Beard Diseases You Should Know – There are some beard related problems that you should be aware of as a bearded man.
Although the beard problems are not very many, that doesn’t mean we should not discuss them. You need to know that, in your journey of growing your beard, there are certain problems that you could encounter along the way.
Just like as a human being there are certain diseases that you are susceptible to, so does your beard. It might not be life-threatening like cancer or diabetes, but it could be really serious and damaging to your overall facial look. Most beard diseases do a good job of really spoiling the overall look of the beard.
They distort the look of the person as a whole. The thing is, they usually pose more of a cosmetic problem than an actual health problem. In this article, we will be looking at four different possible beard infections you could get in the course of growing your beard.
We will also be looking at reasonable ways that you could use to prevent yourself from getting any of these four diseases. Because truly, the popular saying that, ‘prevention is better than cure’ is popular not just for any reason but for its accuracy and truth. Prevention is really and indeed better than cure. So, what are the four possible beard diseases? Let’s go!
Beard Diseases 1 – Pseudofolliculitis Barbae
This condition is most common among people with curly hair. Pseudofolliculitis Barbae is also called razor bumps or barber’s itch. Pseudofolliculitis Barbae happens when the strands of hair while growing out, curl back into the follicles instead of growing straight out of the skin. This, of course, causes inflammation reaction to the follicles.
Pseudofolliculitis Barbae irritates the follicles especially when the face is shaved repeatedly. Razor bumps or Pseudofolliculitis Barbae happen mostly on the face especially on the bearded areas of the face, but could also occur in the pubic region because that region has delicate and sensitive skin.
How does Pseudofolliculitis Barbae look like?
It manifests as tiny round bumps that are usually congested in one area. They usually look like mini pimples and could appear red or dark depending on your natural skin tone. Those tiny little round bumps are called pustules or papules and they don’t look good at all on the face.
Causes of Pseudofolliculitis Barbae
It is mostly caused by shaving. Because when the hair has been shaved, the hair starts to grow back instantly and then as it grows out back, ingrown hairs start to form. It is these ingrown hairs that cause the skin and follicles irritation that later result in Pseudofolliculitis Barbae. So, shaving your facial hair is a potential Pseudofolliculitis Barbae trigger.
A simple way to prevent Pseudofolliculitis Barbae from happening to you is to grow your beard. Growing your beard completely well lowers your risk of developing it.
If you work in a place where you are mandated to shave, make sure you don’t shave your hair too low. Be sure to leave your hair to be at least 0.5 mm to 1 mm in length to prevent ingrown hairs.
It is better to prevent yourself from having it now than to finally trigger the Pseudofolliculitis barbie due to your persistent shaving. Also, when you want to shave your beard, now use a hot and wet washcloth to massage your beard.
This is so that your beard can soften before you shave. You can also use shaving powders to lower the risk of skin irritation but the best way to prevent Pseudofolliculitis Barbae is to not shave your beard ever again as shaving triggers Pseudofolliculitis Barbae.
The best treatment method you can give to Pseudofolliculitis Barbae if you have I, is to just grow your beard out. Growing your beard out will help to stop the irritation if you want it to heal faster. Another treatment in addition to growing your beard out is to apply some home remedies.
There are several kitchen ingredients you can apply to the bumps to help subside and reduce the redness and inflammation in the affected area. Some of the home remedies you can use are Aloe vera gel inside the plant, exfoliate the affected area – you can also use honey scrub or sponge to exfoliate and also apply the warm compresses.
All these will help to reduce the swelling, inflammation, and redness of the bumps. But remember that even after applying all these and the bumps go, if you go back to shaving your beard, then there is a high chance that the Pseudofolliculitis barbae will come back. Maybe even worse this time! So, your best bet is to stop shaving totally. Grow your beard and apply the home remedies as a treatment.
Beard Diseases 2 – Ingrown hair cyst
This phenomenon occurs when a hair strand gets trapped under the skin because instead of the hair to grow upwards and outwards, it instead grows downwards and gets trapped.
Usually, this leads to a cyst developing which could be painful. And if it gets infected, it can get worse. Ingrown hair cysts are not typically life-threatening but they can be very painful as well.
These cysts that result from the ingrown hairs are usually filled with fluids and a lump around the area of the ingrown hair will surely get swollen.
One symptom that can help you know if you have ingrown hair is itching. If it itches and it is a bump around or in your facial hair, you can be fairly sure you’re dealing with ingrown hair cyst. Although, doctors can mistake ingrown hair cysts to be infections and so they may prescribe antibiotics as treatment.
But really, that’s not the problem. The problem is that your hair is trapped under your skin and it is triggering a reaction. Men with beards generally tend to develop ingrown hair cysts.
It can happen to any bearded man out there, but the more curly your hair is, the greater your tendency to develop ingrown hair and it is even made worse by shaving. This is because when you shave the edges of your facial hair it becomes pointed, making it easier for any strand of hair to pierce back into your skin and start growing there.
