Friday, 21 June 2013

Razor Bumps : Five facts you always wanted to know - Pseudofolliculitis Barbae

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae also  known as Razor bumps is one of the commonest skin condition seen in my clinical practice.  It is a commonly distressing skin condition in men with multiple myths about the condition and treatments. In this blog I try to dispel them and would love if some of you can share your experience with it.

# 1: What are 'Razor Bumps'?
Ans- The rash consisting of red raised lesions and sometimes small pus filled papules or small bumpy lesions in the beard area of the face is known as Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB). It can also present in other shaved areas like pubic region and underarms.

# 2- What is the cause of PFB or Razor Bump?

Ans- When the hair is shaved too close to the skin, it develops a sharp tip that grows and curves downward and re -enters the upper layer of the skin.

# 3-Why only  few people get it and what are the causative factors?
Ans- Few factors which cause and hence can be prevented are-

  • Stretching the skin before shaving causes the sharp edged hair to retract underneath skin.
  • Use of a double edged razor encourages penetration , The first blade serves to pull the hair out of the follicle while the second blade cuts it and allows for retraction.
  • Improper shaving technique -Shaving against the direction of hair growth.
  • Dry Shaving

#4- What can I do to prevent them from coming again? How Do I Shave?Ans - 

  • Washing the beard with warm water and an antibacterial soap for several minutes in circular motion
  • Avoid very close shave ( as popularized by advertisements these days) especially twin or triple -blade razors. Single blade razors  are the best for such patients.
  • Leave the shaving product for atleast 2 to 3 minutes. The harder the beard, the longer it takes to soften the hairs.
  • Shave in the direction of hair growth , with short strokes and without using the other hand to tense the skin.
  • After shaving, rinse the beard area well and dry with a clean towel slowly massaging the beard area in a circular area.
  • Rinse the blades after every use and change them frequently as well.
  • Electric razors as there is a protective gap between the blade and the comb hence preventing close shave. Use them at the medium (not the close) shave position.
  • Shave only when necessary to allow more time for the skin and beard to recover between shaves.
  • To prevent the area from darkening , the patient should avoid shaving products containing alcohol and apply a sunscreen after shaving.

#5 -What are the treatment options?Ans - 

  • Prevention is the best cure and easiest too.
  • It is advisable to stop shaving for some time (around 4 weeks) as the hair above the skin acts as a lever and pulls the ingrown hair itself.
  • Warm water compresses should be applied for 10 to 20 minutes everyday followed by application of topical hydrocortisone 1% cream.
  • Topical antibiotics , Benzoyl peroxide and AHA agents can be helpful.
  • Lasers like long pulsed Nd :YAG , Alexandrite and Diode laser is most effective treatment and in terms of patient satisfaction.
  • Consult your dermatologist before considering any treatment option.
These precautions should help you contain razor bumps and give you a smooth bump free skin. Follow this advice and stay skin healthy and skin wiser!

Dr Divya Sharma is a practicing dermatologist at Bangalore. The data shared in this blog is her personal opinion based on her knowledge and experience. The author is not responsible for any adverse event that arises out of following blog opinion


  1. Thank you Dr.Sharma, am saving this page and will use these method to remove my 17 year old itch. And a personal thanks for the article.

    1. I am glad you found this useful, I hope this helps you.:)

  2. i appreciate this article its really very helpful & explained in very simple way that any one can understand…& will fix in mind forever. well done.


  3. Worth reading..
    Very useful post I face this problem before, I got treatment from online doctor This article is very usefull for me thank you for sharing this post...


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