Understanding Pseudofolliculitis barbae: An Advanced Course in Folliculitis

In the second installment of CLn Skin Care’s blog series on folliculitis, we’re covering Pseudofolliculitis barbae. The condition, also known as “barber’s itch,” can be a lifelong struggle, often resulting in painful bumps. If left untreated, scarring can result. We’ve asked skin expert Mark Jackson, MD to answer frequently asked questions regarding this condition. Read on to learn more.

QUESTION: What is Pseudofolliculitis barbae?

Pseudofolliculitis barbae, or “PB or PFB, is a condition that involves the beard/neck area and occasionally the scalp. It is an inflammation around the hair follicles that causes small bumps that can become irritated and occasionally infected. It also makes it hard to shave or cut the hair in those areas due to the irritation that is present.

QUESTION: What causes Pseudofolliculitis barbae?

PB is caused by coarse and/or curly hairs. The curl of the hair can make it difficult for the hair to exit through the follicle opening, thus creating a bump, an ingrown hair and more inflammation. Chronic manipulation, such as shaving or scrubbing, creates worsening of the condition. While plucking helps remove the hair, it creates another issue as the new hair is unable to get through the opening due to the inflammation that is present.

QUESTION: How does PB impact a sufferer? 

These bumps can be painful, become infected and can create secondary scarring. Sometimes the condition can be so severe that it creates significant scarring and loss of hair in the areas.

QUESTION: How do you treat Pseudofolliculitis barbae?

PB is treated with good hair grooming techniques, and by avoiding plucking or irritating the already inflamed bumps. When shaving or cutting the hair, it is best to leave the length above the skin until the inflammation has resolved, so as not to create another ingrown hair. Topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory creams or washes can be helpful, as can oral antibiotics in cases where the areas have become infected. Laser hair removal is also helpful as it works at the root cause.

QUESTION: What role does cleansing play in managing the condition?

Proper cleansing techniques help to decrease bacterial overgrowth in the affected area, and to decrease secondary infections. Good cleansers with some antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties also help to control the flares of this chronic condition and to treat active outbreaks. 


We hope you’ve found these expert answers on Pseudofolliculitis barbae helpful. CLn Acne Cleanser and CLn Shampoo are both suitable for use with this condition. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog, as we’ll cover other forms of folliculitis and many more skin conditions in upcoming months.



Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this website are not intended to substitute diagnosis and/or treatment by a medical professional. These products have been clinically tested and proven to be safe for intended use. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a specific medical condition.

The post Understanding Pseudofolliculitis barbae: An Advanced Course in Folliculitis appeared first on CLn® Skin Care Blog.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise explicitly stated, the content on this blog, including all articles, videos, and other information, is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice, or other institution.