Pseudofolliculitis Barbae Treatment Tips – I remember having some really tough razor bumps based on the sensitivity of my skin, before I eventually decided to love my beards the way it is. It was really gross and made me uncomfortable. If you are currently in the shoes I was back then, you should know that you might probably be infected with pseudofolliculitis barbae.
Do you want to know more on pseudofolliculitis barbae treatment tips? Read on
The Folliculitis barbae is a type of folliculitis which affects the area around the beard area. This is due to the staphylococcus aureus bacterial infection. Whether they shave or not, this occurs in all men. Deep-seated folliculitis barbae leads to scarring and making the area reduce to permanent hair loss.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) is a very common disorder most especially among darker-skinned men with coarse curly hair.
Although these symptoms are synonymous with men, it also affects the women also and this is due to the fact that the PFB exists not only in the beard area, but also in every other area with thick, coarse curly hair. This includes the bikini area and axillae or armpit area.
What is pseudofolliculitis barbae?
This Pseudofolliculitis barbae, is an inflammatory reaction which encompasses the growing facial hairs. It normally results from shaving. Asides for the beard area, it can also occur on any part of body where hair has been shaved or plucked, and this includes the axillae, pubic area, and legs.
It is commonly called shaving rash or razor bumps.
At first, you have a smooth and soft feeling from the skin after a clean shave — but then the red bumps set in. They are not only annoying, but razor bumps; in some cases, can cause permanent damage if they’re not treated.
Apart from pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), razor bumps is also medically known as pseudofolliculitis pubis (this is when the bumps occur in the pubic area), barber’s itch and folliculitis barbae traumatica
Symptoms of razor bumps
Apart from the normal primary symptom of the raised, red bumps, others include:
- darkening of the skin darkening
- small papules (solid, rounded bumps)
- pustules (pus-filled, blister-like lesions)
Razor bumps can occur on anywhere that has been shaved. Other conditions causing it are: Waxing, plucking, and removal by chemical depilatory. They’re most likely to occur in the:
Who gets pseudofolliculitis barbae?
The rate of being affected by this bacterium is very high among males of African ancestry than among Caucasian men. This disorder can also affect women of all races as it is associated with improper shaving practices.
What causes pseudofolliculitis barbae?
As the hair that is being cut away while shaving may retract under the surface of the skin, this is a major cause of the disorder. It can occur in skin folds and scars. And people with curly hair are mostly affected as the curls means that the sharp pointed end of the recently shaved hair comes out from the skin and reenters the skin. The injured follicles are highly vulnerable to become infected, causing folliculitis barbae.
What are the complications of pseudofolliculitis barbae?
After a shave, on the shaved area now, which might be on the face or neck of the man, an patients may experience an acne-like eruption on the area that has been shaved
PFB is usually described as ingrown hairs which is normally associated with flesh-coloured or red follicular papules. This though, may be itchy or tender.
- It mostly presents painful pustules and can discharge pus.
- When shaved, Lesions may bleed
Most serious complications from razor bumps can be avoided, provided it is treated early. Otherwise, if the bumps aren’t treated, there is a risk of scarring. These include keloid scarring, which is in form of hard, raised bumps. In rare cases however, the patient may need surgical intervention as abscesses may form.
PFB, as a chronic condition, can be physically uncomfortable. However, it can be treated and prevented, in most cases, by simply adjusting your hair removal process.
Seek professional treatment as soon as possible, if you find that you’re unable to resolve razor bumps on your own. This needed to prevent complications that could result in permanent scarring.
How are pseudofolliculitis barbae and folliculitis barbae diagnosed?
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a diagnosed clinically. Dermatoscopy, may be necessary to see the ingrown hairs. Folliculitis barbae is diagnosed by the presence of painful pustules.
How to prevent razor bumps
The treatment for this disorder depends on the severity of the condition. If you can, let the beard grow for 30 days so as to eliminate ingrown hairs. Then take the following precaution when you are ready to shave again.
- Make sure that the skin is well moisturized. You might want to use a lotion containing glycolic acid to the affected areas. This lotion exfoliates the surface skin cells and reduces the possibility of new inflamed spots.
- Use a polyester skin-cleansing pad or moisturizing shaving foam to clean the skin. Always make use of a non-irritating shaving cream.
- Shave less frequently and when you do, aim to have a 5 o’clock shadow immediately after shaving.
- Remember always not to pull the skin while shaving.
- Replace you razor frequently. And it is advisable to use single blade disposable razor, electric hair clippers or a razor with an attachment. This leaves the cut hairs long.
- Do not stretch your skin. Instead of against it, shave in the direction of the follicle.
- Sterilize metal hair clippers and electric razors in boiling water, and soak plastic items in antiseptic solution.
As this disorder is due to bacterial infection, they are treated with topical or oral anti-staphylococcal antibiotics. There is medical treatment for it which might include the use of: topical acne treatments, hydrocortisone cream to reduce the itching and inflammation, oral tetracyclines to also reduce inflammation, hydroquinone among others.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae treatment tips (razor bumps)
Everyone knows prevention as the best method to address disorders, but when it is no longer needed then cure is next. The following natural remedies may also be a part of pseudofolliculitis barbae treatment tips:
1. Aloe vera
Aloe vera stops itchiness, inflammation as it has an antibacterial, soothing, moisturizing, and anti-inflammatory effect. It helps to reduce the redness caused by the razor bumps.