- Never shave too close to your skin. Make sure that you are 1mm away from your skin or scalp. This is so that the hair can’t easily curl back and grow into the skin.
- Always shave in the direction that your hair grows. Never shave in the opposite direction.
- When you are done with shaving, apply a warm compress to your beard to prevent any future irritation.
- Shave in little strokes. That is, in short strokes. This is so that you can reduce the risk of your hair growing back into the skin. Just follow these precautions, never shave too low and you’re good.
Beard Diseases 3 – Tinea barbae
This is a fungal infection of the beard in which there is follicular inflammation. The causal organism for this infection is either Trichophyton mentagrophytes or Trichophyton verrucosum. This disease though is very rare, as most beard infections are caused by bacteria and not fungi but Tinea barbae is caused by fungi.
How does Tinea barbae manifest on the face/beard?
It appears as a circular patch on the beard area and a kerion/deeper infection is also possible along with it at the affected area. Usually turns into a circular lump and will appear red or dark in colour.
The thing about Tinea barbae is that it is rarely transmitted from person to person. Instead, it is transferred from animals to humans. This is not to say that it can’t be transferred from humans to humans, but this phenomenon is very rare.
It is especially most common among bearded men working in agriculture. Like we said before, Tinea barbae commonly affects farmers because they are usually in direct contact with them. And also, the fungus that causes tinea barbae is commonly found in farm animals like cows and horses.
Usually, in Tinea barbae, the beard area is inflamed with round and lumpy pustules. It usually is not even itchy or painful to the infected patients but can look severe from outside view. Tinea barbae can only be diagnosed by a qualified doctor’s supervision through laboratory observation and it is usually treated with oral antifungal medicines like Terbinafine.
What are some preventive measures against this infection?
- After touching pets or animals that have fungal infections of any kind and even after touching the animals without any fungal infections, you should ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly. And also treat the animals to ensure that no one contacts Tinea barbae microbes from the animals.
- Always use clean razor blades when shaving and never share with anyone else. Remember that your safety is very important.
- Always used excellent aftershave lotions as they kill microbes effectively.
Beard Diseases 4 – Alopecia areata
This non-contagious disease is one of the leading causes of hair loss according to dermatologists. This disease is believed to be an autoimmune disease where the white blood cells of the patient attack the particular bearded area of the same patient, thereby causing the hair to fall out in that region. Alopecia areata is also known as Alopecia barbae.
Alopecia areata causes hair loss in the bearded area. Alopecia areata could be a genetic or hereditary problem, it could occur as a result of infections or it could also be an autoimmune disease. Apart from attacking the beards of men, it also attacks women as well. Alopecia areata gives signs before it gets worse, but a lot of people tend to ignore its symptoms.
Some microbial infections can cause Alopecia areata e.g, fungal, viral and bacterial infections. These infections attack the hair in the bearded region resulting in the hair falling out. Also, another cause of Alopecia areata is stress and depression. Yes, as ridiculous as it sounds, stress induces falling out of hair and so does depression.
Thirdly, antibodies can mistake the hair and skin around a beard region as foreign bodies and attack that hair region. This autoimmune process causes the follicles to be weak, hence causing the hair strands to eventually fall out. Hormonal changes and genes also have key roles to play in Alopecia areata.
There are several ways to prevent Alopecia areata. Some of them are;
1. Excellent hair care and hygiene
Regularly washing, shampooing and conditioning your beard will go a very long way in preventing Alopecia areata. Because these routine acts strengthen the follicles and keep your beard in good shape.
2. Another sure way to prevent Alopecia areata in your beard is to eat good food, especially fruits and vegetables
These should be added to your daily diet to eat as they strengthen and prevent hair loss even when your genes are speaking otherwise. Since some of the causes of Alopecia areata are beyond your control, you can only do your best to prevent hair loss by making sure you strengthen your hair. And these two prevention methods work well!
Beard Disease 5 – Folliculitis Barbae
The beard area just like any other part of the body can be infected by bacteria such as staphylococcus Aureus when this occurs it leads to a condition called folliculitis Barbae.
Hence folliculitis Barbae is a type of folliculitis that occurs as a result of the infection of the beard area by staphylococcus Aureus.
You may be wondering whether this condition is prominent in men that belong to the beard the gang only, of course, folliculitis Barbae happens to men who shave as well as those who do not shave their beards, that is the beard gang men.
Another form of folliculitis Barbae called Sycosis Barbae is deep-seated and can cause scarring of the area as well as permanent hair loss on the affected area.
Causes of folliculitis Barbae
Folliculitis barbae is caused by the actions of the patients. The action of the patient on the beard area that can cause folliculitis barbae is typically shaving of the beards most especially when it is a close shaving.
This is because the hair that was cut out may go back beneath the skin surface thereby causing skin inflammation because the skin is now inflamed infection of the skin can easily occur leading to folliculitis Barbae.
Features of Folliculitis Barbae
The features of folliculitis Barbae is quite obvious that most times it is very easy to detect that they are forming on the shaved surface.
