Ingrown Eyebrow Hair with Cyst, Bump, Infection and How to Remove

You can get an ingrown eyebrow hair after shaving, waxing or tweezing eyebrows. The hairs can be deep and cause pain, a cyst, bump and even an infection. Here’s how to remove, treat and get rid of deep ingrown hair between eyebrows.

Ingrown eyebrow hair or trans-follicular penetration, happens when the hairs grow within the skin and therefore do not resurface to the exterior. The condition can lead to the skin irritation and the appearance of lumps that can even provoke an infection if they are not treated in time. An ingrown hair on eyebrows should be handled and treated with care.

Infected ingrown hair on eyebrow area
Ingrown hair bump along eyebrows

Causes of ingrown hairs on eyebrows and between eyebrows

Ingrown eyebrow hair is not uncommon among the women. One reason for the women being more subjected to the condition is that they frequently apply hair removal methods to shape the eyebrows. When the eyebrow hair grows back, the follicles can grow inwards at times when it is not extracted from the root. The condition is medically termed as trans-follicular penetration.

  • The risk of the ingrown hair then increases when the eyebrow hair is cut at very sharp angles or even cut edge of hair is left underneath the skin.
  • Hair is made of a protein known as keratin. It passes through the hair follicles and then breaks through the skin.
  • Sometimes the hair grows when slanted into the skin instead of the normal breaking through horizontally.

When this happens it is considered as ingrown hairs. In addition to this, ingrown hairs may develop when the hair curls backwards instead of way it is supposed to push out through the skin. When the hair is trapped within the skin (which is the ingrown hair) it leads to inflammation, pain and even irritation at the site.

Ingrown eyebrow hair bumps
Bumps and cysts may form on the eyebrow hairline.

In some other cases, ingrown hairs may cause severe infections such as cysts that need the medical treatment. These hairs usually happen on the cheeks, beard area (in men) and neck area, but they can also arise on the scalp of the men who frequently shave the scalp hair.

In the women, ingrown hairs usually occur in their public area, the armpits or the legs. Ingrown hair might also appear in much less common places such as at the eyebrow, chest, underarm, and the groin area.

  • It is important also to note that although the African American males, who are between the ages of 18 to 25, have the highest risk for the ingrown hairs, the condition may happen to anyone.
  • There is always a normal risk of the hair that is growing inwards into the hair follicle, if it is not extracted properly. The body then considers the reversed hair growth as the foreign object and then reacts leading to the inflammation as well as the irritation. Thereafter a tiny bump then develops on the eyebrow that looks similar to a small boil or acne.
  • People who have naturally curly hair are very likely to develop the ingrown hairs than people with naturally straight hair. That is why ingrown hairs tend to arise in the pubic area. Pubic hair is usually tightly coiled, even in the individuals who have very straight scalp hair.

Embedded hair usually develop in the area when the tight clothing rubs the skin leading to it to become irritated and inflamed. When this happens the hairs are prevented from breaking through the skin that may lead to ingrown hairs on your skin.

In addition, people who have thick, coarse hair have a very high risk of developing ingrown hairs than people who have thin, fine hair. Moreover, the ingrown eyebrow hair can occur as a result of shaving (in both men and women).

Shaving can stretch the skin causing the hair to curve, grow backwards or slant. Ingrown hairs, can also happen if the individual uses more than a single blade, shaves very closely to the skin or shaves against the natural flow of the hair growth. The skin becomes inflamed when it believes that the ingrown hair is a foreign invader.

Waxing, tweezing, threading and plucking eyebrows

Eyebrow waxing, shaving and hair removal can cause ingrown hairs
Eyebrow waxing, shaving and hair removal can cause ingrown hairs

The first thing you should know is that the formation of the ingrown hair on the eyebrows can be due to the very many causes such as the excessive eyebrow shaping (especially when the threading), plucking eyebrows too hard or irritation in the follicle.

You should also note that if you observe that the ingrown hair is infected, the best way to remove it is by visiting a specialist.

Whether you trim, wax or tweeze your eyebrows, as the hair grows back in, an ingrown hair may cause an unsightly, irritated bump. The hair follicle then becomes swollen if the hair is growing in wrong direction, causing ingrown hairs.

Symptoms

Bumps, sores, inflammation, pain and sometimes blind pimples can be symptoms of an ingrown hair on the skin. The most common symptom is a bum that has a dark spot at the center. The dark spot is the hair follicle that is embedded beneath the skin. Here are the symptoms in detail.

a) Ingrown hair bump

Ingrown hair on eyebrows is a much painful condition. The bump then resolves once the ingrown hair has resurfaced manually by stimulation of the follicle and then exfoliating the skin.

b) Ingrown hair cyst on eyebrows

Sebaceous cysts may develop due to the ingrown hairs. Women who get rid of the hair by waxing or even shaving are more susceptible to the ingrown hairs.