Apply the remove the aloe gel from inside the plant leaves to the affected areas. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes. Repeat this treatment few times a day.
2. Tea tree oil
Like the aloe vera, tea tree oil also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. It soothes the redness and inflammation of the razor bumps by opening up the pores and loosening the ingrown hair. Apply 10–15 drops of this tea tree oil into a bowl of warm water. Soak a washcloth in the mixture and spread the cloth over the affected area for 30 minutes. Depending on the need for it, you can repeat a few times a day.
3. Exfoliating scrub
Exfoliate the affected area gently. This is to clear away dead skin cells that may be clogging up the pores. Make use of a mild exfoliator which are available for sale in stores, or you can mix sugar and olive oil together to form a do-it-yourself paste.
Rub this on the affected area in a circular motion for five minutes and then rinse off with warm water.
4. Other tips for treating PFB:
If the patient doesn’t mind growing a beard, it is advisable to grow one. If the hair are not plucked or shaved off, the chances of having ingrown hairs that stimulate this condition are less.
If removing the hair is a must, there should be consideration of clipping the hairs with a protector; using a self-cleaning electric razor (replacing the blades at least every 2 years); and using thick shaving gel with either a single or twin blade razor, or a chemical depilatory.
Another option for the patient is laser hair removal. This is particular with longer pulsed (1,064 nm or 810 nm) lasers in darker-skinned individuals. A dosage of Eflornithine 12% twice daily for 16 weeks has been shown to work greatly with laser hair removal.
If shaving is compulsory, it is best to advise patients to:
- Apply warm compresses to the beard area few minutes preceding shaving. It is also advisable to use a mild exfoliant, loofah or toothbrush in a circular motion as this will help allow any ingrown hairs to be more easily plucked or released at the skin surface.
- Use shaving gel and a sharp razor each time.
- Not pull the skin taut.
- Not shave against the direction of hair growth.
- Take short strokes and do not shave back and forth over the same areas.
- After shaving, use a soothing aftershave or hydrocortisone 1% lotion.
A combination of benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin topical gels should be introduced if inflammatory papules or pustules are present. Patients with severe inflammation may require oral antibiotics.
A topical retinoid or the combination of retinoid product with hydroquinone should be used at night as this can be helpful, most especially postinflammatory hyperpigmentation cases. It is safe to note that caution is needed when prescribing retinoid for patients with darker skin, as they are prone to irritation from these products which may lead to postinflammatory pigmentary alteration. Always remind patients who uses topical retinoids to avoid drying products, such as toners.
Chemical peels with 20%-30% salicylic acid can be helpful for severe or refractory postinflammatory hyperpigmentation or inflammatory papules. This very common skin condition, affects 45%-83% of men of African ancestry, and the best method of managing it is to avoid close shaving and preventing a sharp hair shaft tip.
Using single blade razors, electric clippers, and even depilatories can help though, that is for those who do not want a full beard, maybe due to personal or professional reasons.
All of these techniques prevent curly beard hairs from recurving before its time for emergence. And also, providing treatment options is important because the condition can be quite disfiguring, with such long-term physical disfiguration as scarring beard and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation – this is changes in appearance that can have a significant psychosocial impact on affected men,
Therapies are centered on avoiding close shaving and/or preventing a sharp hair shaft tip.
But note that one primary treatment is to stop shaving, as embedded hairs suddenly release about one centimeter of growth. This process can take up to 2 months though, but a close scrutinizing of the military dating back to the 1970s revealed that a great percentage of pseudofolliculitis barbae cases were resolved after then service members stopped close shaving practices.
However, most people wants a clean-shaven appearance. But the truth is, they can modify their shaving practices.
Always have it in mind that electric clippers are a very good alternative to razors. A blade setting that allows at least 0.5-1 mm stubble is just fine.
Acting as a weakening keratin bond, chemical depilatories are also effective, as there is no possibility of regrowth for a dilapidated hair. There is therefore, less likelihood of it puncturing the skin.
Please note that these substances can cause irritant contact dermatitis. And even though newer formulations are less harmful, they are also less effective too.
Do not forget this basic precaution. As they say prevention is better than cure, it is also very cheaper. Before having that shave, men particularly, should wash with a mild cleanser, always use a gentle circular technique to free any entrapped hairs, then apply your moisturizing shaving cream.
Those razors should be changed after every five to seven shaves, and your shaving should always be done in the direction of beard growth without pulling on the skin.
Laser hair removal is the best option for extreme cases. They no longer respond to conservative and medical management. A large percentage of affected individuals may find it difficult to change their shaving practices where uniformed service regulations or office dress codes require men to be close shaven. This should not pose a problem as a note from a physician can be helpful.
Most doctors provides their patients with a form letter addressed to their employers, explaining what the fact is exclusively, and that is: the patient has a skin disorder that is exacerbated by shaving, and that the patient should be permitted to maintain a well-groomed beard. This request should not be difficult for the employer to be granted, but it might depends on the employees past records though.
Now that you have an idea of the pseudofolliculitis barbae treatment tips you should know, wellness is the key word in everything. If you notice any irregularity in your beards, do not hesitate to seek medical counsel.