Home » Psuedofolliculitis Barbae (Hair Bumps)

Psuedofolliculitis Barbae (Hair Bumps)

Hair follicles can become ingrown, infected, inflamed, or irritated, resulting in a variety of bumps. These may include “shaving or razor bumps”, a troublesome ingrown hair condition called Pseudofolliculitis Barbae. While some hair bumps may be unnoticeable for some people, razor bumps can become unsightly and embarrassing, particularly if they become inflamed, thickened and discolored. Many of the patients that visit Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta are experiencing  symptoms of razor hair bumps. A board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Smith at Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta can help manage or reduce these irritations with a variety of treatment options, including permanent laser hair removal.

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB)

Pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor or shaving bumps) is a common condition of the beard area occurring in men of ethnic descent and other people with coarse and curly hair who shave or tweeze the hair on the neck and face. In fact, statistics indicate that up to 60% of African American men suffer from this unsightly condition.  PFB is not to be confused with Pseudofolliculitis pubis – a similar condition experienced from shaving, waxing or use of other depilitories in the bikini and pubic hair area.

source: emedicine.medscape.com

source: emedicine.medscape.com

PFB is a foreign body inflammatory reaction involving papules and pustules, especially if patients’ hairs are coarse, curly and plentiful, and skin is sensitive. The problem results when highly curved hairs grow back into the skin causing inflammation and a foreign body reaction. Shaving sharpens the ends of the hairs like a spear. The hairs then curve back into the skin, trapping the hair follicles, which causes keloid type scarring which looks like hard bumps. The bumps may also also be discolored or darker than the patient’s normal skin color, making them even more noticeable.


Although one option is to let the beard grow after Dr. Smith’s prescribed treatment program has eradicated the ingrown hair lesions, this is not always an option. However, Dr. Smith recommends the following combination treatment plan for eradicating this concern:

  • A daily regimen using a facial cleanser for acne prone skin;
  • Apply a topical 30% salicylic acid peel solution to exfoliate the outer layers of irritated, thickened skin (more than one peel may be necessary over time);
  • Laser hair removal.  Unlike temporary treatment options, laser hair removal can make curly, coarse, dark hairs a thing of the past.

When patients’ concerns about razor hair bumps leads to embarrassment or concerns, it’s important to contact Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kathleen J. Smith. Patients in Decatur, North Decatur, Belvedere Park, Druid Hills, North Druid Hills, Panthersville, Gresham Park, North Atlanta, and the Atlanta Metro Area should call today at 678-904-4932.

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