Razor rash or tinea barbae is a fungal infection of the skin, hair, and hair follicles of the facial area. The condition is sometimes called beard ringworm since the rash may form a ring-like pattern on the skin. Another name for this condition which is passed through direct contact with infected people, animals, contaminated objects, and soil, is barber's itch. Sometimes, the condition is also called tinea sycosis.
The condition is more common in men, but may also affect women who have dark, coarse hair on their necks and faces. This infection occurs in people of all races, sexes, and ages, but tends to mostly affect men in their late teens on into adulthood.
Hot and Steamy
Bearded ringworm occurs most often in warm, humid climates. Agricultural workers are an at-risk population for this condition as it is often passed from animals to people.
Common locations for tinea barbae infection include:
The infection may infect only the superficial or outside surface of the skin, or it may affect the skin that holds the hair shafts, the follicles. You may see up to a two inch patch of scaly pink or red skin. Sometimes pustules form around the hair follicles. In severe cases, there may be hard red nodules covered with pustules or scabs that ooze blood and pus.
Tinea barbae is itchy and severe cases may be accompanied by fever or swollen lymph glands. Oral antifungal medications are the treatment of choice.
Stop shaving during the treatment period. If you have to shave, use a new disposable razor for each shave. Those infected with tinea, often have other fungal infections on different parts of their bodies, so it's important to inspect yourself in areas where fungi can grow, such as in the groin and on the feet.
If you have household pets or farm animals, have them evaluated and if necessary, treated for ringworm by your veterinarian.
In order to confirm a diagnosis of beard ringworm, your doctor may take a skin scraping or an affected hair and look at it under a microscope to check for tell-tale signs of fungal infection. If you have many pus-filled lesions or nodules, your doctor may want to culture the fungus so as to discover the specific organism that is causing the infection. This is done by lancing the lesion and sending a sample to a laboratory. It may take up to three weeks to obtain the results of the culture.
Beard ringworm is treated with one of the following oral anti-fungal medications for 4-6 weeks: