Do you suffer from itchy or painful bumps on your beard or back of the neck? Are you frustrated because nothing works? You’re not alone! We can help!

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (aka PFB or Razor bumps) is an inflammatory reaction to ingrown hair that results most commonly from improper shaving technique. Sharply cut curly hairs can re-enter the skin and cause painful, inflamed bumps. Although more prevalent in African American men (possible genetic predisposition), it can happen in all men, especially those with curly hair. When long-lasting, there can be resultant scarring, hair loss, or pigmentary changes.

What can you do?

  • Let your hair grow out! Shave less frequently!
  • Use an electric shaver instead of a razor blade. If you prefer a razor blade, a single blade razor is better than a multiblade razor.
  • Use a hot cloth or a warm gentle wash to soften the skin and open the follicles prior to shaving.
  • Lather skin well with a shave gel formulated for sensitive skin.
  • Shave with the grain from jawline down (in the direction of hair growth).
  • Change razor blades often to minimize skin irritation from multiple passes or hair plucking.
  • Use a soothing after-shave lotion to help heal the skin.

What can we do?
Evaluate your skin and determine a skin care plan that best fits your needs which may include:

  • Topical steroids to help control inflammation
  • Topical retinoids (tretinoin) to help with exfoliation of the skin and dislodge ingrown hairs
  • Topical or oral antibiotics to treat concurrent infection or control inflammation
  • Laser hair removal to eliminate the source!
  • Topical pigment lighteners, chemical peels, or laser treatments for resultant post-inflammatory pigmentation.

Acne Keloidalis Nuchae (AKN) is a form of chronic inflammation that affects hair follicles on the back of the neck. This can result in itchy or painful pink or pus-filled bumps, and may eventually heal with scars/keloids in susceptible individuals. AKN is more prevalent in African American men, but can occur in all men. Similar to PFB, it is thought to result from ingrown hairs or damaged hair follicles secondary to close haircuts (fades/tapered cuts). Secondary bacterial infection is possible.

What can you do?

  • Let your hair grow out! Avoid skin-tight cuts to allow hairs to grow out beyond the follicle opening
  • Avoid friction from shirt collars, hats, helmets, etc.
  • Use a medicated wash or shampoo 3-4 times per week to help prevent infection

What can we do?
Evaluate your skin and determine a skin care plan that best fits your needs which may include:

  • Topical or oral antibiotics to treat infection and control inflammation
  • Topical steroids to control inflammation or steroid injections for larger or symptomatic lesions
  • Topical retinoids to promote exfoliation of clogged follicles. Oral retinoids (isotretinoin) may be used in severe cases.
  • Surgical excision of large keloid scars.

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