Pseudofolliculitis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
September 14, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

Pseudofolliculitis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Also known as razor bumps, this condition is not usually taken seriously by individuals. But according to medical professionals, it is much more than just a cosmetic concern. If not treated, these bumps may cause permanent damage to the skin.

Razor bumps are formed after a clean shave a day or two later. The skin feels soft and smooth right after the shave, but the following formation of the red tiny bumps leaves behind a rough bumpy surface of the skin. They become an irritation when the affected area grows itchy and red. It may become a cosmetic concern, too, when the bumps are scratched on instead of getting treated.

The medical terms of razor bumps provided by professionals are much scarier: pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), pseudofolliculitis pubis (specifically when the bumps occur in the pubic area), barber’s itch, and folliculitis barbae traumatica, depending on the severity and area of the rash.


Even though this condition can affect anyone who shaves, it is more prevalent in African males and individuals with curly hair.

The reason for this is because when the skin is shaved, it leaves dead skin cells on the top surface. So when the hair starts to regrow from the hair follicles, this dead skin becomes a hindrance in their way. Instead of hair growing straight out of the hair follicles, it curls back inside due to angled pore openings. This creates tiny bumps over each hair follicle.

The bump formation occurs when the hair gets stuck inside the pores. It becomes itchy, red, painful and sometimes swollen. Hispanic people are more likely to develop razor bumps than Asians.


Razor bumps in the early stages are easily treatable. Individuals with curly hair are more likely to develop this condition, especially men. The symptoms do not appear until after a day or two. Waxing, plucking and using chemical hair removal products produce the same effects as the razor blades.

The primary symptoms include red tiny bumps in the shaved area, itchiness, pain and inflammation, discoloration of skin or hyperpigmentation in the affected area, a few harder and round bumps also known as papules, and pustules i.e. lesions similar to blisters which may be filled with pus.

The condition of pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) may occur in any region of the body which has been shaved. The areas which are more likely to develop razor bumps are the face, especially neck, cheeks, jawline and chin, pubic areas i.e. groin and underarms, and legs. Scratching these areas may intensify the condition.


Medical professionals and dermatologists diagnose this condition through visual and physical examination. The dermatologist may physically examine the patient by removing skin tissues from the affected area and look for the cause of the bumps to rule out other medical possibilities.


Home remedies have been proven effective for the treatment of this condition. Using aloe vera gel and applying it to the affected area soothes, moisturizes, and acts as an anti-inflammatory product. It reduces redness and itchiness. Also, using exfoliating scrubs to open clogged pores is an effective way of treating PFB.

Similarly, tea tree oil has antiseptic properties. Applying a soft piece of cloth on the affected skin after soaking it in a dilute solution of warm water and a few drops of oil softens the skin, opens pores, and aids in loosening the ingrown hair. This removes razor bumps’ inflammation, redness and itching.

In severe cases, laser hair removal surgery, incision and extraction of hair manually, and use of steroid creams are prescribed by the doctors. Get more information at Shifa4U—book your online appointment now.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.