When hair is cut very close to the skin, it turns back and grows into the follicle instead of growing out from the follicle. This is called an ingrown hair.
The mass of these ingrown hairs clubs together beneath the skin. These ingrown hairs, like all the other foreign substances within the body sans blood supply, develop an infection.
The follicle gets stuffed with the ingrown hair and consequently causes a red bump on the skin. After some time this bump turns into a pustule. This pustule develops into ingrown hair boils.
Ingrown hair bumps are usually caused in the skin of those people who have thick and wavy hair.
If the ingrown hair is detected earlier, it can be disentangled easily. Once this happens the hair grows normally once again. However, if it is detected late, then it forms a twisted mass of hairs and is surrounded by a cyst. In this case, the ingrown hair should be removed surgically.
There are some natural and easy treatments for ingrown hair boils:
# The ingrown hair can be either freed or removed. This helps in preventing the chances of developing boils. In order to free it on its own, one can let it grow for some time. In the meantime it should be moisturized and exfoliated so that the dead skin which clogs the hair follicle is removed. This dead skin acts as a barrier which stops the hair from growing naturally. In case a pustule develops, it can be gently drained. This may free the ingrown hair. Besides this, one can also pull out the twisted ingrown hair with a sterilized needle or scissors. The infected area should be numbed with an ice cube and once the hair has been extracted, the region should covered by a hot compress for relief.
# One can also remove the hair altogether but with little guarantee that it may not grow back again in a twisted and complicated way. Laser hair removal is also used to prevent ingrown hair boils problem.
# Towels dipped in hot water are placed on these boils. This heat treatment reduces the swelling around the boils.
# Ichthammol ointment is an effective remedy for drawing out the infection. It looks disgusting but should be applied in a small amount due to its healing qualities.
# Epsom salt is used to dry and disinfect the boils. After the boil withers away, tea tree oil should be applied to it with cotton for disinfecting it.
# When the boils are ready to suppurate, they become white due to the presence of pus. Such mature boils can be drained at home and hydrogen peroxide should be applied on them.
One can avoid ingrown hair boils by using certain preventive measures such as:
# Moisturize the skin often. This helps in softening of the hairs which may not grow into the skin instead of growing out from it.
# Exfoliation is quite necessary as it helps in clearing away the dead skin which often blocks the skin’s surface and disrupts the growth of the hair.
# Men should avoid shaving the hair too close to the skin. Most people prefer to have a close shave. However this triggers ingrown hairs because the tip of the hair goes below the skin and can cause complications. A shave should be ended with a cold water splash to close the open pores. Moisture laden after shave creams should be used to make the hair soft. Product having alcohol should be avoided as they dry up the skin.