  • The vulva area is the most frequent place that the ingrown hairs arise in women.
  • In some other cases the trapped hairs may lead to the infected cysts, sebaceous cysts, painless cysts that are brought about by the blocked hair follicles.
  • Sebaceous cysts usually go away without any medical treatment.

c) Pimple-like bumps above eyebrows

Razor pimples, also called shaving bumps, are a mild form of the folliculitis (a hair follicle infection). It is an indication of infected or inflamed ingrown hairs. The condition happens when the hair starts to grow back, especially after being shaved, and the body then mistakes the growth as a foreign object.

Eyebrow pimples may be a sign of embedded hairs after shaving
Eyebrow pimples may be a sign of embedded hairs after shaving.

Razor pimples can arise anywhere on the body where hair has been shaved, especially in places where the hair was shaved too close to the skin. Men who frequently shave the facial hair are the most at risk for the razor bumps.

d) Swollen eye

Inflammation is one of the earliest and the most common symptoms that is associated with the infected ingrown eyebrow hair.

  • It is the body’s way of reacting to the presence of the irritant.
  • It is very important to note that the inflammation is not the same as the infection. Rather it is the immune system’s way of protection of the body from a foreign invader like the ingrown hair.
  • An inflamed ingrown hair can lead to pustules.
  • Once the area that is surrounding the ingrown hair then becomes inflamed it can lead to a pustule (a pus-filled blister) so as to form around the hair.

Once this happens the pustule then rupture leading to pus and the blood to leak from the site. An open wound, like the ruptured pustule, might increase a person’s risk of developing serious infections like the Staphylococcus.

e) Pain above the eyebrow

Does the area above your eyebrow hurt? An ingrown eyebrow hair can lead to pain, especially if it becomes inflamed or infected. The trapped hair might lead to whiteheads and the swelling in the surrounding area.

Pain then alerts the body that something in the body is wrong. An infected ingrown hair not only damage the skin, it also leads to tenderness and the discomfort.

Ingrown eyebrow hair infection

Ingrown hairs, if left untreated, can cause serious complications like:

Infection on the eyebrow
Infection on the eyebrow-  source SicencephotoLibrary
  • One of the main complications associated with ingrown hairs are bacterial infections. This is especially true when the person picks or scratches the skin that is surrounding the trapped hairs.
  • Undiagnosed or untreated infected eyebrow hairs can cause temporary or a permanent acne-like scarring.
  • An infected or inflamed hair follicle can lead to pigmentation at the site. It is crucial to note that some of the treatments can be responsible for pigmentation.

Deep ingrown eyebrow hair treatment

Ingrown hairs typically grow out naturally. The best results are achieved when clothing does not restrict hair growth. In cases in which the ingrown hairs leads to inflammation, pain, etc.

  • It is important to place a warm washcloth on the infected spot many times a day for relief.
  • For the chronic inflammation or infections, the use of the topical antiseptics, antibiotics or anti-bacterial cleansers can be used to give relief and aid in the healing process.
  • Over-the-counter or the prescription topical medications (like the corticosteroid creams, topical antibiotic creams or the retinoid creams) can assist in the minor infections.
  • Corticosteroid creams may ease the itchiness as well as the inflammation that is associated with the infected ingrown eyebrow

Topical antibiotic creams help in the healing process when they are placed on top of the affected area. Retinoid creams gets rid of the dead skin cells and then encourage ingrown hairs to break through the skin.

Shave your eyebrows less often

Another way to treat the hair that is growing inwards is through the lifestyle changes. The first step is to allow the hair to grow out for many weeks before trying to wax, shave or tweeze your eyebrows.

Next exfoliate the skin on a weekly basis and then change the razor blades when they become very dirty, dull or even worn. After that, soak the area for about 10 minutes before removal of the hair (so as to reduce skin inflammation as well as irritation).

Oral antibiotics treat infections

An effective method to treat an inward growing eyebrow hair is by using the oral medications. Severe cases of ingrown hairs may need the application of oral antibiotics so as to prevent the new infections or even treat existing infections.

Oral antibiotics are mostly used to treating of the Staphylococcus, a bacterial infection that can happen when hair follicles are blocked and inflamed. Without a proper treatment, the bacteria may spread to the surrounding skin leading to cellulitis, a very serious bacterial infection.

Electrolysis

An ingrown hair on your eyebrow can be treated using laser treatments like the electrolysis. Electrolysis gets rid of the hair follicles. Once the inward growing hair is removed the hair will not grow back in the treated area. Electrolysis also assists to minimize ingrown hair scars.

