Tag Archives: Human hair growth

Hair Loss in Women

Introduction:
One of the commonest forms of hair loss in women (and men) is a condition called telogen effluvium, in which there is a diffuse (or widely spread out) shedding of hairs around the scalp and elsewhere on the body.

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This is usually a reaction to intense stress on the body’s physical or hormonal systems, or as a reaction to medication.

The condition, which can occur at any age, generally begins fairly suddenly and gets better on its own within about six months, although for a few people it can become a chronic problem.

Because telogen effluvium develops a while after its trigger, and causes generalised thinning of hair density rather than a bald patch, women with the condition can easily be diagnosed as overanxious or neurotic.

Fortunately, it often gets better with time. Telogen effluvium is a phenomenon related to the growth cycles of hair.

Hair growth cycles alternate between a growth phase (called anagen, it lasts about three years) and a resting phase (telogen, which lasts about three months). During telogen, the hair remains in the follicle until it is pushed out by the growth of a new hair in the anagen phase.

At any one time, up to about 15 per cent of hairs are in telogen. But a sudden stress on the body can trigger large numbers of hairs to enter the telogen phase at the same time. Then, about three months later, this large number of hairs will be shed. As the new hairs start to grow out, so the density of hair may thicken again.

Many adults have had an episode of telogen effluvium at some point in their lives, reflecting episodes of illness or stress.

Another common type of hair loss in women is androgenetic alopecia, which is related to hormone levels in the body. There’s a large genetic predisposition, which may be inherited from the father or mother.

Androgenetic alopecia affects roughly 50 per cent of men (this is the main cause of the usual pattern of balding seen as men age) and perhaps as many women over the age of 40.

Research shows that up to 13 per cent of women have some degree of this sort of hair loss before the menopause, and afterwards it becomes far more common – one piece of research suggests that over the age of 65 as many as 75 per cent of women are affected.

The cause of hair loss in androgentic alopecia is a chemical called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, which is made from androgens (male hormones that all men and women produce) by the action of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase.

People with a lot of this enzyme make more DHT, which in excess can cause the hair follicles to make thinner and thinner hair, until eventually they pack up completely.

Women’s pattern of hair loss is different to the typical receding hairline and crown loss in men. Instead, androgenetic alopecia causes a general thinning of women’s hair, with loss predominantly over the top and sides of the head.

Another important cause of hair loss in women is a condition called alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that affects more than two per cent of the population. In this, the hair follicles are attacked by white blood cells. The follicles then become very small and hair production slows down dramatically, so there may be no visible hair growth for months and years.

After some time, hair may regrow as before, come back in patchy areas, or not regrow at all. The good news is that in every case the hair follicles remain alive and can be switched on again; the bad news is that we don’t yet know how to do this.

TOP MYTHS ABOUT FEMALE HAIR LOSS:-
•It means you’re not a proper women with two X chromosomes.
•It’s caused by washing your hair too often.
•It’s caused by too much brushing or combing.
•Hair dyes and perms can cause permanent loss.
•It may result from wearing hats and wigs.
•Shaving your hair will make it regrow thicker.
•Standing on your head will help it grow back.
•It’s a sign of an overactive brain.
•There’s a miracle cure out there waiting for you.
•Scan the internet and you’ll see all sorts of miracle cures for baldness on offer, from strange herbal lotions to mechanical devices. Perhaps the most useful first step you can take is to avoid the myths.
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After this there are several options. You can find some way to accept the change and live with it (let’s face it, this is a tall order – most men struggle to come to terms with their baldness and for them at least society equates it with maturity and power).

You can try cosmetic treatments such as wigs or hair thickeners, or you can try medical therapies. The last option is hair-replacement surgery.

The drug minoxidil was first developed for treating high blood pressure, which was found to have the side effect of thickening hair growth in some people. It’s now available as a lotion to apply directly to the scalp.

