How Do I Deal with Beard Rash?

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  • Written By: A.M. Boyle
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2019
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Beard rash is an annoying, sometimes painful problem that can become worse over time if not recognized and treated properly. It is best to avoid the condition entirely by taking preventative measures, such as not using old or soiled razors and practicing good personal hygiene. Warm saltwater soaks can help if the rash develops pustules. Topical antibacterial creams and lotions can also help alleviate symptoms. In advanced cases, prescription antibiotics might be necessary for the condition to heal properly.

Otherwise known as barber’s itch, beard rash occurs when the hair follicles in a beard area become infected with bacteria. Normally, the bacteria that cause the condition wouldn’t be able to break the barrier of the skin, but shaving compromises that barrier, allowing the bacteria to infect the follicles. The condition, known more commonly in medical circles as sycosis barbae, will typically appear as a red, itchy rash that can develop small, pus-filled pockets.

It is best to avoid the rash altogether by following simple preventative measures. First and foremost, you must follow good personal hygiene, washing your face and hands often to prevent the spread of bacteria. Don’t use dirty or worn-out razors, and avoid reusing disposable ones. It is wise not to share clippers or combs with another person because doing so could spread bacteria. Although shaving while your face is wet might feel more comfortable, it can encourage the rash because the skin is more vulnerable to bacterial intrusion when wet.


If you suspect that you have beard rash, you should avoid shaving or, at the very least, switch to an electric shaver. Electric shavers are less traumatic to the skin. For mild cases, tea tree oil can help. Tea tree oil works as an antiseptic and has antibacterial properties. You can find aftershave lotions that contain tea tree oil, and it might be beneficial to add it to your shaving routine even before any signs of rash.

In some cases, small, white pustules will form in the area of the rash. Using a warm saltwater soak for 15 minutes twice a day will help relieve that condition. If the rash does not improve after a few days or gets worse, you might need antibiotics and should see your doctor. Sometimes, a topical antibacterial cream, such as vioform or mupirocin will be prescribed. In severe cases, oral antibiotics might be needed.

Left unattended, beard rash can become a chronic condition and can even cause scarring. Certain conditions, such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders, can predispose you to this condition. Once you’ve contracted beard rash, it is usually an indication that you will be susceptible to it in the future. In that event, you need to always be extremely conscientious in your personal hygiene and take the necessary preventative measures to avoid contracting the rash.


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Post 3

My dad used to go to the barber shop for shaves regularly. He didn't like shaving himself. He got Barber's itch frequently for this reason.

Unfortunately, barbers often use the same razor on different people. Some barbers are good about hygiene and use a fresh one for each customer. Others are not so good about and give people facial rashes and beard rash.

The best solution is doing one's own shaving. My dad still goes to the barber, but he takes his own razor with him now.

Post 2

@ddljohn-- Razor burn usually happens from using a dull blade. Make sure that your razor's blades are sharp. Using a new razor which has three blades, will give you the best shave. And don't press too hard on your skin while shaving. If you just need a trim, then use an electric razor rather than a regular one.

The other important tip is to use plenty of shaving cream. Use a hot towel to soften your beard first, and apply plenty of shaving gel or cream. Never shave dry skin.

As for treatment, you might want to use antibiotic cream on those red areas and just leave it alone so that it can heal. Vitamin E oil and pure aloe vera gel are great home remedies for treating razor burn. They help skin heal faster. You can use those after a day or so.

Post 1

I'm not sure what type of rash it is, but I have a face rash that's red and painful. I think it might be razor burn. What am I doing wrong? How should I treat it?

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