Although it is normally considered as a cosmetic procedure, electrolysis might help to lower the risk of the ingrown hairs. Electrolysis happens when the mild electric current flows through the hair follicles from the small, metal probe. The current not only destroys the hair, but it also destroys the hair follicle.

How to remove ingrown hair on eyebrow

Removal of hairs that have curled back into the skin can be done at home. Attempt this only if the case is mild. For severe cases, see a doctor for proper care and treatment. Here’s how to remove ingrown hair above the eyebrow area.

You can suffer from eyebrow hair loss due to ingrown hair bumps
You can suffer from eyebrow hair loss due to ingrown hair bumps.
  1. Cleanse skin. Using of a mild cleanser to rid the skin of the surface dirt as well as the debris. Use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide using a clean piece of cotton ball or square to the hair follicle and then Neosporin to ward off infection.
  2. Apply heat. Take a warm shower or even a bath or use a very warm washcloth over the area of skin for about 10 minutes. The heat assists to soften skin, relax the hair follicle and aids hair to come to the surface.
  3. Exfoliate area if not infected.  While in the shower use a mild exfoliator, a sugar scrub for the body, or one that is especially for the face if it’s a facial ingrown hair. Work product using the fingertips in the small circles around hair follicle so as to loosen debris and the dead skin. Then completely rinse.
  4. Remove hair.  Find the side of the hair that has grown into skin, not where the hair is growing from. On the side Try to gently get rid of the hair out by holding skin taut, and then scraping a cotton swab in the opposite direction where the hair is growing.

Other ways to get rid of ingrown hair on eyebrows

The following home remedies will help get rid of ingrown hair on your eyebrows.

1. Milk and Out-of-date Bread

This can sound as not serious but it does work, more especially on the looped ingrown eyebrow hair. The warmth from this remedy will bring the ingrown hair bump closer to the surface. It will also make it tender and help the embedded hair to grow out faster.

  1. Warm some milk and then dip a piece of bread in it.
  2. Now place the bread on the area of the skin that has the ingrown hair and keep it there for 5 minutes or until the bread completely cools.
  3. Repeat the process for another 15 minutes.
  4. Check if the pore has completely opened up.
  5. If so, then use a sterile needle to pull the loop out.

2. Salt exfoliation

Salt not only helps in the exfoliation, but also increases the blood circulation to help ingrown hair come out. Here’s how to use salt and water solution to get rid of ingrown hair above your eyebrows.

  1. Take about 2 teaspoons of salt and then mix it with about 1 cup of warm water.
  2. Dip a cotton ball into the solution and then dab it on the affected area.
  3. Do not wipe it off.

Best time to do this would be before going to sleep, so that the salt may exfoliate and then cleanse the skin overnight. Repeat the process daily until the tip of the ingrown hair has appeared.

Another method is to add Epsom salt to the bath water. Gently exfoliate the skin using washcloth while bathing. Use moisturizer or aloe vera gel after bath. Repeat the process daily until the ingrown hair exposes out.

3. Change your shaving techniques

Men who have experienced ingrown eyebrow hair on the face should not use too much pressure on the blade. They should not even stretch their skin while shaving. This traps the hair stubs in the hair follicle. Besides, always use a razor that has a single-blade as opposed to the double or triple blade.

4. Apple cider vinegar

“Apple cider vinegar is another useful ingrown hair remedy and contains anti-inflammatory properties which help lower inflammation and soothe your skin.” [PositiveMed.com]

  1. In a bowl, mix together vinegar and some hot water (remember to keep the mixture very warm).
  2. Dip a cloth into the mixture and lightly press it on the affected spot.
  3. When the cloth gets much cold, dip it again into the warm mixture and use again to the affected skin area.

The method takes a longer time and so you may have to repeat it for at least a week.

5. Sugar scrub remedy

Sugar assists in removal of the dead skin cells and pushing of the ingrown hair out. Use it as a regular scrub to prevent ingrown hair. It is good especially if you have lots of dead skin cells and flakes on the eyebrow area.

  1. Mix about 1 cup of the jojoba oil with about 1 cup of sugar.
  2. Add about 15 drops of tea tree oil and use this mixture onto the affected area
  3. Scrub the affected area in a circular motion and then wash it off using warm water.
  4. Do this for about 2 to 4 weeks or until the ingrown hair surfaces out.

6. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a good anti-inflammatory home treatment. If the area above the skin is painful, baking soda is your go-to remedy. It will also prevent infection on the ingrown hair cyst above your eyebrow area.

  1. Mix together a cup of water and about 1 tablespoon of the baking soda.
  2. Dip the cotton ball or a piece of cloth into the solution and use it on the affected area.
  3. Leave it for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Wash it off with cold water.

