Tend Skin & Folliculitis

Man Shaving

Hoby Finn/Photodisc/Getty Images

Tend Skin Solution is a consumer product made and marketed by the Tend Skin Company. This topical skin-soother purportedly prevents a type of folliculitis known as "pseudofolliculitis barbae"–also known as "barber's itch" or more commonly, razor bumps. The solution also claims to reduce ingrown hairs. The recipe for Tend Skin Solution isn't too complicated, relying on acetylsalicylic acid as its active ingredient.


The original formula for Tend Skin was developed by a South Florida dentist, Dr. Steven Rosen, along with a private investigator–who was also Rosen's patient–in the mid-1980s. The Tend Skin formula accidentally came about when Rosen realized that an oral medication he administered had curative effects on razor bumps. After eight years of product development, which included laboratory testing and patent approval, Tend Skin Solution was introduced to the consumer market. Other products, such as a Tend Skin shaving gel, deodorant and skin moisturizer, followed.


According to the product patent, Tend Skin is comprised of around 5 percent acetylsalicylic acid in a solvent mixture of between 5 and 15 percent propylene glycol; between 1 to 10 percent glycerin; and no less than 50 percent isopropyl alcohol. The patent goes onto state that even the inventors, Rosen and Robert Lee Brown, don't know what makes Tend Skin Solution effective; however, it's believed that acetylsalicylic acid–which you may know as aspirin–softens the hair shaft, reducing the curvature of the hair and therefore its ability to penetrate the skin or hair follicle when it grows back out.


According to the manufacturer, razor bumps arise when the hairs in your beard curl back into the neighboring skin. Ingrown hairs are those that simply fail to grow back out of the skin after shaving or another type of hair removal; rather, they curl back around within the follicle, creating a bump. The type of superficial folliculitis that's caused by shaving and other types of hair removal may present as unattractive, clusters of red bumps surrounding the hair follicle that may have pus-filled caps, which results from infection, states the Mayo Clinic. If you have this type of folliculitis, you may also experience itchy, red, inflamed skin wherever you shave.


Use Tend Skin on the affected area of skin twice a day, typically once at night and again in the morning after shaving. The manufacturer indicates that razor bumps and ingrown hairs should resolve within two days, after which it may be used as a maintenance treatment. The Tend Skin Company suggests patch-testing the skin for five minutes before using the product more extensively, as the alcohol content in Tend Skin Solution may irritate your skin. The product is also suggested for use before and after other types of hair removal treatments, such as waxing and electrolysis, to prevent skin irritation.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not classify Tend Skin as a medication or drug. The Tend Skin Company has had a "bumpy" past with the FDA, which issued a warning letter to the company in 2001, as the company claimed that Tend Skin products resolved acne, warts, ringworm, athlete's foot and cold sores–these marketing claims veered too closely to representing the product as a medical treatment, which is forbidden under federal law. Ultimately, because Tend Skin is not an FDA-approved medication, your success in using it to treat folliculitis and ingrown hairs may vary from that of other consumers.