An ingrown hair cyst can be deep and painful in areas with hair such as the bikinis, thighs, neck, face and armpits.
When infected, they can become abscesses or boils. Here are pictures, removal procedure, treatment for infected cysts and how to get rid of ingrown hair follicle cysts naturally.
What is an ingrown hair cyst?
An ingrown hair cyst is a hair follicle cyst. It is sometimes called a trichilemmal cyst although most people confuse it with a pilonidal cyst (which is a cyst that develops at the tailbone).
Other names for follicle cysts are pilar, wen or isthmus-catagen cyst.
In some cases, sebaceous cysts are also confused with embedded hair cysts because of the lack of infection.
However, sebaceous bumps are often described as small lumps that feel trapped under the skin. Ingrown hair cysts affect the face, groin, armpit, bikini, inner thigh, under the chin, near the groin, on the penile shaft and mostly on the scalp.
Cysts that form above buttocks or near anus or at the base of the spine are mostly pilonidal cysts.
Is it an ingrown hair or cyst?
What is the difference between cysts on hairs and normal cysts? The two have many similarities and can easily be confused because they may both result in fluid-filled pockets under the skin. SEE ALSO: INGROWN ARMPIT HAIR AND CYSTS
Both and even sebaceous cysts form lumps that may be visible on the skin and can also be felt as hard lumps. Here are a few differences between them.
Embedded hairs form when hair curves and grows downward into the skin.
The reason why it is confused with a cyst is the fluid that forms around the hair follicle that looks like a pimple or a blister sometimes called a hair bump.
On the other hand, normal cysts may have no relationship with shaving or hair growing back into the skin.
They may be caused with tumors, inflammation and infections.
|An ingrown hair cyst is comparatively smaller – a smaller bump – compared to the large cysts that develop on the skin.
|Cysts can grow large on the skin and form visible fluid-filled pockets that can easily get infected.
Now that you know the difference, what causes these cysts? Below are the different possible causes of hair follicle cysts on face, pubes and armpits.
What does an ingrown hair cyst look like? To help you understand how they look like or appear, below is a photo of a cyst from ingrowing hairs. We have also added more images in the post to help with the identification of your symptoms.
It is known that 90 percent of ingrown follicle cysts form on the scalp. A little more cases develop on the face, underarms and pubic area respectively.
The reason for this occurrence is that the high hair follicle concentration in these areas of the body encourage their formation.
Here are the known causes of hair follicle cysts on scalp, face and bikini area.
1. Waxing and shaving poorly
One of the major causes of these cysts is improper shaving techniques. Before the cysts start, razor burn on skin appears, which is followed by razor bumps and embedded hairs. Cysts on ingrown hairs may or may not form depending on the care routine you will have.
- To prevent ingrown hair follicles on your face, thighs and bikini area, lather properly before shaving.
- Exfoliate your skin before shaving to remove any debris that may cause bumps and ingrown hairs.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth and not against it. When you shave against your hair, you aggravate the skin, cause bruises and the burns.
2. Cystic acne
What is cystic acne and how does it cause an ingrown hair cyst on face? If you have ever seen large bumps on face, usually deep in the skin, those are cystic acne bumps.
When a hair follicle is inflamed, it forms a tough pink skin that covers it completely. This blocks the pore from draining, thus forming a cystic hair follicle.
Ingrown hair cysts on the face and neck are mostly associated with cystic acne especially in people who are prone to acne vulgaris.
Large cysts are a normal symptom of this problem, and treating them using conventional methods can easily aggravate them to become even bigger and infected.
3. Clogged pores
According to Earth Clinic, when the skin surface is covered with debris and the pores on the hair follicles are clogged, a hair follicle cyst is likely to form beneath. Sometimes, these cysts form even when there are not embedded or horizontally growing shafts.
Epidermoid cysts, usually synonymous to hair follicle cysts, occur as small bumps under the skin but on the site of the hair follicle. It can however be difficult to differentiate ingrown hair follicle cysts from normal cysts.
Ingrown hairs or herpes?
Can ingrown hairs be confused for herpes? According to LiveStrong, genital herpes and lesions are commonly confused with embedded hairs along the bikini like, or on the genitals.
When people get hair follicle cysts on the penile shaft, around the scrotum and anus, they confuse them with genital herpes.
Herpes is caused by a virus while cysts from ingrown hairs are normally caused by shaving or poor hair removal methods.
Cold sores caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2 viruses are present in between 50 to 80 percent of the American population according to a study by the American Social Health Association.
With this prevalence, most people confuse them with cysts from embedded hairs after shaving.
However, it is important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment if you have any of these symptoms related to the two on your skin, especially the pubic region.
What are the symptoms of ingrown hair follicle cysts? The symptoms range from itching, bumps, tender skin and even bruises around the cyst.
The major symptom you will notice is a fluid-filled sac, sometimes appearing to be yellow or white. If it turns green, it is infected and will need treatment.
