INGROWN HAIR This really helps!

They itch, hurt, and look unsightly: ingrown hairs. But how can you prevent them and what helps once they're there? And can they really lead to blood poisoning?
An ingrown hair is one of those aches and pains that can quickly become a problem. Because: it can itch, hurt, and look very unsightly on top of that. Especially in summer, when women shave almost every day, the hair can become inflamed. But why is this actually the case and what is the best thing to do? To answer these questions, we asked dermatologist Dr. Sabine Zenker from Munich to explain how hair doesn't grow in the first place and to give us tips on what to do if it does happen.

Ingrown hairs: these are the causes
"Ingrown hairs are hairs that curl and grow into the skin instead of out," explains Dr. Sabine Zenker. "This results in pimple-like inflammations that can itch and hurt." That's why this problem occurs mainly in people who have thick, curly, and unruly hair. This tends to curl more so that it grows back into the skin.

The problem usually arises after hair removal, the so-called razor pimples. Because: if the hair on legs, arms, etc. has been shaved or epilated, the hair that grows back has a "sharper edge". This makes it easier for it to penetrate the skin in the wrong direction, get stuck under the surface of the skin, and then continue to grow. Another possibility of ingrown hairs can be dead skin cells that clog the hair root, forcing the hair inside to continue growing sideways under the skin instead of out to the top.

Are some people more likely to be affected than others?
Unfortunately, yes! Dr. Zenker explains, "Ingrown hairs most often appear in people who have thick, curly or unruly hair. It tends to curl more than fine, straight hair in a way that allows it to grow into the skin."
Are there certain areas of the body that are prone to ingrown hairs?
Due to shaving, some areas on the body are affected more often than others by ingrown hairs, for example, the underarm area or the pubic area. "In men, therefore, the cheeks, chin, and neck can also be affected."

Ingrown hairs: here's how to prevent them
The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is to simply let them grow. "No longer shaving, plucking, or epilating helps best against ingrown hairs," says Dr. Zenker. If you still don't want to do without it, here's what you should do when removing hair: "Before hair removal, treat the skin with exfoliants to prevent clogging of the pores. Then remove the hair in the direction of growth.

The hair is already ingrown: what now?
"If the areas are non-irritating and not aesthetically disturbing, you can leave the ingrown hair alone." But if inflammation or even an abscess is on the horizon, it's "hands-off and see the doctor!"

"The dermatologist can make a small incision in the skin with a sterile needle or scalpel to remove the ingrown hair from the skin," Dr. Zenker explains. Medications with anti-inflammatory effects (cortisone) or antibiotic creams are also prescribed. Dr. Zenker's extra tip for removing dead skin cells and thus removing the breeding ground for ingrown hairs: medical peelings.

The wrong way to deal with ingrown hairs: Can blood poisoning be the result?
Rumors often circulate that ingrown hairs can lead to blood poisoning (sepsis) in the worst case. This is rather unlikely in most cases. In general, however, the following applies: Caution is advised in the case of boils on the skin. These are inflamed, reddened, and pressure-painful lumps, often with a plug of pus in the middle. These may need to be opened by a doctor; at best, they will open on their own and drain.

Never attempt to open them yourself or take other treatment steps. If handled incorrectly, it can lead to life-threatening blood poisoning. It becomes particularly dangerous in the lip, nose, and cheek area. Bacteria can quickly reach the brain via the bloodstream around the nose area and cause infections. Read here why you should never squeeze pimples on your face.


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