Now, this is the best approach to detect the features of folliculitis barbae, when a patient finishes shaving, they may experience an acne-like eruption on the shaved area most especially on the beard area and neck area.
These acne-like eruptions further grow to become painful pustules and can equally discharge pus. If there is an already existing eczema/dermatitis it can aggravate folliculitis barbae.
Complications of Folliculitis Barbae
Folliculitis Barbae present on the beard area may lead to further complications which may be more serious and require further medical treatments afterwards.
The complications of folliculitis Barbae include:
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Hypertrophic scarring and keloid formation
- Temporary hair loss
- Permanent hair loss
- Deep-seated folliculitis can cause sycosis Barbae- sinuses, abscesses, and spread of infection caused by autoimmune reactions.
Diagnosis of Folliculitis Barbae
To diagnose folliculitis is very essential for the treatment of the condition. The diagnosis of folliculitis is made by monitoring the presence of painful pustules on the beard area.
In rare cases, diagnosis can also be made by taking swabs for bacterial culture.
Treatment of Folliculitis Barbae
The best treatment to use for folliculitis Barbae depends largely on how severe the condition is. In most cases, it is treated with topical or oral anti-staphylococcal antibiotics.
Prevention of Folliculitis Barbae
It is important that this condition is prevented and of course just know that it is very preventable. If you can follow the ways listed below then be very sure that you can prevent a reoccurrence of folliculitis barbae.
Follow a proper shaving regimen and consider hair removal methods instead of shaving. Hair removal methods you can adopt to help you reduce the occurrence of folliculitis include:
- Eflornithine cream
- Barium sulphide paste
- Calcium thioglycolate
- Intense pulse light
- Laser hair removal
Beard Disease 6 – Seborrheic Eczema
This is a common skin condition that often causes redness and scaly patches.
This condition mostly affects the scalp and, in this case, it is called dandruff. That notwithstanding, it can also develop on other parts of the body especially the oily parts like the face, upper chest, and back.
Causes of Seborrheic Eczema
The exact causes of this condition are not known at the moment although a lot of studies have attributed the causes of the condition to two main factors which are:
- Excess production of oil in the skin which may act as an irritant thereby causing the skin to become red as well as greasy
The second factor is a condition called Malassezia which is a fungus found in the oil of the skin. The Malassezia may sometimes grow abnormally and this causes the skin to secret excess oil. The increased production of oil can cause Seborrheic Eczema.
This type of eczema, when they occur on the beard, is a long-term beard disease that requires absolute care and ongoing treatments.
Proper beard care routine can equally help you to effectively manage the condition.
Symptoms of Seborrheic Eczema
The symptoms experienced from this type of eczema varies from one individual to another and can be aggravated by underlying factors such as stress, change of seasons and heavy consumption of alcohol.
The symptoms caused by Seborrheic Eczema include:
- Redness of the skin on the affected area
- Scaly patches
The appearance of Seborrheic Eczema
Seborrheic Eczema has a distinct appearance that whenever it starts appearing on your skin you won’t be needing a series of guessing to know that its Seborrheic Eczema.
The distinct appearance of this type of eczema include:
- Scaly patches that flake off which may be white or yellowish
- The skin on the beard area affected is always greasy or oily
- The affected area may be red
- The affected area becomes very itchy
- It can cause hair loss on the affected area
Diagnosis of Seborrheic Eczema
To make an accurate diagnosis of the condition, your doctor will need to perform a physical examination by carefully looking at the affected area while asking you about the symptoms and when they started as well as how often you experience the symptoms.
Careful physical examination is needed during the diagnosis because of the symptoms of Seborrheic Eczema is very similar to other skin conditions such as rosacea and psoriasis.
A biopsy can also be performed by your doctor before making the diagnosis, during biopsy the skin cells from the affected area is scraped off and sent to the laboratory for analysis. The results of the test will help to rule out the existence of other skin conditions and the appropriate diagnosis made.
Treatment Seborrheic Eczema
Seborrheic Eczema can be treated through the following ways;
- Shampoos and ointments containing hydrocortisone, fluocinolone, or Desonide can be prescribed. These medications can be applied directly to the area affected.
- Antifungal medications such as terbinafine may be prescribed but not always recommended because of its severe side effects
- Metronidazole can be prescribed to relieve symptoms and fight bacteria. It can be used in both the cream and gel form and can be applied to the skin once daily until the symptoms improve.
Conclusion on Beard Diseases
Above are the four different beard diseases that you should be aware of. It is important to know the potential harms that can happen to your beard so that you can know beforehand, how to prevent them from happening in the future.
These beard problems are terrible though and most of them are not life-threatening, fortunately. But they can disfigure your face and pose huge cosmetic problems. It is better now to know how to prevent them to avoid these unwanted beard diseases from happening in the future.
This is because there are no immediate remedies for these ailments. If you look at it, you will see that the root cause of a lot of beard problems like the ones mentioned above, is shaving. Shaving single-handedly can be blamed for at least three out of four of the beard diseases listed above.