PFB (Pseudofolliculitis barbae) is a common ingrown hair condition in the beard area of men and women. It tends to be worse in individuals with very curly or kinky hair. Cutting the hair too close or below the follicular orifice can cause hair to get trapped in the follicle causing irritation and inflammation. PFB can be painful, embarrassing and result in scarring and hyperpigmentation.
When shaving, place a warm towel to the face before shaving because it warms the skin and softens the hair.
– Double or triple bladed razors cut the hair too close.
– Make sure to rinse the razor thoroughly after each shave.
– Shave in the direction of the follicle and do not stretch the skin.
– Electric razors offer good results, but do not press the razor close to the skin.
– Electric clippers offer good results, but instruct your barber not to shave too close.
Excessive hair growth on the upper lip, chin or beard area is due to an increase of testosterone and fluctuation in hormones. Women are more prone to use tweezers and dig into the follicle to remove ingrown hairs. This leads to permanent scarring and hyperpigmentation. When pigment formation is disturbed at the dermal level, this kind of hyperpigmentation can never be resolved. It can be lightened considerably, but never fully eradicated.
Skin Care Regime
Look for products that soothe and have the following active ingredients: antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory.
– The skin should be cleansed morning and evening.
– An exfoliants can be used, but do not be overly aggressive.
– After shaving apply a soothing gel.
– Use products to address hyperpigmentation (not hydroquinone)
Antifungal and antibacterial – tea tree essential oil and yucca stem extract
Soothing anti-inflammatory and repair – calendula, arnica, allantoin, sodium hyaluronate
Exfoliating – alpha hydroxy acids, glycolic acid and salicylic acid
Hyperpigmentation – niacinamide, vitamin C, kojic acid, arbutin
To read more on this topic, check out the following sources:
Harmon, H. (2014). Skin, Inc., “Preventing pseudofolliculitis barbae in male clients”, July 2014, pp. 46-50.
Cole, G. (2014). Medicine.Net, “What is pseudofolliculitis barbae?” Retrieved July 9, 2014, from http://www.medicinenet.com/folliculitis/page3.htm#what_is_pseudofolliculitis_barbae