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Pseudofolliculitis barbae

Beth G Goldstein, MD
Adam O Goldstein, MD, MPH
Section Editors
Robert P Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH
Mark V Dahl, MD
Deputy Editor
Abena O Ofori, MD


Pseudofolliculitis barbae (pseudofolliculitis of the beard), often colloquially referred to as "razor bumps," "shave bumps," or "ingrown hairs," is a common cutaneous condition that develops as a result of the removal of facial hair. Pseudofolliculitis barbae most frequently occurs in association with shaving and results from an inflammatory response to the cutaneous entrapment of recently cut, short hairs.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae typically presents with firm papules and pustules in the beard area. The appearance of the disorder can be cosmetically distressing for affected patients. Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, secondary bacterial infection, scarring, and keloid formation are potential complications.

The pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management of pseudofolliculitis barbae will be reviewed here.


Pseudofolliculitis barbae is most prevalent in black men. Between 45 and 83 percent of black men and 3 percent of white men who shave facial hair develop pseudofolliculitis barbae [1,2]. Women who remove facial hair also may develop the condition.

While the cheeks and neck are the most common sites of pseudofolliculitis, the condition can occur in any hairy area. Individuals who remove hair from sites such as the axilla, pubic area, and legs may develop pseudofolliculitis in these areas [2].


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Sep 29, 2015.
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