Repeat this two to three times in a day for faster results.

7. Black tea bags

Black tea bags contains a high concentration of the tannic acid that make the skin very smooth. At the same time, reduces the inflammation and the redness brought about by the ingrown hair on the face. Rub a warm teabag over the affected spot for about 3 minutes every day, for many consecutive days. Alternatively:

  1. Keep the tea bag in the water for some time.
  2. Then get rid of all the excess water from it, into a bowl.
  3. Add about 1 teaspoon of coconut water to the tea water.
  4. Dip a cotton ball into this mixture, and then place it on the affected area.

Repeat the process twice a day until you see the desired change on your skin.

8. Cucumber

Cucumber is a good remedy for soothing inflammations. According to Mercola, “Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin…” World’s Healthiest Foods also notes that “Fresh extracts from cucumbers have recently been shown to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”

  1. Place a few slices of cucumber in the refrigerator and leave them to cool for about an hour.
  2. Gently rub the slices on the affected area above the eyebrow to soothe it.
  3. Alternatively, mash about 1 cucumber and mix it in about 1/3 cup of milk.
  4. Refrigerate the mixture.
  5. Dip a cloth in the mixture and put it on the ingrown hair.
  6. Wash it off after about 5 minutes, using lukewarm water.

Use the remedy at least twice a day, for a few days.

9. Aspirin paste for sore ingrown hair on eyebrow

Aspirin alleviates symptoms associated with ingrown eyebrow hair like inflammation and redness. All you need to do is the following to get rid of inflammation on ingrown hairs.

  1. Soak 2 aspirin tablets in 1 teaspoon of the warm water.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of honey to the paste.
  3. Use it over the affected area and then let it stay for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse using warm water and then pat dry.

Use it at least one or two times a week.

10. Coffee

The acidic properties of the coffee make it very easy to expose the trapped hair.

  1. Mix together about ¼ cup of unused coffee grounds and about 1 cup warm water.
  2. Massage the mixture on the affected spot for a few minutes, in a circular motion.
  3. Finally, rinse using lukewarm water. Moisturize using aloe vera gel.

Laser Hair Removal

In this particular method, a machine points a laser-beam to the affected area and then it kills the hair follicle, hence, pushing the ingrown hair to come out.

How to prevent ingrown hair between eyebrows

Prevent the ingrown eyebrow hair by getting rid of them properly, and then understand how to coax the ingrown hair to the skin’s surface to make the unsightly bumps on the eyebrows a thing of the past.

Heat the eyebrow area before tweezing or even waxing so as to prevent hair breakage. Take a hot shower; that is dry off, and then tweeze or even wax immediately afterward. Hairs that normally break below the skin rather than even pulling out at the root are likely to become ingrown hairs. The warm steam that comes from the shower can open up the pores, allowing you to pull the eyebrow hairs out by the root.

Be very gentle. Pulling vigorously at the stubborn hairs will lead to the breakage, even if you have opened the pores with the heat in advance. When applying the tweezers, pull the hair in a strong motion that can keep the hair intact as you pull it out.

Warm the bumps so as to soften the area and then open the pores. Place a washcloth that has been soaked in the warm water over the problematic hair so as to loosen it from the skin. After soaking, the hair should reach the surface of the skin and may be pulled out very easily using tweezers.

Use a solution of the aspirin and water so as to soften an ingrown hair. Crush two aspirin tablets and place the powder in a bowl. Add about 1 teaspoon of water and then mix thoroughly. Then use directly to the affected area. Leave the solution on for about 15 minutes, and then rinse off using warm water. After several days of using the aspirin solution, the hair will then rise from the skin and you may remove it using tweezers.

After use of the warm compress, once the hair is more closer to the surface of the skin, slowly pluck the hair using a point tipped tweezers, so that, the end of the ingrown eyebrow hair is above the skin. Remember that the aim is not to pluck the hair out as this is much painful. Don’t forget also to sanitize the tweezers using alcohol before using.

Sometimes the hair can appear as a loop but do not worry about that. The ingrown hair is growing back into the skin, and thus, the loop alike shape. Simply put a sterilized needle through the loop and then gently pull it out.

Further references

  1. Ingrown Hair: http://www.foodpyramid.com/health-conditions-a-z/ingrown-hair/
  2. 18 Home Remedies to Expose the Trapped Ingrown Hair: http://homeremedyshop.com/18-home-remedies-to-expose-the-trapped-ingrown-hair/
  3. Step By Step: How to Remove Ingrown Hairs: http://hairremoval.about.com/od/shaving/ht/remove-ingrown.htm
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