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Ingrown Hair Cyst

Ingrown Hair Cyst: Common Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Ingrown hair cyst is a painful problem. It becomes all the more annoying and painful when it occurs in certain inconvenient areas of the body. Here are some tips that you can follow to manage the condition and reduce the discomfort.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Ingrown hair cyst is known as pilonidal cyst in medical terms and it can be a frustrating problem for many. To describe the condition, it is a small, solitary cyst like area, which contains fluid, with no evidence of infection. Its appearance is that of small tan or a bump under the skin. A small pinpoint of the hair is normally visible under the skin. In some cases the area can be infected and be filled with pus. Such a condition is known as pilonidal abscess. In severe conditions, the infection can spread, creating multiple abscesses. This can, in turn, cause a hole or cavity in the skin.
The term 'cyst' can be misleading. It sometimes may not have any fluid accumulation, just the hair growing downwards towards the skin again. An important characteristic which is lacking in this case is that of cellular lining.
Here's How You Treat it
The commonly used methods to treat ingrown hair problem are given below.
The measure to be taken is to exfoliate the affected area. Exfoliation will help in getting rid of dead skin, dirt and oil, which is clogging the hair follicles. However, one must do the exfoliation process rather gently to prevent any harm to the affected skin.
A simple, yet effective, remedy is to try exfoliating the skin using a nylon shower puff. If it is on the face, you can make use of exfoliating masks as well.
If required, removing these cysts is easy. You will have to carefully lift the hair out of the surface of the skin using tweezers. But make sure, you do not pluck out the hair, while trying hair removal. Once the hair is removed, the cyst will disappear on its own.
Ingrown hair can also be treated using acne medication. Applying acne medicine along with exfoliation everyday also proves to be of help in treating the condition.
Hot wet compresses are also said to be a great remedy for ingrown hair. With the compress, the boil rises to the surface and then you will need to empty it out. In case of cysts on the face, taking steam for the face also prove to be beneficial.
In case of a chronic condition, laser treatment may be prescribed. Laser therapy attacks the follicles under the skin and disables re-growth of hair from the follicle. It is, though, an expensive method to treat the problem.
What Causes It?
The problem can be caused due to various reasons. It is important to know the causes of this condition, as the treatment for the condition often depends on the causes of the condition. The following are some of the most common causes:
These cysts can be formed due to trauma caused to the area of the cyst. The trauma gives rise to ingrown hair. These cysts contain hair, but hair follicles are missing in them. Constant friction in the area, especially on the elbows, hands, etc. give rise to ingrown hair problem.
Improper Shaving Technique
It is common for these cysts to form in shaved areas such as the face, neck, armpits, and the bikini area. This is a result of improper shaving technique with a blade. The reason is, that the hair end is left jagged slightly under the surface of the skin, which causes it to hang up. Using a dull razor promotes ingrown hair. A lot of men use petroleum-based face shaving gel or foam. It plugs the skin cells and hair follicles giving rise to ingrown hair.
Scar Tissue
A number of people believe that pulling out the hair gives rise to cysts with ingrown hair. This is generally not the case, as the hair regrows with a smooth, yet tapered end. If the pulling is severe and has caused severe harm to the hair follicle, then it will lead to ingrown hair problem. Severe pulling causes scar tissue, which obstructs the path from the root of the hair to the surface of the skin, causing this kind of cysts.
Dead Skin
Although the most common causes of such kind of cysts are the three mentioned above, the other cause of this condition is dead skin debris piling up and blocking the hair follicle. This hampers the hair to make its way to the surface of the skin and in turn causes a cyst.
Itching is the most common of the symptom of ingrown hair. When a cyst is formed, the area can become tender to touch. In case, there is a foreign body, it can lead to inflammatory reaction causing red bumps. Acne whiteheads can also be caused due to ingrown hair. In rare cases abscesses may be formed due to an ingrown hair.
It is important to note, that any sort of cysts, whether ingrown hair cysts or not, are abnormal sacs of fluid. If you see no change in the condition, you may want to visit your health care professional, as these benign cysts can give rise to a number of serious complications. If the condition is moderately severe, it is better to have the condition examined from a dermatologist. If required, surgical removal may be prescribed.
The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.