Follicle is the basic structure located within the skin from which hair grow. Folliculitis can occur in any hairy area of skin. Folliculitis barbae is a medical term used for inflammation of hair follicles in beard area. The condition is also called razor bump or shaving rash.
Folliculitis barbae usually occurs due to shaving, especially in people having curly hair. The causative organism in most cases if staphylococcus bacteria. Cuts, bruises, contaminated shaving equipment and sharp edge of curly hair are triggers of folliculitis barbae.
Folliculitis barbae produces acne like eruptions which are painful and red.They may be filled with pus when infected. Folliculitis barbae can be treated at home with change in shaving technique, using aseptic shaving instruments and antibiotics.
What Causes Folliculitis Barbae?
Folliculitis barbae is inflammation of the hair follicle of beard area. The organism responsible for this skin condition is staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Folliculitis barbae particularly affects men who shave regularly. Normally staphylococcus bacteria are present on skin and inside the nose of almost all individuals. But it does not cause any harm. Symptoms are produced only when the organism gets a chance to enter into the skin through cuts and damaged skin.
The condition also occurs more in males who have curly hair. The sharp edges of beard hair may curl up and enter into the facial skin leading to inflammation of the follicle. Normally the upper layer of the follicle gets affected but in some cases inflammatory changes occurs in deeper layer which causes more pain and irritation to neighboring hair follicles.
Symptoms Of Folliculitis Barbae
Folliculitis barbae as the name suggests affects the beard area. The condition is confined to males in beard area. Symptoms usually develop after shaving. Painful acne like bump erupts within one or two days after shaving. Bump arises around the hair follicle. It is fiery red and tender to touch.
Often a yellow spot is seen on the bump which occurs due to formation of pus. There are number of bumps present on face. The area is sore and red. Adjacent bumps may merge together to form large lesion. A tiny hair follicle is noticeable inside the bump.
People with curly beard hair are more prone to folicultis barbae as the sharp edge of the cut hair may grow inwards into the skin which irritates and causes inflammatory skin reaction. Folliculitis barbae is not hereditary condition as many people think.
Treatment And Prevention Of Folliculitis Barbae
Foliculitis barbae lesions can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. Depending on the severity of the condition, antibiotic ointment or oral tablets are effective. Ointment has to be applied on the bumps. Avoid shaving for the next few days. Instead let the beard grow for few days till the bumps are taken care of.
Take a warm wet cloth and press it over the bump for few minutes. Once the skin becomes soft, pus can drain easily from the bump. Apply antiseptic cream or aloe vera gel on the lesion. Aloe vera helps to keep the lesion moist and reduce irritation.
Once the lesion heals, try to prevent reinfection by following few important steps:
- Use electric razor. Throw away the used blade and use new blade every time you shave. This will reduce chances of contamination of the instruments.
- Soak the shaving blades and clean the instruments with alcohol. It helps to disinfect the material.
- Before shaving clean your face with warm water.
- Apply the shaving gel liberally on beard area. Preferably containing antiseptic ingredients.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth instead of shaving against it.