This itchy condition may not be life-threatening but it can be life-changing. Barber’s itch, also known as “pseudofolliculitis barbae” causes sore, unsightly and embarrassing bumps on the skin. Barber’s itch can even leave to scarring and permanent hair loss.
Barber’s itch is a type of folliculitis, a common skin condition where the air follicles of the beard are inflamed. This irritating condition primarily affects curly-haired men who shave, and is a particular problem for black men. What exactly causes barber’s itch? If you suffer from this problem, what can you do about it?
What are the Symptoms of Barber’s Itch?
The hair follicles are the minute pockets out of which the hairs grow. With barber’s itch, the follicles on the chin, neck and beard area become inflamed and you’ll see small bumps or pimple-like spots on the skin. Over time the bumps turn into scars covering the beard area and the neck.
What are the Causes of Barber’s Itch?
In-growing hairs are the root cause of barber’s itch. And the hairs that cause the problem are curly. When men shave highly curved hair the hairs are sharpened and they tend to grow back into the skin instead of away from it. The push of the tip of the hair into the skin causes inflammation, and can lead to bacterial infection – damaged follicles become infected with Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria. Close shaving is a particular problem and often causes barber’s itch.