NEWSLETTER - March 2018
Original article from Nimue Education SA
Male beard growth is stimulated in the follicles by testosterone as well as the even more powerful male androgen hormone, Dihydrotestosterone.
An analysis of fashion pictures shows that beardlessness began among young men in the 1890’s, during World War I, since beards harboured lice.
Today shaving one’s beard on a daily basis is still a very common practice. A practice that in many cases has many side effects to certain inflammatory conditions such as:
- Ingrown Hairs
- Pseudofolliculitis barbae (also known as razor bumps/ razor rash)
Ingrown hairs develop when the hair curls and grows back into the skin due to incorrect shaving techniques. Individuals with coarse or curly hair have a bigger risk of developing this condition. Shaving a beard can promote development of ingrown hairs and is a big contributing factor. When there’s an ingrown hair, the skin reacts as it would to a foreign body. Typical signs of an ingrown hair are:
- Development of bumps which are small, solid with a round shape
- Development of pus-filled lesions
- The affected area becomes darker, possible post inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Inflammation of the affected area accompanied by itching and pain
- Presence of embedded hairs
Pseudofolliculitis Barbae is an inflammatory disorder caused by persistent irritation, inflammation of the hair follicles and ingrown hair formation after shaving. The condition usually covers part of the beard area (where the individual shaves).
After a hair has been shaved, it begins to grow back. Curly hair tends to curl into the skin instead of straight out of the follicle, leading to an inflammation reaction. Pseudofolliculitis Barbae can make the skin look itchy and red. These inflamed papules and pustules can form if the area becomes infected. If left untreated over time, this can cause keloid scarring in the beard area. Pseudofolliculitis Barbae can further be divided into two types of ingrown hairs: transfollicular and extrafollicular.
The hair has exited the follicle but then re-enters. While shaving, sharp edges are created. When the hair grows again, it curls and re-enters the skin.
The hair does not exit the follicle and because of its natural curly nature, it curls back into the follicle causing fluid build-up and irritation.
Prevention and Treatment
- Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead skin build-up which may block the entrance/exit of the hair follicle.
- Nimue facial treatments are great for deeper exfoliation and lightening any scarring and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- Electric razors should be avoided.
- When using a wet razor, a single blade or wire-wrapped blade will prevent shaving too closely and changing the blade with every shave will ensure that no bacteria is spread, and the blade does not become blunt.
- Shave in the direction of the hair growth.
- Shave every second day, rather than daily.
- Softening the beard first with a hot, wet cloth or shave while showering in hot water.
- Picking and scratching the razor bumps must be avoided as this can lead to scarring and infection.
- Severe transfollicular hairs may require medically attention.