No one really knows how it works, however, and it’s not effective for everyone. Studies show that only about 20 per cent of women between 18 and 45 have moderate regrowth using the drug, while another 40 per cent experience minimal regrowth.

It works best on younger people with early hair loss. A big disadvantage is that you have to carry on using minoxidil indefinitely or the new hair will fall out.

Another drug, finasteride, which was developed for treating prostate cancer, has also been found to be effective but is only available for men.

Surgical techniques for restoring hair have improved greatly in the past couple of decades, but this is still an option that requires careful consideration.

There are two main options:
•Hair transplantation – tiny punch-holes of skin containing a few follicles of hair are taken from elsewhere in the body (such as the back of the head, if this is still well covered) and implanted into the thinning areas. Some surgeons use a needle to sew in just one or two hairs. However, as women are more likely to have diffuse loss of hair all over the scalp, this technique may not be possible. There has been little success with implanting artificial fibres.
•Scalp reduction – devices are inserted under the skin to stretch areas of scalp that still have hair, then the redundant bald areas are removed. Alternatively, flaps of hairy scalp can be moved around the head.
Key points
•Many causes of female hair loss are temporary – check your general health and be patient.
•Take a look at your family for an idea of your risk of female pattern baldness.
•Don’t be taken in by claims for wonder products – there’s no cure for female pattern hair loss.
•Many women cope well by using cosmetic products, hats and wigs, so persevere until you find your own style.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/hair_loss_women.shtml

http://www.prevention.com/health/beauty/unsure/hair-loss-in-women/article/1aebd08f88803110VgnVCM20000012281eac____/

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Hair-Raising Tale

Scientists have discovered that activating a gene can trigger hair growth.
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This must be music to the ears of the millions of men and women who fret day in and day out about hair loss. The findings of a team of researchers from Sweden’s Umeå University that appeared recently in the journal PLoS Genetics offers a strand of hope for balding people in the not-so-distant future. The team found that activating a gene called Lhx2 can lead to increased hair growth.

“I think that our study can have practical implications in the future since we know a way of inducing hair growth,” Leif Carlsson, the Umeå molecular medicine scientist who led the study,  .

Hair is formed in hair follicles — complex mini organs in the skin that specialise in the task of hair formation. The follicles normally form when the child is in the mother’s womb. To ensure the continuous generation of hair, each hair follicle goes through three cyclical phases: recession, rest and growth. The length of the growth phase determines the length of the hair. For instance, the growth phase for scalp hair lasts for a number of years, while that for eyebrows lasts for only a few months.

Hair formation ceases after the growth phase. This is the recession phase when the rate of growth of hair reduces, finally entering a period of rest. After the rest period, a new growth period begins and the old hair is ejected from the body and lost. The reason for this complex system has still not been understood, but it has also been seen that hair growth adjusts itself to seasons.

In the present study, Carlsson’s team found that protein expressed by the gene Lhx2 plays an important role in regulating hair formation. The Lhx2 gene is active only during the growth phase and is turned off during the rest period. The studies, conducted on mice, showed that when the Lhx2 gene was switched off, the hair follicles could not produce hair. They also demonstrated that once the gene was switched on, the growth phase was activated and this, in turn, triggered the formation of hair.

Another significant, and perhaps more useful, finding from the studies was that the expression of the Lhx2 gene can be manipulated even after birth, and that it is sufficient to activate the growth phase and stimulate hair growth.

To be sure, this is not the first time that scientists have busted the myth that hair follicles can be formed only during the development of an embryo. Scientists led by dermatologist George Cotsarelis, at the Pennsylvania University School of Medicine in the US, had put to rest that half-a-century-old belief by making mice, with deep cuts in the their skin, grow hair. Their study, which was reported in the journal Nature in 2007, showed that new hair follicles are formed in a mouse when it is wounded deep enough (nearly five millimetres).

