Pseudofolliculitis Barbae

September 14, 2005
Robert P. Blereau, MD

The rash on the neck of this 24-year-old man first appeared when he began to shave as a teenager. Pseudofolliculitis barbae affects 50% to 75% of black persons and 3% to 5% of white persons who shave.

The rash on the neck of this 24-year-old man first appeared when he began to shave as a teenager. Pseudofolliculitis barbae affects 50% to 75% of black persons and 3% to 5% of white persons who shave.1

Robert P. Blereau, MD of Morgan City, La, comments that this condition represents a foreign body reaction to hair that is cut below the skin surface and curves back after emergence to penetrate the follicular wall of the skin. Because of the low hair-skin angle, the neck generally is affected more severely than the cheeks.

The use of specially constructed razors that prevent close shaving and lubricating shave gels may ameliorate the condition. If inflammation arises, prescribe an antistaphylococcal antibiotic, such as cephalexin or amoxicillin and clavulanate, and advise your patient to suspend shaving.

REFERENCE:1. Habif T. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 3rd ed. St Louis: MosbySMQ-8211-SMQYear Book; 1996:248-250.