Skin’s a weird thing, isn’t it. You might have thought once you emerged from your high school years, kicked acne in the asshole and stopped being such an awkward dickhead that yours would just get into line. And then you grew a beard, and for some reason now get pimples INSIDE your beard? What fresh hell is this?
It’s actually called folliculitis, and yours likely falls under one of two types – bacterial folliculitis, or ingrown hairs/razor bumps. Both are treatable – we had a chat to facialist Diandra Politano about how to get yours under control.
First up – what does folliculitis look like, specifically?
“Folliculitis appears as red, infected and inflamed hair follicles. It is very common on the back of the arms and in beards,” explained Diandra.
They may look exactly like pimples – whitehead and all, or they may look like raised red bumps. Sometimes, you can see a trapped hair and sometimes you can’t. Bacterial folliculitis is actually itchy, white, pus-filled bumps that occur around the hair follicle, and are caused by an infection from bacteria. Ingrown hairs are, of course, a hair which has become trapped under a layer of skin.
Folliculitis ranges from mild to severe, and of course – if you’re suffering from severe folliculitis, you’ll need to go see your GP. Luckily, loads of folliculitis can be treated with topical creams.
“If the condition is mild some topical medicated creams, like vitamin A, can treat ingrown hairs and pimples,” Diandra explained. “They can also both be treated with a good spot treatment. For severe cases, treatments will vary.”
The best way to control folliculitis is to use preventative measures – especially if your folliculitis is the ingrown hair kind. First up – keep a good skincare routine going.
“Scrub and moisturise! Very obvious but very important, it keeps the skin smooth and healthy,” explained Diandra.
Try using a facial scrub every second or third day, and moisturise daily. Also – wash your face with a cleanser morning AND night – you need to get rid of environmental aggressors, sweat and dirt to fix this situation up. Also? Change your pillowcase weekly, guys.
Alternatively, there are also liquid exfoliators you can put on a cotton pad and swipe over your beard, to keep your hair follicles clear.
“It’s especially important for when the hairs start growing back, your skin must be clear of any dead skin build up in order for the hair to come through well,” explained Diandra.
When it comes to shaving, prep is also key.
“For a beard, shave straight after a shower when your pores are soft and open. After a close shave keep your skin clean and always wipe it down after the gym. If ingrowns persist you may need to consider using clippers and not doing a close shave,” explained Diandra.
Some men who get severe folliculitis find laser hair removal will clear it up – even if it’s on part of your beard, like your neck area.
Just a note – using these preventative measures should clear up ingrown hairs. Bacterial folliculitis may require a trip to the GP, as you may need to get a topical lotion to kill the bacteria.