Infected Ingrown Hair Cyst Symptoms, Treatment and Removal

Ingrown hair may be a benign condition but it at times develops variations that require in-depth knowledge to distinguish. For example, how do you tell apart an ingrown hair from a cyst? Is it possible for a hair to develop into a cyst? Below we look at these minute details and delve, in details, in the murky world of infected ingrown hair cyst. We also explore various treatments ingrown and removal procedures for infected cyst from ingrown hair.

Infected Ingrown Hair Cyst

Ingrown hairs are hairs that fail to grow out of the skin and instead curl back into the skin or sideways. This could occur when hair follicles get clogged by dead skin cells and dirt thus forcing the growing hairs to the side. Once this happens, you may notice some strange bumps developing on the area of a hair follicle. An ingrown hair results in formation of red bumps that take the appearance of pimples and at times they could form painful boil like sores. 

While anyone can get ingrown hairs, people with coarse and curly hair are more vulnerable. For men, ingrown hair is common on the beard after it has been groomed. Women usually experience them on the legs, pubic area and the armpits.

Can Ingrown Hair Become or Cause Cysts? – Ingrown Hair vs. Cyst

While these may be hard to tell apart, there are various differences between a normal cyst and an ingrown hair cyst.
  • An ingrown hair cyst has hairs embedded in them that are then surrounded by fluid as opposed to normal cysts that have no hair.
  • While ingrown hair cysts occur as a result of hair being shaven and growing back into the skin, cysts usually result from infections, inflammations and tumors on the skin.
  • Usually, ingrown hair cysts are small in size as opposed to other cysts which may grow into large bumps on the skin.

Infected Ingrown Hair Cyst

Now that we know how an ingrown hair cyst looks like, is it possible for it to get infected and how do you tell when it is? Shaving cuts hair off leaving it with a sharp tip. Persons with curly and coarse hair may have their hair growing back into the skin or curling sideways instead of growing straight out of the skin. When this happens, the skin perceives the ingrown hair as a foreign object and sends red blood cells to the area to fight it. 

This results in inflammation of the skin which is seen in the reddening of the area. When this happens, the white blood cells are called to work and form a layer around the ingrown hair but these do not last for long as they soon die. This is what results in formation of pus which is seen as a white or yellow fluid around the infected ingrown hair cyst. Depending on the extent of the infection, the pus may be smelly or not. The pus will pop on its own if left to be.

Symptoms of Infected Ingrown Hair Cysts

Now that we know what an ingrown hair cyst looks like,
  • Redness of the surrounding skin
  • Itchiness
  • Pain
  • Skin irritation
  • Tenderness
  • Pus
  • Skin bump

Causes of Infected Ingrown Hair Cysts

Anything that can lead to ingrown hairs leaves room for development of cysts from the same and with these the likelihood for an infection. These are discussed in details below.

Poor Hair Removal Techniques

Whether your preferred hair removal on the scalp, face, legs, groin or bikini area is shaving, waxing or plucking, doing the procedure improperly increases the chances of getting ingrown hairs and razor burns. How the ingrown hairs are attended to after they form determines whether there will be further development of ingrown hair cysts.

Cystic Acne

People who are prone to acne vulgaris tend to also suffer cystic acne. This occurs when bacteria gets trapped within a pore together with dead skin cells and dirt. When the bacterial infection gets deep into the skin, it results in a red, tender bump that sits deep in the skin and is full of pus. This is what is then referred to as cystic acne. 

Where cystic acne results in inflamed hair follicles, there is formation of a tough scab on the skin which prevents the pore from draining. Ingrown hair cysts are bound to occur in such a situation. These are most common on the face.

Poor Hygiene

This is yet another reason why you may get an infected ingrown hair cyst. Once an ingrown hair forms, it should be treated with care to avoid infections. Picking at the cystic bump with dirty hands or even try to urge the ingrown hair out with unsterilized equipment could see an infection erupt. In addition, failure to adopt proper personal hygiene increases the chances of infections through the accumulated dust which will favor multiplication of microorganisms.

