DermNet NZ

Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Pseudofolliculitis barbae

What is pseudofolliculitis barbae?

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a type of folliculitis. It also known as follicultis barbae, shaving rash or razor bumps. It is a foreign-body inflammatory reaction surrounding ingrown facial hair, which results from shaving.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae Pseudofolliculitis barbae Pseudofolliculitis barbae
Pseudofolliculitis barbae

What are the features of pseudofolliculitis barbae?

Pseudofolliculitis barbae occurs more commonly in people who have curly hair because the sharp pointed end of a recently shaved hair comes out from the skin and re-enters the skin close by. After shaving, patients may experience a painful acne-like eruption.

The small lesions may be flesh coloured or red and inflamed. If they become infected, pustules and abscesses may develop.

What is the treatment for pseudofolliculitis barbae?

Treatment for pseudofolliculitis barbae depends on the severity of the condition. If possible, let the beard grow for 30 days to eliminate ingrown hairs. When you are ready to shave again, take the following precautions:

If you have severe pseudofolliculitis barbae you may need topical and oral antibiotics.

Another treatment that may be considered is laser hair removal. In some cases, this is much more effective than any other measure.

If the above measures fail, accept that you have to grow a beard! In certain occupations where beardedness is not approved of, a medical certificate may help.

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Author: Dr Amanda Oakley

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If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.