Pseudofolliculitis barbae is the medical term for razor bumps. It is a foreign-body inflammatory reaction surrounding ingrown facial hair, which results from shaving. The problem occurs more commonly in people who have curly hair. This condition is called "pseudo" folliculitis because it is caused not by a bacterial infection, but by the regrowth of hair after it has been shaved. It is most common on the male face, but it can also happen on other parts of the body where hair is shaved or plucked, especially areas where hair is curly and the skin is sensitive, such as genital shaving. The cause of this is very simple. Blade shaving sharpens the ends of the hairs like a spear. The hairs then curve back into the skin and cause Pseudofolliculitis barbae. In some cases, the trauma can be so severe as to result in scar or keloid formation. For a long-term solution to pseudofolliculitis barbae, laser hair removal may be the best option.
This condition occurs most often in people with very curly, kinky hair. For most cases, totally avoid shaving for 3 to 4 weeks until all lesions have subsided, while applying a mild prescription cortisone cream to the involved skin each morning. Shaving every other day, rather than daily, will improve pseudo-folliculitis barbae. Electrolysis and laser hair removal should be considered when all else fails. Use of an electric shaver may also help the condition because it does not cut as close as blades do. Use the electric razor on high setting to avoid close shaving and prepare beard with electric razor pre-shave. Medications are also prescribed to speed healing of the skin. Left untreated, this can develop into acne keloidalis nuchae, a condition where hard, dark keloid -like bumps form on the neck.
Causes of Pseudofolliculitis barbae
The cause of this is very simple. Blade shaving sharpens the ends of the hairs like a spear. The hairs then curve back into the skin and cause Pseudofolliculitis barbae. Women of color who tweeze or pluck their facial hair will find that the hair breaks below the surface of the skin, pierces the hair follicle and then produces the same inflammatory response and bumps. In some cases of folliculitis, the damaged hair follicles become infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus.
Common causes and risk factors of Pseudofolliculitis barbae:
- Blade shaving.
- Disorder such as Dermatitis.
- Use of Plastic dressings or adhesive tape.
- Some medications or viruses.
- Excess perspiration.
Signs and Symptoms of Pseudofolliculitis barbae
Pseudofolliculitis barbae predominantly affects black men. It is most noticeable around the beard and neck. Generally, this condition describes the ingrowth of emerged facial hairs back into the skin at a location currently adjacent to the follicle from which the hair has emerged. This penetration back into the skin causes an antigenic foreign body reaction at the point of re-penetration, resulting in lesions consisting of firm papules and pustules in which the ingrown hair can become buried.
Sign and symptoms may include the following :
- Skin becomes red.
- Pimples or pustules located around a hair follicle.
- Itchy skin.
Treatment for Pseudofolliculitis barbae
For most cases, totally avoid shaving for three to four weeks until all lesions have subsided, while applying a mild prescription cortisone cream to the involved skin each morning. Use of an electric shaver may also help the condition because it does not cut as close as blades do. Use the electric razor on high setting to avoid close shaving and prepare beard with electric razor pre-shave. Hot moist compresses may promote drainage of extensive folliculitis. Your doctor may also prescribe topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics, and antifungal medications.
Treatment may include:
- Use a polyester skin-cleansing pad twice a day.
- A moisturizing shaving foam can be used to make the condition better.
- Lotion containing glycolic acid can also be applied to the affected areas.
- Topical antibiotics such as Bactroban, oral antibiotics e.g., dicloxacillin, or antifungal medications are generally taken to control the infection.
- Retin-A or a topical antibiotic solution prescribed by your doctor can help the problem.
- Laser hair removal may also be helpfull.