Acne keloidalis nuchae (AKN) occurs when hairs on the back of the head and neck grow into the skin, become inflamed, and cause scar tissue. AKN is more common in people with stiff or curly hair and those with darker skin. These ingrown hairs usually occur following a short haircut on the back of the head and nape of the neck. The ingrown hairs lead to scar tissue which may form hypertrophic scar or keloids.
Treatment of AKN includes suppression of the inflammation with antibiotics and steroid gels or intralesional steroid injections. Larger bumps of AKN present for a while or if not responding to treatments may need surgical removal. Unfortunately, to prevent regrowth they need to be cut out widely and deeply. They heal best if left open, which can take weeks to months. Intralesional steroid injections or radiation treatment after surgery helps prevent recurrence of the AKN.
Hair removal lasers may prove to be a very useful tool in early AKN. If a person knows he is prone to this condition, but before it becomes an advanced case, laser hair removal may prevent further AKN from developing.
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