But, importantly, the new follicles were slightly different from the ones that develop during the embryo stage. In embryos, follicles are produced by skin stem cells, which had very little to do with follicular development in the wounded mouse. Instead, the epidermal cells — that give rise to the outermost layer of the skin — were reprogrammed to make hair follicles. The instructions for this, they found, came from a class of proteins called “wnts”. The wnts proteins are known to play a role in hair follicle development in an embryo.

Regarding the latest study Carlsson said, “We have to find clinically acceptable ways to turn this gene on. But finding such drugs may take many years. Our next goal is to systematically screen for compounds that will do this trick.”

That trick will be a blessing for the estimated half the world population which experiences hair thinning by the age of 50.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Folliculitis

Alternative Names

Pseudofolliculitis barbae; Tinea barbae; Barber’s itch

Definition:   Folliculitis is inflammation of one or more hair follicles. The condition may occur anywhere on the skin.

Folliculitis is a common skin condition in which hair follicles become inflamed. It’s usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. At first it may look like small red bumps or white-headed pimples around hair follicles — the tiny pockets from which each hair grows. The infection can spread and turn into nonhealing, crusty sores.

The condition isn’t life-threatening, but it can be itchy, sore and embarrassing. Severe infections can cause permanent hair loss and scarring.

If someone has a mild case, it’ll likely clear in a few days with basic self-care measures. For more serious or recurring folliculitis, one may need to see a doctor.

Certain types of folliculitis are known as hot tub rash, razor bumps and barber’s itch.

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Causes: Folliculitis starts when hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing, blockage of the follicle, or shaving. In most cases of folliculitis, the damaged follicles are then infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus (staph).

Barber’s itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the beard area of the face, usually the upper lip. Shaving aggravates the condition. Tinea barbae is similar to barber’s itch, but the infection is caused by a fungus.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a disorder occurring primarily in black men. If curly beard hairs are cut too short, they may curve back into the skin and cause inflammation.

Most carbuncles and furuncles and other cases of folliculitis develop from Staphylococcus aureus.

Folliculitis starts when hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing, blockage of the follicle, or shaving. In most cases of folliculitis, the damaged follicles are then infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus (staph).

Iron deficiency anemia is sometimes associated with chronic cases

Sycosis barbae or Barber’s itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the bearded area of the face, usually the upper lip. Shaving aggravates the condition.

Tinea barbae is similar to barber’s itch, but the infection is caused by the fungus T._rubrum.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a disorder occurring primarily in men of African descent. If curly beard hairs are cut too short, they may curve back into the skin and cause inflammation.

Hot tub folliculitis is caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa often found in new hot tubs. The folliculitis usually occurs after sitting in a hot tub that was not properly cleaned before use. Symptoms are found around the body parts that sit in the hot tub — typically the legs, hips and buttocks and surrounding areas. Symptoms are typically amplified around regions that were covered by wet clothing, such as bathing suits.

Symptoms

Common symptoms include a rash, itching, and pimples or pustules near a hair follicle in the neck, groin, or genital area. The pimples may crust over.

typically occur on neck axilla, or groin area

may be present as genital lesions

itching skin

Folliculitis signs and symptoms include:

*Clusters of small red bumps or white-headed pimples that develop around hair follicles

*Pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over

*Red and inflamed skin

*Itchy or burning skin

*Tenderness or pain

*A large swollen bump or mass

Diagnosis:   The diagnosis is primarily based on how the skin looks. If the usual treatments don’t clear up your infection, he or she may use a swab to take a sample of your infected skin. This is sent to a laboratory to help determine what’s causing the infection. Rarely, a skin biopsy may be done to rule out other conditions. Lab tests may show which bacteria or fungus is causing the infection.

Treatment:    

Treatment may include antibiotics applied to the skin (mupirocin) or taken by mouth (dicloxacillin), or antifungal medications to control the infection.

*Topical antiseptic treatment is adequate for most cases

*Some patients may benefit from systemic flucloxacillin

*Topical antibiotics such as mupirocin ointment.

