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

Folliculitis barbae

What is Folliculitis barbae?

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

Folliculitis barbae
Folliculitis barbae

What are the features of folliculitis barbae?

Folliculitis barbae occurs more commonly in people who have curly hair, because the curl of the hair means that 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 folliculitis barbae?

Treatment for folliculitis 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:

Severe folliculitis barbae is treated with topical acne treatments or oral antibiotics, particularly tetracyclines.

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

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Author: Dr Amanda Oakley. Updated June 2014.

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