Epidermal inclusion cysts/ingrown hair cysts are pimple-like bumps with hair on its surface. This bump or bumps can also appear pus-filled and can cause itchiness. Other common symptoms of such cysts include:
- Redness or hyperpigmentation
- The bump is tender to touch
These cysts are common among people with a habit of shaving, waxing or using other means to remove the hair in the pubic area. The ingrown cyst can also develop in other areas prone to shaving, or hair removal. For instance the armpits, the neck, head, and legs.
What causes the ingrown pubic hair cyst?
Having ingrown hair in the pubic area can be painful. The cause of the condition is an abnormality in hair growth. Usually, it grows up, out of the skin. However, when this occurs occur as a result of the hair shaft growing under the skin rather than out of the skin. It curls back and develops into the skin leading to the cyst.
These cysts are particularly common in darker skinned women. This majorly has to do with the hair texture. Darker skinned women tend to have naturally curly hair. As a result, there is a high tendency for it to grow inwards. At the same time, it is important to note that the condition can happen to anyone.
These cysts can develop after shaving, waxing or removing the hair in the pubic area. As it tries to grow again, it curls inwards and develops within the skin. As a consequence, the body identifies it as a foreign object leading to inflammation. If not properly taken care of, the bumps can develop into an infection.
There are over the counter treatments that you can use to reduce the inflammation. For instance, you can opt for medications containing benzoyl peroxide, or retinoid. Retinoid clears up the skin in that area by removing the dead cells. It may also clear the hyperpigmentation resulting from the ingrown hair. Alternatively, topical creams reduce the redness and inflammation. Steroid creams can also help reduce inflammation.
A healthcare practitioner may attempt a surgical epilation. This entails the removal of the hair trapped in the skin. The doctor may attempt to remove it by a making a small incision on the skin for the purpose of pulling it out. Other strategies that you can opt for include:
- Chemical depilatories such as Neet or Nair
- Hair removal laser techniques
It is advisable not to attempt to self-treat. This is because such attempts may further irritate the skin leading to a bigger lesion.
There are various approaches you can take to aid the body in healing. First, avoid shaving in the region. This will minimize the risk of further irritation thereby giving the body time to heal.
Also, you can try a warm compress. A warm compress aids the healing process as it softens the skin and reduces inflammation. Just take a clean cloth. Dip the cloth in warm water. Place the cloth on the affected area for about 3 minutes, then repeat the process for about 6-10 minutes. Be careful with the warm compress and do not attempt this technique with a cloth that is too hot.
Exfoliating with salicylic acid or glycolic acid once in a while (at most twice a week), can help minimize the risk of ingrown hairs. These acids will help open the follicles making it easier for the growing strands to develop normally. However, it is not advisable to use these products if you already have these cysts.
Avoid irritating the skin by pulling or trying to pick at it. Also, do not attempt to squeeze the bumps.
Although there is no cure for ingrown cysts, there are ways that you can minimize your chances of getting one.
First, if you are more of a shaving the pubic area person, then you should hydrate the skin before shaving. Hydrating the hair decreases the risk of the skin re-entering the skin. Prep the pubic area before attempting removal.
First, wash the skin with a mild soap. Second, apply a gentle shaving cream or gel. Third, take your time shaving or removing the hairs. Avoid shaving too close to the skin. This can irritate the skin and increase your chances of developing this problem. Once you are done, gently dry the area and apply a gentle cream or moisturizing lotion (this is in the case of the V-area).
There are special razors designed for shaving the pubic area. These razors minimize the risk of ingrown hairs and therefore be a great save for you.
You can opt for non-razor hair removal options such as electrolysis or the use of chemical removers or creams. If you opt for the chemical options, remember to shop for the latest products or removal cream such as Sally Hansen Extra Strength Spray-On Shower-Off Hair Remover. These products come with hydrators that minimize the risk of skin irritation.
The secret to dealing with these cysts is to pay attention to your skin and treat it with the gentleness it requires. Every time you remove the pubic hair, you run the risk of either triggering them or bacteria entering the skin. You can go for products with pore unclogging ingredients such as “The Art of Shaving Ingrown Hair Night Cream.”
It is best to consult a doctor if you suspect that the cyst is infected. Signs of infection include pus or oozing from the cyst. You should consult a doctor if you notice that you frequently get ingrown pubic hair cysts, or if you have abnormal/unusual pubic hair growth.