This patient information and photograph on Pseudofolliculitis is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.
What is it? Pseudofolliculitis is a peculiar disorder of the skin also sometimes known as
"shave bumps". It typically occurs in adult men who shave, and sometimes woman that have excessive facial hair. Typically it appears as red bumps, ingrown hairs, or pus bumps on the beard area of the face and neck.
What causes it? Close shaves cut the hairs below the skin surface. When the hair grows out it often pierces the hair pore wall resulting in inflammation. Pseudofolliculitis is more commonly seen in black men, because the hairs are curved and therefore more likely to pierce the pore wall.
Is it dangerous? For the typical healthy person pseudofolliculitis is a harmless disorder. Severe cases can get secondarily infected and may result in scarring.
Can it be cured? The easiest cure is to stop shaving, but for those who find this is not
possible, treatment may be of some benefit. Permanent reduction in hair, using lasers, will be a cure in some individuals. We do offer laser treatment of pseudofolliculitis in my office but it is not covered by insurance.
What home care should I use?
- If you can't stop shaving use an electric razor or new razor blade each time. You may want to try using a Triple-0 Electric clippers instead of shaving or using the Bump Fighter Razor ® in place of a regular blade.
- Minimize friction from clothing/collars in the neck/beard area.
- Use medicated powder in the collar area on a daily basis. This helps keep the area dry and reduces frictional pressures. I recommend Zeasorb AF Powder.
- After shaving sometimes a mild hydrocortisone lotion will help reduce inflammation and itching. You might try Aquanil HC.
- I also recommend trying a body wash with benzoyl peroxide on a daily basis or using Hibiclens wash on the affected areas.
- If these recommendations don't help you may want to consider permanent hair removal see Laser hair removal.
Will it spread? It stays restricted to shaved areas of the body.
Is it contagious? Pseudofolliculitis is not contagious and you can not "catch it" from anyone.