What is an ingrown hair cyst. Is it the same as a deep ingrown hair? Which develops to the other? Can an ingrown hair infection turn to a cyst? How can you get rid of these embedded hair cysts in your pubic area, face, neck & armpit? Read on to find treatment and removal options in addition to, pictures and tips on how to prevent.
Ingrown Hair Cyst
Ingrown hair cysts are small bumps that develop beneath the skin at the site of a hair follicle. They are referred to as hair follicle cysts. Clinically, they are termed as trichilemmal cyst.
Though, it is often confused with a pilonidal cyst (a cyst that develops at the tailbone), trichilemmal cysts are triggered when a hair follicle grows backward into the skin instead of breaking out. The hair follicle/ingrown cysts are also popularly known by the names pilar, wen or isthmus-catagen cyst.
Sometimes, ingrown hair cysts are often confused with sebaceous cysts simply because both of these do not cause any infection in the associated area. But, sebaceous cysts often appear as small lumps that appear confined under the trap of the skin or epithelial tissue.
How does an ingrown hair cyst develop?
As already mentioned ingrown hair cysts are usually hair follicle cysts that are developed when the follicle becomes twisted and continues to grow backward. Over time, the unrestricted growth of the hair develops into a mass under the skin, which thickens and consequently grows into a cyst or lesion.
Often this type of cyst gets bacterial infection and becomes reddish. The situation becomes painful and removal of the hair is the only way out. Neglecting this over a period of time will develop pustule along with the cyst.
Cyst or Ingrown Hair?
What is a cyst? WebMD defines cysts as noncancerous, closed pockets of tissue that can be filled with fluid, pus, or other material.
There are several causes of cysts, including genetic, infectious, and other causes that result in hundreds of types of cysts.
Risk factors for developing a cyst are related to the underlying causes of the cyst formation.
There are various types of cysts which include;
- Sebaceous/epidermoid cyst
- Mucous cyst
- Testicular cysts
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome(PCOS)
- Pancreatic cyst
- Branchial cleft
How is a cyst different from an ingrown hair?
For an average individual it may be tricky to tell the difference. A normal ingrown hair can be effortlessly removed by a pair tweezers. They appear closer to the surface of your skin.
On the other hand, cysts are usually deeper in your skin and in most cases, they are painful and hard to get rid of once.
Another difference is that ingrown hairs are caused by inappropriate hair removal methods. Cysts come about as a result underlying skin conditions such as
- Bacterial infection
In terms of size, cysts are usually large than ingrown hairs.
Can an ingrown hair cause a cyst?
Yes. That is why there is an ingrown hair cyst. Not all ingrown hairs develop into a cyst. If there is an infection(folliculitis) then the ingrown hair will turn to a cyst.
Folliculitis is skin condition which that results to inflammation of hair follicles. It is commonly caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.
To determine if it’s a normal cyst or an ingrown hair turning into a follicle cyst, a clinical trial is essential
Ingrown Hair Cyst Pictures
What does ingrown hair cyst feel and look like?
Ingrown hair cyst looks like raised bumps or small pimple, which forms into a painful, boil-like sore over time. They cause irritation and become itchy and the pus inside makes them even more uncomfortable.
Where they occur
They can even form above buttocks or near anus, which is located right at the base of the spine. However, in this area the pilonidal cysts are more common.
Ingrown hair cysts occur in different parts of body. Below are pictures of these infected hair in various regions of the body.
Large, Infected & Deep ingrown Hair cyst
Ingrown hairs are formed from the curly hair that are twisted and grow back to your skin without any restriction. The situation worsens when the affected area gets infected with bacteria and which eventually blocks the pores. Sometimes dead skin also gets accumulated on the skin and clogs the pores, which further accentuates the growth of the hairs backward deep into the skin.
If an ingrown hair bump is bleeding, this can lead to an infection which develop to a cyst.
An infected ingrown hair cyst can continue getting larger if proper care and treatment is not provided.
Large Infected ingrown hairs are painful and uncomfortable to touch.
Signs and symptoms include;
- Warmth, redness and tender bumps
- Itchiness and inflammation
- Yellow Pus discharge due to bacterial activity around the affected region.
Deep ingrown hair occurs is when the hair follicle grows backwards deeper through hair follicle wall. This causes inflammation and discomfort. Trying to force it out may even make go deeper.
If left alone, ingrown hairs heal by themselves. In case you have a really deep ingrown hair, do not scratch or pick it. Why? Bacteria can enter the small wound this creates thus increasing your risk of infection. You might also be left with a scar.
How to get Rid, Remove & Treatment
For the removal of the ingrown hair cyst or deep ingrown hair, both the surgical treatment and home remedies are beneficial.
Removal by popping ingrown hair cyst
This method is not recommended if the condition is severe. This is likely to worsen the condition. It can lead to severe infection and inflammation.
Even if it is minor, your advised to visit your doctor. If you must do it on your own here are the steps to follow.
You will need
- Ball of cotton wool
- Sterilized pin for pricking
- Surgical gloves(optional)
But, if the problem is not too serious, you can get it done at your home. Here are the tips:
- Wear surgical gloves or simply wash your hands with clean water and rinse well.
- Before you consider removing the hairs, disinfect the area or cleanse it thoroughly. For deep ingrown hairs, gentle exfoliation will help removing the dead skin. This will control the inflammation in the area while the hair grows out until it breaks through the skin.
- If you are using tweezers or a pin, do prick the head, so that you can gain access of the curling hair surrounding the cyst.
- Once you are done, drain any fluid and swab it with a cotton ball.
- Now you can grab the curling hair with tweezers and apply force to extract it out of the skin.
- Clean the area well and use the cotton ball to prevent spreading the fluid to other parts.
- Finally disinfect the area with antiseptic and leave it open for some time to let it dry.
There are more home remedies for ingrown hair.
Prescription antibiotic pills and creams aid dealing with infection in the affected area
Topical Steroid creams: they help to reduce swelling and irritation or inflammation on the skin
For cystic acne, use an anti-acne treatment. Most of them contain salicylic acid, which helps in treating cysts which come as a result of acne.
Retinoids and anti-bacterial injections can also work
Prevent Deep Ingrown Hair Cysts under Skin
Since the major cause of the uninhibited growth of ingrown hair is improper shaving, it’s better to avoid it. But, that’s not always possible, though following tips can help you prevent the ingrown hair cyst appearing beneath your skin.
- For shaving, always use a sharp, single-bladed razor
- To disinfect your skin, wash it with warm water and use a gel
- Always shave in the direction the hairs are growing
- Always try to use as less as possible razor strokes
- Do not forget to rinse the razor after every stroke to keep it clean
- Avoid close shaving. Instead, leave a bit of stubble because the small pores of freshly shaved skin are often infected with bacteria.
Ingrown hair cyst is a serious health hazard if not treated in time. However, you can prevent it by maintaining proper hygiene standards and adhering to the appropriate shaving techniques.