Dermoid cysts can also show as a precursor symptom of ingrown hair follicles. You can also experience disgorge when the cysts burst.
The discharge can be a clear fluid or even yellow pus, depending on the stage of the infection, if any. When scratched, or when you try to pop the cyst, blood may come out.
Bleeding ingrown cysts on the hair follicles can easily get infected if not treated quickly.
Infected ingrown hair cyst – folliculitis
Infected ingrown hairs are likely to hurt and have a yellow discharge. When on parts such as the armpit and pubic area, they will cause a lot of discomfort. Here are the symptoms of infected ingrown hair follicle cysts. This condition is also called folliculitis and can occur on any part of the skin with hair, such as the scalp, face, inside nose and underarms.
- Itchiness and inflammation especially if the cyst is forming on the part that has some friction, such as armpits and bikinis or upper inner thighs. If irritated with friction, they are likely to become painful.
- Pus discharge due to bacterial activity around the hair follicle. Signs of infection on a growing back hair may include discharge of any kind, green or yellow pus. Do not attempt to pop the cyst if it has such symptoms because you might cause more inflammation.
- Warmth, redness and tender bumps are also a sign of an infected ingrown hair. The warmth and redness comes from the bacterial activity that irritates the skin.
Deep cyst that won’t go away
Cysts that won’t go away can pose a risk of cancer. If you have been getting treatment for folliculitis that doesn’t get rid of your follicle lesions and cysts, and the bumps are recurrent, it could be a sign of cancer even though the chances are not so high.
Deep lying cysts in your underarms and other parts can be difficult to squeeze and remove at home. Deep and hard cysts on ingrown hairs should be examined using the wiggle text to determine if they are sebaceous cysts or lumps under the skin.
Go for a biopsy in order to determine what the deep lump is and if it is cancerous or not. It must be noted that most cysts on hair follicles and under the armpit are rarely a sign of cancer.
How to get rid of ingrown hair cyst
Most ways to get rid of cysts on hair follicles are similar to treatments for regular embedded hairs caused by shaving. Relief cures include anti-inflammatory medications and remedies. Here are different ways to get rid of ingrown cysts on hair follicles.
Use tea tree oil
If you are looking for a natural treatment, use tea tree oil to heal infected hair follicle cysts. According to TheHealthSite, tea tree oil is effective in getting rid of ingrown hairs and cysts because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Here’s how to use it to heal your infection.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a little water
- Use the solution to clean the area that is affected
- Leave it on for a few minutes and rinse with clean lukewarm water.
- The antiseptic and antibacterial oil will get rid of the infection fast.
Treatment and cures
Your physician may prescribe some medications to help manage the condition, its pain and grown. Here are the common treatments used to get rid of an ingrown hair cyst.
- Steroid creams: Topical creams containing steroids usually reduce swelling and irritation or inflammation on the skin part with the cyst.
- Antibiotic pills and creams are usually prescribed to get rid of the infection, if any. In the case of a severe infection, your doctor might prescribe oral antibiotics in order to cure the infection.
- If caused by cystic acne, use an anti-acne treatment. Most of them contain salicylic acid, which helps get rid of cysts from acne.
- Other treatments include retinoids and anti-bacterial injections.
Ingrown hair cyst removal
How do you remove cyst on hair follicles? A dermatologist should do the procedure, but if it is not an infected cysts, and does not lie deep in the skin, you can remove it by yourself. Here’s how to remove an ingrown cyst on hair follicles.
- Disinfect the area or cleanse it well.
- Gently exfoliate to remove dead cells.
- Using tweezers or a pin, prick the head to be able to access the curling hair surrounded by the cyst.
- Drain any fluid and swab with a cotton ball.
- Grab the curling hair with tweezers and pull out of the skin.
- Disinfect the area and leave it to dry.
Here’s a video to help you with the procedure too.
Surgical removal of cysts
Surgical removal of cysts is usually the last resort when all other treatments have failed. It is also an option when the bumps won’t go away or resolve on their own and keep recurring. Large hair follicle cysts may be a source of esthetic discomfort and will be removed through surgery. In some instances, the cyst may be destroyed using laser surgery technique.
How to pop it
While it might be very tempting to pop cysts of hair follicles, it is important that you try to avoid bursting or pricking them yourself. Although you can do it if you know how to pop an ingrown hair cyst on your own and applying medication to prevent infection, it is highly discouraged.
In most cases, aggravating it will make it swell up and get an infection. Nevertheless, here’s how to pop cysts on hair follicles.
- Clean your hands and rinse well.
- Take a ball of tissue or cotton wool in your hand.
- Using a sterilized pin or tweezers for this purpose, prick the cyst.
- Drain the pus and pluck out any curving hair follicles.
- Clean the area well and use the cotton ball to prevent spreading the fluid to other parts.
- Wisegeek: How do I Tell the Difference Between an Ingrown Hair and a Cyst?
- MedHelp: Facial Cysts with Ingrown Hair
- Facing Acne: What You Can Do About Cystic Acne