Everyone desires healthy, smooth, and bump-free skin. However, some kinds of lifestyles and choices can affect this fantasy. Let’s talk about keloid scars caused by ingrown hairs.
Ingrown hairs can be annoying and unpleasant. But you know what is more annoying than ingrown hairs? The aftermath of ingrown hairs-keloid scars.
Some hair removal methods, such as Waxing and shaving can blunt hair ingrown making re-growth difficult. This is how ingrown appear, and tampering with these ingrown such as picking at them can damage the skin, cause hyperpigmentation or later transform into scars.
This article shall explain how to get rid of keloid scars that appear from ingrown hairs.
Ingrown hair, otherwise known as shave bumps, razor bumps, or barber bumps are very common when you shave, wax, or tweeze hairs regularly. They mostly appear on areas such as armpits, legs, face and bikini lines where hairs are being removed.
Experts explain that ingrown hairs occur when the hair fails to grow along its normal course through the follicular opening and then out and above the skin’s surface.
“When hair grows back into or within the skin, the body responds to it as if it were a foreign object, This triggers an inflammatory reaction that produces symptoms ranging from pain to itching, redness, and/or swelling. In most cases, the inflammation produces a solid or pus-filled bump that can be both seen and felt.”
When this happens, there can be post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation such as dark spots, severe colourations, and scarring. Those with thick, curly or coarse hair or those with the skin of colour are at more risk of having ingrown hairs.
Keloid scars are smooth, enlarged, raised bumps caused by an overgrowth of scar tissues. They are often itchy and larger than the original area they grew on. The colour ranges from flesh-toned, pink to red.
These scars can be the aftermath of burns, acne scars, piercings, chicken pox scars, vaccination, or surgical incisions. Sometimes, ingrown hair infection can also lead to keloid scarring. However, they are not harmful to your health.
Can an ingrown hair become a keloid?
Not all ingrown hairs turn into keloids, but for some people, ingrown hair infections can transform into keloids.
How to get rid of ingrown hair keloid
Although ingrown hair keloids do not pose any threat to one’s health, one may decide to get rid of them due to aesthetics and body confidence. Doctors make use of a combination of treatments for this purpose because they can be hard to get rid of.
Some of the treatments include;
- Creams and ointments
Some topical products can be used in getting rid of ingrown hair keloids. These products usually contain vitamin E and onion extract. In the end, vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps reduce excess collagen formation and also reduces inflammation. While in addition to inflammation reduction, onion extracts also reduce itchiness, redness, and other pains associated with keloids.
Speak to a pharmacist over the counter to get creams and ointments that contain these ingredients.
- Corticosteroids shots
Corticosteroids have been used for treating keloids and hypertrophic scars as far back as the 90s. They are normally the first-line option for many doctors. They are capable of reducing itchiness or pain, and also flattening the keloid scars by increasing vasoconstriction on the affected area.
The specific corticosteroid for keloid and hypertrophic scar treatment is Triamcinolone acetonide suspension (Kenalog) 10 to 40 mg per mL. The keloid usually becomes less noticeable and flattens in three to six months after several injections(usually once a month).
As there may be little discomfort from the injected area, topical or local anaesthetic may be applied/ injected to help reduce the discomfort of the injection before the steroid injection. Alternatively, Lidocaine (Xylocaine) anaesthetic may be combined with the corticosteroid to lessen discomfort.
- Silicone gel pads
The application of silicone gel pads can help balance moisture and oxygen levels within the skin. The retention of moisture in the keloid-affected area triggers collagen production and then helps reduce discolouration and size of the keloid.
- Compression therapy
Compression therapy involves the use of gauze and tape or a custom compression garment to compress the keloid scar area.
However, the pressure dressing should be worn for about 16-23 hours a day, for about 3-6 months for effective results.
Also known as cryosurgery, cryotherapy is a cold therapy that involves the use of controlled freezing temperatures to gradually reduce or destroy abnormal or overgrown tissues(such as keloids).
The safe, minimally-invasive therapy usually involves using liquid nitrogen, argon gas, or carbon dioxide at temperatures as low as -320℉ or -196℃ to freeze tissues causing keloid-forming cells in the area (diseased tissue) to die because it reduces the blood flow in them.
Cryotherapy, however, is most suitable for small-sized keloids and also requires several sessions or combinations with cortisone injections for the best results.
- Laser therapy
Laser therapy was first developed in 1960. Unlike other surgical procedures that make use of instruments, this method uses special light beams. It targets keloid-affected areas with a powerful beam of light that can break down damaged tissues. The laser in it stands for “Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”
This method eases keloid itchiness and also fades them away. For better results, this treatment can also be combined with another, such as cortisone injections.
- Radiation therapy
This method is widely known for treating cancer. However, because keloids are also tumours (non-malignant), the method is also suitable for getting rid of keloids.
Superficial radiation therapy takes only about 30 seconds of treatment. It is suitable for recurrent keloids, and may also be advised for patients with a high risk of recurrence.
Radiation therapy is better administered after the surgical removal of keloids, as it brings the chance of recurrence to less than 10%.
- Direct excision
When therapy options seem to have failed or in a situation whereby the patient wants instant results, direct excision is the best option to go for(if recommended or advised by your doctor).
However, this process also has a chance of recurrence because the new incision made during the surgery can trigger another keloid, so, it is mostly combined with other procedures after the surgery. Some of these procedures include; radiation therapy, corticosteroid injections, and cryotherapy.
What do forming keloids look like?
Keloids are enlarged raised skin that is often hairless, lumpy and shiny. It can either be pink, red, purplish or skin tone.
Why did my ingrown hair turn into a hard lump?
Ingrown hairs can indeed form a cyst that may be large, small, soft or hard and swollen with pores. This lump can also be accompanied by discolouration and pain.
What can be mistaken for keloids?
Hypertrophic scars can be mistaken for keloids, and on rare occasions, skin tumours such as sarcoma or dermatofibroma can also be mistaken for keloids.
Why am I suddenly developing keloids?
Keloids rarely develop out of the blues. They are often triggered by acne, insect bites, piercings, hair removals, or any other sort of skin injury.
Ingrown hairs can be a ladder for keloids on the skin. However, these keloids pose no medical threat to anyone that is affected. For the sake of body anaesthetics, there are different ways to get rid of these keloids. These include creams and ointments, cortisone, silicone gel pads, compression therapy, cryotherapy, laser therapy, direct excision and other methods.
Whichever method you decide to go with, should, however, be discussed with a health professional for medical advice.
Book an appointment at The Keloid Scar Clinic in London.