Why Do Ingrowing Hairs Occur?
Looks are and always have been extremely important. That is why we use all kinds of cosmetic treatments to look perfect. These include shaving and waxing for hair removal. While these have proven results, they may also trigger problems such as ingrowing hair. Find out more about the causes of this issue which has an adverse impact on the skin and may cause great discomfort as well.
When a hair is cut or plucked out of the follicle, a new one begins to grow in its place. Normally, the new hair goes up the follicle and its sharper top part goes above the surface of the skin. However, in some cases, the stem does not follow this path. Instead, it goes sideways and cuts through the follicle lining. Basically, the pointy edge causes injury to the skin. This causes the immune system to produce and deliver white blood cells for the healing of the injured spot. This triggers inflammation and swelling.
Due to the inflammation and swelling the ingrowing hairs look like raised bumps which can be reddish, purplish or brownish. They can be tiny or quite big depending on the size of the affected area. Sometimes, there is a pouch of white and yellow pus which can be clearly seen and the top of the bump. In some cases, it is possible to see the hair under the skin.
Ingrowing hairs are not regarded as a serious medical condition. However, they have a variety of negative cosmetic effects. The bumps are unsightly and can lower your self-esteem if they are on a visible part of the body which cannot be covered with clothing. Furthermore, the bumps can cause a great amount of discomfort and sometimes even pain. Other skin problems which can occur include discoloration and scarring.
The Main Causes
Only newly growing hair can penetrate into the skin. That is why the problem occurs soon after shaving or several weeks after waxing and tweezing when the hair is advancing up the follicle. The affected skin areas are the ones which receive the treatments. In men, these are typically the face and neck. In women, these are the legs and the pubic area.
The risk of ingrowing is higher when there is a thicker layer of dead skin cells. There are other risk factors as well. Coarser hairs are more likely to grow into the skin. These grow on the face and the pubic area. In general, regular shaving and waxing work to make hairs thicker and harder and this contributes greatly to the worsening of the problem. Similarly, curly hairs are more likely to cut into the skin because they grow in curved follicles and do not get a straight path up. People who have more body hair are at greater risk of this problem as well.
When you notice the presence of ingrowing hairs on your body, you should resort to appropriate treatment right away. This will help to improve the condition of the skin, to restore its smoothness and to prevent complications such as serious infection. You must avoid picking and squeezing the bumps to prevent scarring.