Also known as barber’s itch, pseudo folliculitis barbae is a medical term that is used to describe a constant irritation caused by shaving. Most commonly, this irritation happens to men with extremely thick, curly facial hair, but this condition is not limited to the face.
Pseudo folliculitis barbae generally occurs after the skin has been shaved and the hair that begins to grow back doesn’t grow properly. Instead of exiting the epidermis and continuing to grow outward, hairs curl back into the skin as a form of ingrown hair called extrafollicular hair. Pseudo folliculitis barbae also causes ingrown hairs where the hair never leaves the skin, called transfollicular hair. Usually, this occurs when the hair is damaged during the attempted removal, but those with this condition have hair that is curled so tight, it grows beneath the skin in several directions.
With pseudo folliculitis barbae, the skin often appears red and irritated, and the effects of the hair curling back into the skin cause bumps that many confuse with acne. These small bumps—inflamed pustules—are likely to form if pseudo folliculitis barbae occurs, and can lead to an infection.
- Tight, curly hair
- Coarse, thick hair
- Electric razors have been proven to slow down the effect
- Laser hair removal can permanently remove hair in the area
- Medical lasers can thin the hair so that the area won’t be as irritated