Folliculitis is a type of skin condition that occurs when the skin tissues at the base of the hair follicle become infected. Folliculitis barbae is a specific type of folliculitis and can occur in various forms, such as tinea barbae or pseudofolliculitis barbae. These two subtypes occur in the beard area on men. Tinea barbae occurs when beard hairs become infected with fungus, and requires an oral antifungal medication. Pseudofolliculitis barbae occurs when shaved hairs grow back into the skin, and can be treated at home with shaving changes. Men with persistent folliculitis should seek medical treatment.
Wet a clean wash cloth with warm to hot water. Press it to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes. This can soften the skin and help drain the pus that has built up in the follicles.
Apply a thin layer of soothing lotion that contains oatmeal. The moisturizer can alleviate skin irritation and prevent excessive dryness of the skin. Dryness can exacerbate skin irritation.
Use a fresh razor when shaving or switch to an electric razor, suggests Mayo Clinic. Throw out or disinfect the blade of a previously used electric razor with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol to kill infectious organisms. Avoid shaving the area for 30 days if possible, and use a single blade razor instead of a multiple blade, suggests DermNetNZ.org.
Prepare the skin for shaving by soaking it with a hot wash cloth or steaming it in the shower for 10 to 15 minutes.
Slather on a generous amount of shaving gel.
Shave the hair by going with the growth instead of against. Rinse the razor after each stroke. Avoid shaving the affected area for as long as possible, preferably until the infection clears.
Rinse the skin and pat the face dry with a fresh towel.
Apply an after-shave lotion that is free of alcohol or fragrance. PubMed.gov suggests one that contains glycolic acid to help fight the infection.
Trim the beard hairs with a trimmer to make them shorter and more manageable for shaving with a razor.
Consult a health care professional about white-headed folliculitis, as it can be a sign of bacterial or fungal infection that requires medical treatment.