less than hot waxes. It lifts the hair out of the follicle all the way to the core.
Exfoliation: Wait two days after hair removal to exfoliate the skin. Using a washcloth, bristled brush, sponge, or loofah and an antiseptic body wash, smooth the soap across the skin’s surface in a circular fashion. This motion relaxes and closes the pores.
How do You Know if You Have an Ingrown Hair? Identification Tips?
Here are a few tips on how to identify an ingrown hair:
- Appears as a singular or group of raised, bright red or pinkish bumps.
- Maybe painful to the touch
- Looks similar to a traditional pimple but usually smaller
- Could develop a pus pustule in the center
- On rare occasions, could grow into an uncomfortable boil
- Develops on the face, legs, pubic region, buttocks, armpits, thighs, and neck
Learning How to Take Care of an Ingrown Hair
You are almost a hundred percent positive you have developed an ingrown hair. The unsightly bump or series of bumps look embarrassing because you worry that people might think you have a disease or if the nodules are located in the crotch area, then you are afraid people will assume you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Tips on Treating an Ingrown Hair
Here are a few tips on how to take care of an ingrown hair:
Give it Time: You probably don’t want to hear this advice because you want a quick fix, but if you wait, then your body will heal itself.
Steroid Topical: If the ingrown hair is extremely inflamed, then you can rub a pearl-sized glob of topical steroid on the lesion to help reduce the swelling and redness.
Retinoids (Retin A): Even after the lesion has healed, there might still be skin discoloration. Brownish red, purple, or dark brown spots may mar the skin’s color. Applying retinoids will help remove the darkened pigment.
Oral and Topical Antibiotics: If the ingrown hairs are extremely painful because of infection and appear to be morphing into boils then you’ll want to consult your physician to obtain a prescription for oral or topical antibiotics.
Tweeze the Lesion: Using a sterilized pair of tweezers you can try to break through the top of the bump and pull out the twisted hair. This process might be overly painful but will quickly clear up the infection. However, you also risk making the area more inflamed and irritated if you are unsuccessful at retrieving the forlorn hair.
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