Most people have experience getting a small shard of wood stuck under their skin at one time or another. Splinters can be painful and irritating, and hair splinters are no different. However, most people have never even heard of hair splinters. Even so, this is a condition that can affect anyone, and without treatment it can become a health problem, so it's a good idea to know what to do if you get one.
What Hair Splinters Are
Hair splinter are often mistaken for ingrown hairs because they appear to be very similar from the surface. You may first notice a pain in a finger, foot, or another part of your body, but not find a cut or any other exterior mark. Looking more closely, however, may reveal a dark line under the surface and a small piece of hair sticking up from the skin. This is a hair splinter.
In comparison to an ingrown hair that's a hair that couldn't emerge from the skin, a hair splinter is a hair that penetrates from the outside. This is unusual, but often happens to people's fingertips and toes.
Hair splinters can be quite painful, but that's not all that they can do.
Any bacteria or debris that was on the hair when it poked into your body is now under your skin. If your immune system can't kill off the foreign invaders, they can quickly cause an infection under your skin. This could be extremely dangerous if any staph bacteria was present on the hair or your skin when the hair burrowed through the skin.
Getting Rid of Them
Treating the infection requires getting rid of the hair, killing any bacteria, and if necessary, removing damaged tissue. In some cases, you can pull the hair out yourself. However, whether you do so or not, you should consider seeing a doctor to do it for you.
The hair is typically either removed by tugging on any exposed end and slowly pulling it out, or if necessary, by breaking the skin to pluck the hair out. This is only necessary if the hair is fully under the skin.
If your doctor determines that you have an infection, more treatment will be needed. Draining the wound will remove infected material and speed up the healing process. They will send you home with antibiotics to continue fighting the infection.
Having a hair splinter isn't something that anyone wants to experience, but it can happen. With quick treatment, you're unlikely to experience any serious negative side effects. Consult with a doctor, like those at Choice Medical Group, right away if you think you have a hair splinter.