Beard rash

Alternative Name:sycosis barbae,Pseudofolliculitis barbae; Tinea barbae; Barber’s itch

Definition:
Beard rash or Barber’s itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the beard area of the face, usually the upper lip. Shaving makes it worse. Tinea barbae is similar to barber’s itch, but the infection is caused by a fungus.It  is a cutaneous condition characterized by a chronic infection of the bearded region.

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Lost Beard
Lost Beard (Photo credit: Chris and Kris)

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a disorder that occurs mainly in black men. If curly beard hairs are cut too short, they may curve back into the skin and cause inflammation.

The bacteria most often responsible for beard rash are those usually found on the skin surface such as streptococci or staphylococci. These bacteria can’t normally penetrate the barrier that the skin forms but if the skin is broken during shaving the bacteria may get through the skin’s defenses and start an infection.

Some factors increase the risk of beard rash, such as using or sharing unclean razors, clippers, combs or scissors. Anything that reduces a person’s overall immunity may also increase the risk.

Symptoms;
Common symptoms include a rash, itching, and pimples or pustules near a hair follicle on the beard area and the area becomes red, itchy, sore, lumpy, and often very painful if small abscesses develop. The pimples may crust over and the skin may be left scarred after the rash heals, unless it’s correctly treated.

Diagnosis:
A diagnosis is primarily based on how the skin looks. Lab tests may show which bacteria or fungus is causing the infection.

Treatment :

Your GP will confirm the diagnosis for you and advise you on the most appropriate type of  antibiotics applied to the skin (mupirocin) or taken by mouth (dicloxacillin), or antifungal medications to control the infection. It’s important to complete the whole course.

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It can return after treatment, but there are a few things that usually prevent this from happening. Although you may prefer wet shaving, because it gives a clean feel to the skin, it does remove the top layer of skin, leaving nicks and scratches where bacteria can get in. Electric shaving is probably best for the time being since it’s gentler on the skin. The best time to shave is after a bath or shower, when the skin is moist.

A hot, moist compresses may promote drainage of the affected follicles.

Tea-tree oil gel is a good antiseptic and has antibacterial benefits. Get yourself an aftershave that contains this. Never let other people use your shaving equipment and always keep it clean.

Prognosis:
Folliculitis usually responds well to treatment, but may come back.

Possible Complications:
•Folliculitis may return
•Infection may spread to other body areas

Prevention:
To prevent further damage to the hair follicles and infection:

•Reduce friction from clothing
•Avoid shaving the area if possible (if shaving is necessary, use a clean, new razor blade or an electric razor each time)
•Keep the area clean
•Avoid contaminated clothing and washcloths

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/beardrash.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sycosis_barbae
http://www.dermnet.com/Sycosis-Barbae
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000823.htm

http://www.skininfection.com/Resources/ImgLib/Folliculitis.html

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