How to Treat An Ingrown Hair Cyst
News of having an ingrown hair is less than ideal, but news of having an ingrown hair cyst can seem horrendous!
Let’s be real, ladies, no one wants the painful red bumps that an ingrown hair gives, but we’d probably take one of these over an ingrown hair cyst any day!
Not that these cysts are life or death, but they can be a lot more painful, noticeable, and more of a frustration to get rid of.
As professionals, it is our duty to wax in the best possible way to help avoid ingrown hairs, but our responsibility doesn’t stop there.
We also need to fully inform our clients of ‘post-waxing best practices’ that they should be implementing at home to prevent ingrowns themselves.
First, your clients must understand the difference between a typical ingrown hair and when it has graduated into a cyst. It is wise to inform them of proper procedures on how to treat it and remind them of what NOT to do if they have a cyst compared to an ingrown hair. If they ever experience this after their hair removal appointment, they will feel prepared because their lovely esthetician prepped them for it.
What Is An Ingrown Hair Cyst?
An ingrown hair is when a hair has been trapped under the skin and continues to grow downward instead of upward in a typical growth pattern. This ingrown progresses into an ingrown hair cyst when a substance, often fluid, builds over time and gets trapped under the skin in a sac formation.
These types of cysts can sometimes be filled with air, skin cells, or even keratin.
Cysts rear their ugly head (just kidding, cysts don’t have a head) as a large bump underneath the skin.
This is a tell-tale sign difference between an ingrown hair and an ingrown hair cyst. The ingrown hairs will create smaller bumps with a head where you can sometimes even see the actual hair beneath the surface. A cyst will be much larger in size and have no head on them. The actual ingrown hair is now far deeper underneath the skin and not accessible to rid yourself.
These cysts can present themselves anywhere on your body that hair removal is done, most often occurring in the pubic region.
Cysts can often become quite painful, and because of the amount of fluid trapped under the skin with the ingrown hair, it most likely won’t go away on its own. Ingrown hairs generally do, but once it progresses into a cyst, it would be wise to confer with your doctor and get their opinion on what to do.
What if you think it has now graduated to an infected cyst?
What Does An Infected Ingrown Hair Cyst Look Like?
An infected ingrown hair cyst looks like an excessively red bump, with extra redness and swelling surrounding the lump on the skin. It has a warm feeling and can cause intense pain.
If you or your clients notice these signs of infection or the look or feel of the cyst has changed in any way, it is most advisable to go to your dermatologist to get it checked out. If there is an infection, they will best know how to determine what kind of infection you are dealing with and how to prevent it from spreading and becoming worse.
At this stage, it would not be uncommon for a doctor to prescribe oral or topical antibiotics to help with the infection; they can then discuss a plan of action on how to remove the cyst entirely.
So let’s say you have this sizable red bump underneath your skin that is a little painful and less than attractive. It’s not infected, but it’s still there. How can you get rid of this stubborn cyst?!
How Do You Get Rid Of An Ingrown Hair Cyst?
Once your ingrown hair has progressed to a cyst, anything you can do to get rid of it pretty much comes off the table. It may...MAY...dissipate on its own, but it is unlikely. In order to completely get rid of the cyst, you will need to go to a doctor for removal.
Avoid picking, cutting, squeezing, scratching, tweezing, or just plain touching that cyst at all costs.
You heard me!
No matter how tempting it may be. Because of the accumulation of a different substance (air, fluid, skin cells, etc.) deep under the skin, the ingrown hair has now been pushed far down and will not be accessible to you. Even with exfoliation and warm compresses, that ingrown hair will not be close enough to the surface to remove.
Should I Pop An Ingrown Hair Cyst?
No! Never pop an ingrown hair cyst. Remember, cysts do not have heads like ingrown hairs do. If you squeeze or pick at the cyst, you could end up with an infection or scarring, which are roads you do not want to go down. This means- no popping.
If you are looking for a measure of relief from the cyst until you get to your doctor, use warm compresses to help alleviate any pain. Warm compresses every day for a few minutes a day can possibly help the cyst to drain slowly on its own.
Be sure you are not doing any hair removal on or directly around the cyst. Waxing or shaving the cyst can make matters worse and prevent it from getting better.
Give your skin a little break and time to breathe and heal.
Nonetheless, what happens once you do make it to the doctor’s office?
How Will Your Doctor Treat The Cyst?
Your doctor will use their discretion if it is necessary to remove the cyst.
Suppose there is no pain associated with the cyst, it is small enough where the doctor believes it will go away on its own, or there is no infection; your doctor may give some advantageous advice on how to manage the cyst or reduce it yourself rather than removing it.
If the doctor deems it better to be removed, according to The Orlando Dermatology Center, they will use a sterile instrument and make a minute cut to release the contents of the cyst and the ingrown hair that started it all.
Afterward, they may prescribe antibiotics or a topical steroid medication to reduce inflammation and redness.
Ingrown Hair Cyst Prevention
Since you yourself can’t do much to treat an ingrown hair cyst at home after it has already developed (leave that for the doctors, ladies), our focus, and our client’s focus, should be on preventing ingrown hairs to ultimately prevent one from turning into a cyst.
For seven fantastic suggestions on how to treat and prevent ingrown hairs, please click HERE.
Two key preventative measures to always keep in mind to avoid getting an ingrown hair are: exfoliation and using an ingrown hair serum post hair removal.
Remind your clients to always exfoliate 2 to 3 days before your waxing appointment and around 2 to 3 days after waxing and continually doing so after that. Exfoliation will prevent any dead skin cells from creating a barrier for the hair to grow out of, and it will prevent an excess buildup of skin cells that can create a cyst under the skin.
Don’t neglect using our powerhouse of a hair puller Starpil’s Original Ingrown Hair Serum Spray to help remove those pesky hairs before they create problems for you! The serum will not only help prevent them after waxing, but it will also help treat ingrowns by physically aiding in pulling out the hair. This should definitely be in all of our personal beauty arsenals!
Overall, prevent your ingrowns from occurring. Period. We don’t like them and don’t want them! But certainly, if you do get one, take measures to treat the ingrown hair BEFORE they turn into a cyst. You’ll be so glad you did.
Ingrown hairs are relatively common to get from any type of hair removal. However, without proper prevention and treatment of ingrown hairs, you could quickly have an ingrown hair cyst on your hands.
Cysts caused by ingrown hairs are much more painful and take longer to heal and get rid of. If you attempt to squeeze, pick, or tweeze the cyst yourself, you could end up causing an infection and scarring.
The cysts are best treated by doctors when they perform a safe and minimally invasive removal. Plus, seeing your doctor can also help treat any possible infections. Always keep an eye on and monitor your ingrown hairs.
Focus on preventing them entirely, and you may be fortunate enough to say that you have never gotten an ingrown hair cyst!