Dr. Nicola Finley (Internist)
Dealing with Gnarly Skincare Issues for Men – ‘Integrative Medicine to the Rescue’
Have you heard of Pseudofolliculitis Barbae? You might be thinking to yourself…..pseudo-what?
Pseudofollicullitis barbae is also known as razor bumps, which are itchy and painful bumps that can occur on the chin, cheeks and neck of men. These skin-colored or reddish bumps occur after shaving. Pseudofollicullitis barbae is a skin condition that can be seen in men with tightly curled, thick hair. It’s caused by the curved hair growing back into the skin, which leads to inflammation and the formation of bumps. It’s especially common in Black men - estimated to affect 45-85% of Black men. For some men, this condition can even lead to scarring. Further, it can impact men’s self-esteem and create issues at work if a clean shave is a requirement for their jobs. The good news is that there are strategies for prevention and treatment. The first step starts with awareness.
Increasing awareness about Pseudofolliculitis Barbae occurs organically among men at high risk for this condition and their barbers. Through trial and error, men have developed strategies to minimize the formation of bumps. These men have created a supportive community by sharing information with each other and also while at the barber shop. Some preventative strategies include:
Using electric clippers to avoid a close shave
Shaving in the direction the hair is growing
Pre shave regime of soaking the area with a warm, wet washcloth
Post shave regime of applying alcohol to the area
Treatment options may include topical medications or laser hair removal. However, the definitive treatment for is for men to avoid shaving and to grow a beard. With so many beard styles to choose from, men can decide which style will work best for them individually. When thinking about skin care for men, it’s important to be aware of Pseudofolliculitis Barbae.