Home remedies:

Mild cases of folliculitis often respond well to home care. The following self-care approaches may help relieve discomfort, speed healing and prevent an infection from spreading:

Apply a warm, moist washcloth or compress. Do this several times a day to relieve discomfort and help the area drain, if needed. Moisten the compress with a saltwater solution (1 teaspoon of table salt in 2 cups of water).

Apply over-the-counter antibiotics. Try various nonprescription infection-fighting gels, creams and washes.

Apply soothing lotions. Try relieving itchy skin with an oatmeal lotion or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.

Clean the affected skin. Gently wash the infected skin twice a day with antibacterial soap. Use a clean washcloth and towel each time and don’t share your towels or washcloths. Use hot, soapy water to wash these items. And wash clothing that has touched the affected area.

Protect the skin. If possible, avoid shaving. If you must shave, try an electric razor. When you’re done, rinse your skin with warm water and apply moisturizer

Prognosis:   Folliculitis usually responds well to treatment, but may recur.

Possible Complications:

  • Folliculitis may return
  • Infection may spread to other body areas

Alternative medication:-

Is there any alternative treatment for Folliculitis
Signs, symptoms and treatment of folliculitis

Treat Folliculitis alternatively

Cure your Folliculitis

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When to Contact a Medical Professional:

Apply home treatment and call your health care provider if symptoms recur frequently, if they persist longer than 2 or 3 days, or if the infection spreads.

Prevention:

To prevent further damage to the hair follicles and infection:

  • Reduce friction from clothing.
  • Avoid shaving the area if possible (if shaving is necessary, use a clean new razor blade or an electric razor each time).
  • Keep the area clean.
  • Avoid contaminated clothing and washcloths.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000823.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folliculitis

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/folliculitis/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20025909

Graying of Hair

Have you ever watched someone try to cover up gray hair by dyeing it? Or maybe you wonder why your granddad has a full head of silver hair when in old pictures it used to be dark brown? Getting gray, silver, or white hair is a natural part of growing older, and here’s why.

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Each hair on our heads is made up of two parts:
a shaft :- the colored part we see growing out of our heads
a root : – the bottom part, which keeps the hair anchored under the scalp .

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The root of every strand of hair is surrounded by a tube of tissue under the skin that is called the hair follicle (say: fah-lih-kul). Each hair follicle contains a certain number of pigment cells. These pigment cells continuously produce a chemical called melanin (say: meh-luh-nin) that gives the growing shaft of hair its color of brown, blonde, red, and anything in between.

Melanin is the same stuff that makes our skin’s color fair or darker. It also helps determine whether a person will burn or tan in the sun. The dark or light color of someone’s hair depends on how much melanin each hair contains.

As we get older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die. When there are fewer pigment cells in a hair follicle, that strand of hair will no longer contain as much melanin and will become a more transparent color – like gray, silver, or white – as it grows. As people continue to get older, fewer pigment cells will be around to produce melanin. Eventually, the hair will look completely gray.

People can get gray hair at any age. Some people go gray at a young age – as early as when they are in high school or college – whereas others may be in their 30s or 40s before they see that first gray hair. How early we get gray hair is determined by our genes. This means that most of us will start having gray hairs around the same age that our parents or grandparents first did.

Gray hair is more noticeable in people with darker hair because it stands out, but people with naturally lighter hair are just as likely to go gray. From the time a person notices a few gray hairs, it may take more than 10 years for all of that person’s hair to turn gray.

The other big reason for graying hair is the environment. A recent study
indicates that smokers are 4 times more likely to become prematurely gray (or
bald). The mechanism is not clear but may have to do with vessel constriction
caused from the chemical (such as nicotine) absorption . In youngters, vitamin
B-12 deficiency, thyroid imbalance, anemia or viruses can cause gray hair to
appear as well. There is a phenomenon of “going gray” due to a shock or
fright but is not well documented and is hard to explain physiologically.

According to Ayurveda excessive passion, anger and phychic strain results in graying of hair .Persons suffering from chronic cold and sinusitis and those who use warm water for washing there hair are more likely to be victims of this condition.

