Ingrown Hair and Its Treatment
Ingrown hairs are usually seen in the coccyx area and hairs collect under the skin and form a cystic condition.
Ingrown hairs are usually seen in the coccyx area and hairs collect under the skin and form a cystic condition. Collected hairs may form cavities over time and cause skin infection. Symptoms can vary from a small formation to a painful and discharged mass. Ingrown hairs are treated with surgical intervention depending on the course of the disease.
What is Ingrown Hair and What Causes It?
Ingrown hairs, also known in medicine as “pilonidal sinus” and most commonly seen in the coccyx of the body, occur in the cavity between the two hips called the intergluteal groove. Ingrown hair; It is the hair that falls from the neck, back or hair falling into the coccyx, collecting there and settling under the skin. The hairs accumulated here may be in a cystic state. It can usually manifest itself with symptoms such as swelling, discharge and pain. Pilonidal sinus disease is seen in 80% of male patients and can be seen more frequently, especially in young men between the ages of 15-24, due to their hormone-active properties and excess hair structure.
In Which Parts of the Body Are Ingrown Hairs Seen?
The complaint of ingrown hair seen in patients can be seen mostly in the coccyx region of the body. The reason why it is seen more frequently in the coccyx is; This may be because this area is hairy, remains wet, and the skin here is thinner and more prone to infection. The fact that the coccyx area is under pressure, especially due to sitting, can also be considered as a reason that makes it easier for hairs to settle into the skin. Apart from this, ingrown hairs can also occur, although rarely, in the armpit, belly button area and between the fingers.
What Happens If Ingrown Hair Is Not Treated?
In cases where ingrown hair is not treated, although it may not cause any discomfort to the patients at first, it may turn into an inflammatory condition and infection may occur in the future. If people do not notice this situation and do not go to a doctor’s check-up, the cyst there may grow and cause multiple grooves to form, resulting in painful ingrown hair complications. In cases where treatment is delayed, surgical interventions or surgery may be inevitable. Although its occurrence is rare, ingrown hair disease, which has been known to exist for a long time but has not been treated, can cause the inflammatory condition there to repeat itself frequently and turn into a wound over time.
What are the Non-Surgical Treatment Methods for Ingrown Hair?
In cases where ingrown hair is noticed before it progresses too much, non-surgical treatment may be possible. The main principle of non-surgical ingrown hair treatment is to remove the hair follicle and eliminate it without touching the normal tissue. In medicine, this is also called drainage treatments. In non-surgical treatments, the pilonidal sinus sac is anesthetized with local anesthesia and the relevant area is cleaned from the hair sac. In non-surgical procedures, the patient can return to his/her daily life immediately and there is no need for procedures such as dressings and wound care. In addition, patients can undergo the procedure more comfortably since they do not require anesthesia, and their treatment is completed in a short time of 5-6 minutes. Some methods used to treat ingrown hairs without surgery are as follows:
- Phenol Treatment: One of the most successful and most commonly used methods in non-surgical ingrown hair treatment is phenol treatment. Phenol in treatment; The holes with inflammatory discharge are widened, and the hairballs and inflammation inside are completely cleaned. Finally, the treatment is completed by administering crystallized phenol to the resulting gap. The procedure is performed in 5-10 minutes with local anesthesia and the patient is discharged after being observed for 1-2 hours. After the procedure, the patient can move easily. In order for the success of phenol treatment to last long, the patient must pay attention to hygiene rules.
- Laser Application: It is a method that can be applied at the beginning of the treatment for ingrown hair complaints and during periods when there is no infection. It is the process of burning the resulting area by entering the existing fistula hole with laser rods after the vesicle is cleaned, without any additional incision. With the method applied under local anesthesia, as with other treatment methods, the person is discharged on the same day and can continue their daily lives.
- Microsinusectomy Method: A small incision of approximately 2 cm is made in the area where the ingrown hair occurs, the area is cleaned, and then the fissure is closed by placing aesthetic stitches.
- Silver Nitrate Method: This method, which has a low success rate according to scientific data, is generally performed at the beginning of ingrown hair and before the disease progresses. The application principle has similar features to phenol treatment. A thin device is entered into the area where the hair is collected and the relevant area is cleaned. Then the area is washed with silver nitrate solution. In order to prevent the discomfort from recurring after silver nitrate treatment, care of the problematic area should not be neglected.
Ingrown Hair Complications
If ingrown hair is not treated, it may cause discharges and recurrent abscesses that disrupt people’s social life. Since the disease generally occurs in the coccyx, some patients may hesitate to see a doctor. In such cases, the cavity created by ingrown hairs may expand and complications such as pain, discharge, and difficulty sitting may occur.
What are the Surgical Interventions for Ingrown Hair?
In cases where the complaint of ingrown hair is late or postponed, surgical operations may be required. There are some types of surgical interventions that provide a high rate of recovery and have a low probability of recurrence. These surgeries can be listed as fistulotomy and curettage, marsupialization, z-plasty, VY advancement flap, rhomboid flap, gluteus maximus myocutaneous flap, excision-primary closure, cystotomy surgery, endoscopic pilonidal sinus treatment, bascom operation. After the surgical intervention, patients are usually kept under observation in the hospital for 24 hours. For the first week, patients have regular dressings and use painkillers and antibiotic-derived medications. Patients can take a bath, provided that waterproof patches are applied to the operated area. There may be discomfort in sitting on the wound until 1 week after the surgery. It would be appropriate to avoid heavy work. Finally, the stitches are removed 10-15 days after the operation and the patient can return to his normal life.
What Can Be Done to Treat and Prevent Ingrown Hairs?
The probability of ingrown hair disease is very low if general cleaning rules are followed and necessary hygiene is maintained. Since the place of formation is usually the coccyx area, special cleaning of this area is sometimes forgotten. Especially male patients may need to pay attention to the cleanliness of this area. Some methods to prevent ingrown hairs are as follows:
- Paying attention to personal cleanliness: Although hand-face and teeth cleaning come to mind when personal cleansing is mentioned, the habit of taking a regular bath or shower every day is one of the best preventive methods to be taken against ingrown hair disease. Paying particular attention to cleaning the coccyx and belly button areas can prevent fissure formation.
- Obtaining Correct Sitting Habits: Scientific studies show that the habit of sitting upright is good for spine health and helps prevent ingrown hair problems. In daily life, people who work mostly sitting and drive for long periods of time can prevent the formation of ingrown hairs by doing posture correcting exercises.
- Maintaining weight control: The likelihood of ingrown hair disease is higher, especially in overweight people who are at risk of obesity. Although complaints of ingrown hairs in overweight people disappear over time, they may tend to recur. For this reason, overweight people suffering from ingrown hairs may benefit from weight control during their treatment.
- Avoid wearing tight underwear and clothes: Wearing tight underwear and tight trousers that constrict the body may cause the fallen hair to collect in the relevant areas. For patients suffering from ingrown hairs, choosing more comfortable and non-tightening clothes may contribute to fissure treatment.