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Pseudofolliculitis barbae is commonly referred to as "razor bumps" or "ingrown hairs,” are a papular and pustular, foreign body inflammatory reaction that can affect any individual who has curly hair and who shaves. Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) is a common condition occuring in African American men and other people with curly hair.


Folliculitis starts when hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing, blockage of the follicle, or shaving. In most cases of folliculitis, the damaged follicles are then infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus (staph). 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.


The possible symptoms of pseudofolliculitis barbae includes:-

  • The affected skin area becomes red.
  • The pimples or pustules may be developing around one or more hair follicles.
  • Bleeding may occur from the affected area.
  • The skin inflammation and swelling are common during pseudofolliculitis barbae.
  • It mostly occurs onneck axilla or groin area.
  • Skin becomes itchy.


For a long-term solution to pseudofolliculitis barbae, laser hair removal may be the best option. Electrolysis and laser hair removal should be considered when all else fails. A couple visits to a laser hair removal clinic could completely eliminate pseudofolliculitis barbae.

If you must use a blade, before shaving wash the face with a mild cleanser such as Cetaphil Lotion, then rinse. Massage the beard area gently in a circular motion with a warm, moist, soft washcloth. This will free up the hair tips so they can be cut with the shaver. The warm water will also soften the hairs, making them easier to cut.

Trials have been carried out using some topical medications (tretinoin and topical antibiotics). These may be helpful and can be discussed with your doctor.  Occasionally a course of oral antibiotics may be required.
In addition to this, you should also wash the beard area with Lever 2000 soap using a Buf-Puf. This will help raise the hairs from under the skin and prevents them from growing back into the skin. This should be done twice a day.

Only a single method of shaving should be utilized. Cleaning the face before shaving removes oil and causes hairs to become more erect, making them easier to cut. Moisturizing shaving foam can be helpful, as well. If changes in shaving technique are not effective, it is sometimes helpful to let the beard grow for 30 days to eliminate ingrown hairs. It may also be helpful to manually extract ingrown hairs.

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