Ayurvedic Treatments:

Bhringraja and amalaki are popularly used for the treatment of this condition .Medicated oil prepared by boiling these two drugs, viz ,Mahabhringraj taila is used extremely for massaging the head, The powder of these two drugs is also used internally in a dose of one teaspoonful three times daily with milk. The oil prepared from the seeds of the Neem tree is used for inhalation twice a day for about a month. along with this ,the patient should be advised to take only milk as his diet.

Healing Options

Ayurvedic Suppliments: 1. Mahabhringaraj oil 2.Bhringarajsava 3.Amalaki Rasayan Lauha Rasayan

Diet : These therapies will be effective only when the patient observes diet restrictions. As far as possible, he should take only milk and sugar. Salt should be avoided. Sour things like yogurt are not useful. Pungent, hot and spicy food should be avoided.

Lifestyle: The patient should not remain awake for along time at night and should be kept free from worry, anxiety and passion. If suffering from cold and sinusitis, prompt and careful treatment should be given. Hot water should never be used for washing the hair. Cold water should always be used for bathing.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.

Help taken from: www.kidshealth.org and Allayurveda.com

Boils(Skin Abscesses)

What is a boil?
A boil, also referred to as a skin abscess, is a localized infection deep in the skin. A boil generally starts as a reddened, tender area. Over time, the area becomes firm and hard. Eventually, the center of the abscess softens and becomes filled with infection-fighting white blood cells that the body sends from the blood stream to eradicate the infection. This collection of white blood cells, bacteria, and proteins is known as pus. Finally, the pus “forms a head,” which can be surgically opened or spontaneously drain out through the surface of the skin.

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Boils At A Glance
1.A boil, or skin abscess, is a collection of pus that forms inside the body.
Antibiotics alone can be inadequate in treating abscesses.
2.The primary treatments for boils include hot packs and draining (“lancing”) the abscess, but only when it is soft and ready to drain.
3.If you have a fever or long-term illness, such as cancer or diabetes, or are taking medications that suppress the immune system, you should contact your healthcare practitioner if you develop a boil (abscess)

4.There are a number of methods that can be used to prevent the various forms of boils.

There are several different types of boils. Among these are:

Furuncle or carbuncle:
This is an abscess in the skin caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. A furuncle can have one or more openings onto the skin and may be associated with a fever or chills.
Cystic acne: This is a type of abscess that is formed when oil ducts become clogged and infected. Cystic acne affects deeper skin tissue that the more superficial inflammation from common acne. Cystic acne is most common on the face and typically occurs in the teenage years.
Hidradenitis suppurativa
: This is a condition in which there are multiple abscesses that form under the arm pits and often in the groin area. These areas are a result of local inflammation of the sweat glands. This form of skin infection is difficult to treat with antibiotics alone and typically requires a surgical procedure to remove the involved sweat glands in order to stop the skin inflammation.
Pilonidal cyst: This is a unique kind of abscess that occurs in the crease of the buttocks. Pilonidal cysts often begin as tiny areas of infection in the base of the area of skin from which hair grows (the hair follicle). With irritation from direct pressure over time the inflamed area enlarges to become a firm, painful, tender nodule making it difficult to sit without discomfort. These frequently form after long trips that involve prolonged sitting.

Why do boils occur?

There are many causes of boils. Some boils can be caused by an ingrown hair. Others can form as the result of a splinter or other foreign material that has become lodged in the skin. Others boils, such as those of acne, are caused by plugged sweat glands that become infected.

The skin is an essential part of our immune defense against materials and microbes that are foreign to our body. Any break in the skin, such as a cut or scrape, can develop into an abscess should it then become infected with bacteria.

Who is most likely to develop a boil?

Anyone can develop a boil. However, people with certain illnesses or medications that impair the the body’s immune system (the natural defense system against foreign materials or microbes) are more likely to develop boils. Among the illnesses that can be associated with impaired immune systems are diabetes and kidney failure. Diseases, such as hypogammaglobulinemia, that are associated with deficiencies in the normal immune system can increase the tendency to develop boils.

