Ingrown Hair (cont.)

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Do ingrown hairs affect the entire body?

Ingrown hairs most characteristically involve the beard, bikini area, and legs. Other common locations of ingrown hairs include the face, neck, thighs, and buttocks. Although possible, it is rare to have ingrown hairs all over the body. Ingrown hairs do not affect the mouth, palms, vagina, or soles of the feet, as there are no hair follicles in these locations.

How is an ingrown hair diagnosed?

The diagnosis of ingrown hair is typically very straightforward and based on the skin appearance. In some cases, a small skin biopsy may be used to help the doctor confirm the diagnosis. Other times, a skin bacterial culture may be taken by a cotton-tip applicator to assist in determining an infectious cause. A few other medical conditions may look just like ingrown hairs and need to be examined more closely by a physician specializing in conditions of the skin called a dermatologist.

Does diet have anything to do with ingrown hairs?

Overall, diet does not seem to affect ingrown hairs.

What else could an ingrown hair look like?

Other medical conditions can mimic ingrown hairs. Some possible look-alike skin conditions include folliculitis, keratosis pilaris, acne, cyst, abscess (furuncle), milia (whiteheads), eczema, impetigo, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, heat rash (miliaria), or dry skin (xerosis).

Less common mimickers include chickenpox, herpes, pustular psoriasis, molluscum contagiosum, viral warts, Fox-Fordyce disease, Graham-Little-Piccardi-Lasseur syndrome, pruritic papular eruption of HIV disease, and erythema toxicum neonatorum. Folliculitis of ingrown hairs may also resemble uncommon skin conditions like lichen spinulosus, pityriasis rubra pilaris, phrynoderma (vitamin A deficiency), ulerythema ophryogenes, ichthyosis vulgaris, eruptive vellus hair cysts, erythromelanosis follicularis faciei et colli, keratosis follicularis (Darier disease), Kyrle disease, lichen nitidus, lichen spinulosus, perforating folliculitis, and trichostasis spinulosa.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/2/2013

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