Folliculitis

Hairs grow out of hair follicles, which are tiny pouches. Folliculitis is the inflammation of hair follicles. It may be caused by bacteria, yeast or fungus and is most common on the legs, buttocks, arms, back and the beard. It occurs when the hair follicles get damaged, a scenario that may be precipitated by wearing clothes that rub on the skin and irritate the hair follicles, shaving, makeup and sweat. Once hair follicles become damaged, it becomes easy for them to become infected resulting in infected ingrown hair cysts as well.

Staph Infection

Staph infection is caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Occurring naturally on the skin, this bacteria rarely causes problems. However, when there is an injury to the skin, which is usually a cause for ingrown hair as well, the opening created allows for the staph bacteria to enter the skin. When this happens at the entry point of a hair follicle, an infected ingrown hair cyst will occur. In addition to the ingrown hair cyst bump, the skin will be red, tender, warm and swollen. 

Infected Ingrown Hair Cyst Treatment – How to Get Rid of an Infected Ingrown Hair Cyst

Wondering how to get rid of your infected ingrown hair cyst and whether it will heal itself? In most cases, these hair cysts resolve with basic home care. Well if that is the case, how long does it take for an ingrown hair cyst to go away? This will depend on an individual and other underlying factors. There are times, though, when medical intervention may be necessary. 

When dealing with an infected ingrown hair cyst, there are two things to bear in mind; the treatment of the infection as well as removal or getting rid of the ingrown hair. It is important to note that mishandling the two could lead to serious consequences and a worsening of the infection. Below are various ways to handle the ingrown hair cyst.

Infected Ingrown Hair Cyst Treatment

1. Wash the Area with Antibiotic Soap

Keeping the infected area clean is important as it will wade off infection causing microorganisms as well as prevent reinfection. Clean the infected ingrown hair cysts on your pubic line, underarms or face with an antibiotic soap regularly. Once done, ensure you use a clean towel to dry the area thoroughly. Tap your skin dry as opposed to rubbing as the latter could result in further skin irritation.

2. Apply Antibiotic Ointments

These are necessary to rid the ingrown hair off infections. They will also help to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the skin. For minor infections, over the counter medication will be enough. Serious infections may however require that your dermatologist prescribes the antibiotics.

3. Use a Hot Compress

Hot compresses tend to open up the pores thus giving the ingrown hairs room to penetrate the skin’s surface. They also aid draining any discharge that may be encompassed in the cyst as a result of the infection. Dip a clean wash cloth in hot water and hold it on the ingrown hair until it gets cold. Repeat for about three times and use the hot compress regularly until the ingrown hair starts to be visible from the surface of the skin.

4. Soothe the Skin

To help soothe the skin with an infected ingrown hair cyst, there are a few home remedies you can apply. Aloe vera gel is a great herbal remedy for infected cyst from ingrown hair. Witch hazel, benzyl peroxide tea tree oil and rubbing alcohol can also offer relief from the symptoms of infection.

How to Remove or get Rid of an Ingrown Hair from an Infected Cyst

When an ingrown hair cyst becomes infected, it is best to leave the hair allow. This is because efforts to remove the ingrown hair could see the infection worsen which could in the long run leave you with a scar. If you feel inclined to remove the ingrown hair, here is how to:
  1. Use the treatment methods discussed above and once the warm compresses yield results such that you can now see the ingrown hair, use a pair of sterilized tweezers to pull out the hair.
  2. After the ingrown hair is out on the skin surface, do not stop treating the ingrown hair cyst until the infection clears up.
  3. In case the infection doesn’t get better or becomes extremely painful and uncomfortable, or where the hair cyst keeps recurring, see you doctor for specialized treatment of the infected ingrown hair cyst.Also see a doctor for ingrown hair cysts deep in the skin.

Tips on How to Prevent Infected Ingrown Hair Cyst

  • Ensure that your hair removal technique is done in the right way. If you normally shave, you may want to try waxing. Have it done by a professional.
  • Exfoliate your skin regularly. This will ensure that the pores do not get clogged and thus reduce the likelihood of getting ingrown hair cysts.
  • In case you are shaving, ensure you start by wetting the skin followed by a shaving cream application. Shave in the direction of your hair growth as opposed to against it to avoid razors bumps which are a precursor of infected ingrown hairs.

List of Sources and References

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