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Pseudofolliculitis barbae - Skin
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Pseudofolliculitis barbae - Skin

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Contributors: Noah Craft MD, PhD, Lindy P. Fox MD, Lowell A. Goldsmith MD, MPH, Michael D. Tharp MD
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Pseudofolliculitis barbae, commonly known as "shaving bumps," is an inflammatory disease of hair-bearing areas incited by shaving. The close shaving of curly hair causes the hair to penetrate the wall of the follicle and extend into the dermis as it grows back or to curve back on itself and pierce the skin, such as with an ingrown hair. The condition is common among black men, particularly black policemen and military personnel, who are required to be clean shaven.

Methods of close shaving that predispose to the development of pseudofolliculitis barbae include using razors with multiple blades, plucking hairs with tweezers, shaving against the grain of hair growth, and pulling the skin taut while shaving. Pseudofolliculitis barbae is primarily a cosmetic concern, but it can lead to scarring, infection, hyperpigmentation, and keloid formation.

Pseudofolliculitis pubis is a similar condition that occurs in the genital area after pubic hair is shaved. Shaving of the axillae may cause a similar condition.


L73.1 – Pseudofolliculitis barbae

399205006 – Pseudofolliculitis barbae

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Consider fungal disease by culturing lesions.
  • Bacterial folliculitis is rarely chronic and is usually not scarring. The pustules of PFB are intraepidermal whereas those of folliculitis are intra infundibular.
  • Tinea barbae
  • Acne
  • Sarcoidosis (usually develops into larger papules and plaques)
  • Majocchi's granuloma

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Last Updated: 06/03/2013
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Pseudofolliculitis barbae - Skin
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Pseudofolliculitis barbae : Cheek, Chin, Follicular configuration, Folliculitis, Neck, Shaving or hair removal, Pustules, Firm papules
Clinical image of Pseudofolliculitis barbae
Perifollicular papules and pustules in the beard area.
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