Many medications can suppress the normal immune system and increase the risk of developing boils. These medications include cortisone medications (prednisone and prednisolone) and medications used for cancer chemotherapy.

What is the treatment for a boil?

Most simple boils can be treated at home. Ideally, the treatment should begin as soon as a boil is noticed since early treatment may prevent later complications.

The primary treatment for most boils is heat application, usually with hot soaks or hot packs. Heat application increases the circulation to the area and allows the body to better fight off the infection by bringing antibodies and white blood cells to the site of infection.

As long as the boil is small and firm, opening the area and draining the boil is not helpful, even if the area is painful. However, once the boil becomes soft or “forms a head” (that is, a small pustule is noted in the boil), it can be ready to drain. Once drained, pain relief can be dramatic. Most small boils, such as those that form around hairs, drain on their own with soaking. On occasion, and especially with larger boils, the the larger boil will need to be drained or “lanced” by a healthcare practitioner. Frequently, these larger boils contain several pockets of pus that must be opened and drained.

Antibiotics are often used to eliminate the accompanying bacterial infection. Especially if there is an infection of the surrounding skin, the doctor often prescribes antibiotics. However, antibiotics are not needed in every situation. In fact, antibiotics have difficult penetrating the outer wall of an abscess well and often will not cure an abscess without additional surgical drainage.

When should I seek medical attention?

Any boil or abscess in a patient with diabetes or a patient with an underlying illness that can be associated with a weakened immune system (such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.) should be evaluated by a healthcare practitioner. Additionally, many medicines, especially prednisone, that suppress the immune system (the natural infection-fighting system of the body) can complicate what would be an otherwise simple boil. Patients who are on such medications should consult their healthcare practitioner if they develop boils. (If you are not sure about your medications’ effects on the immune system, your pharmacist may be able to explain to you which medicines to be concerned about.)

Any boil that is associated with a fever should receive medical attention. A “pilonidal cyst,” a boil that occurs between the buttocks, is a special case. These almost always require medical treatment including drainage and packing (putting gauze in the opened abscess to assure it continues to drain). Finally, any painful boil that is not rapidly improving should be seen by the healthcare practitioner.

What can be done to prevent boils (abscesses)?

There are some measures that you can take to prevent boils from forming. The regular use of antibacterial soaps can help to prevent bacteria from building up on the skin. This can reduce the chance for the hair follicles to become infected and prevent the formation of boils. In some situations, your healthcare practitioner may recommend special cleansers such as pHisoderm to even further reduce the bacteria on the skin. When the hair follicles on the back of the arms or around the thighs are continually inflamed, regular use of an abrasive brush (loufa brush) in the shower can be used break up oil plugs and build up around hair follicles.

Pilonidal cysts can be prevented by avoiding continued direct pressure or irritation of the buttock area when a local hair follicle becomes inflamed. At that point, regular soap and hot water cleaning and drying can be helpful.

For acne and hidradenitis suppurativa (see above), antibiotics may be required on a long-term basis to prevent recurrent abscess formation. As mentioned above, surgical resection of sweat glands in the involved skin may be necessary. Other medications, such as isotretinoin (Accutane) can be used for cystic acne and has been helpful in some patients with hidradenitis suppurativa. Recurrences are common in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa.

Finally, surgery may occasionally be needed, especially in pilonidal cysts that recur, but also for hidradenitis suppurativa. For pilonidal cysts, surgically removing the outer shell of the cyst is important to clear the boil. The procedure is typically performed in the operating room. For hidradenitis suppurativa, extensive involvement can require plastics surgical repair.

IN THE CONCLUTION IT CAN BE SAID THAT AYURVEDA IS THE BEST SOLUTION FOR NORMAL BOILS FROM WHICH MOST US SUFFER FROM .

Source:www.medicinenet.com

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