What is Tinea Barbae?
Tinea Barbae which is common term known as Beard Fungus or Barber’s Itch is a fungal infection of the skin in the area of the face where there is growth of beard meaning that it affects mainly the bottom area of the face and some part of the neck. As the name suggest, Tinea Barbae is solely limited to males and does not affect females in any way. It is usually found in adolescents or young adults. Tinea Barbae has now become quite rare due to the modern hygiene practices which prevent any fungal infections especially in the facial area.
What Causes Tinea Barbae?
Tinea Barbae is mainly transmitted by using shaving razors that have been used by someone else probably by someone who has had an infection resulting in an itchy skin rash around the cheek and the jaw area where maximum amount of beard grows. The fungi which cause Tinea Barbae are called as dermatophytes and are quite common. This is the same fungus which causes other skin conditions like jock itch or athlete’s foot.
These fungi have special enzymes in them which tend to destroy keratin which is a protein in the body which makes outer layer of the skin tough. Tinea Barbae is a superficial infection meaning that it does not affect the internal tissues structures of the affected area, although there may be severe reactions caused due to this fungi which may result in some bacteria present in the atmosphere infiltrating the skin and causing bacteria infections which may require treatment.
The species of dermatophytes principally responsible for Tinea Barbae are Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton verrucosum, and Microsporum canis. There are other species also present of this fungi that may cause Tinea Barbae.
What are the Symptoms of Tinea Barbae?
Minor cases of Tinea Barbae may cause no symptoms at all while severe cases of this condition may result in severe itching and a visible red rash at the affected area. The rash is mostly visible in the chin and neck which may then spread from there. The rashes caused due to Tinea Barbae have a ring like appearance and hence they are also called as ringworms. The lesions caused by Tinea Barbae may or may not be inflammatory. The lesions that are inflammatory are red associated with swelling of the skin and nodules. There may be discharge from the lesions as well. The affected individual may also experience pain in the affected area. The noninflammatory type of Tinea Barbae lesions may be red and swollen but will not cause discharge or pain. Along with this, there will be loss of hair and itchiness of the skin due to Tinea Barbae.
Treatment of Tinea Barbae
The mainstay of treatment for Tinea Barbae involves removing any hair in the affected area and utilization of antifungal creams and lotions. In most of the cases, topical medications are enough to treat mild cases of Tinea Barbae, for some extreme cases oral antifungal medications are recommended by the treating physician. Some of the medications used for treatment of Tinea Barbae are Fluconazole, Itraconazole, and Terbinafine. It is recommended to use these medications for a minimum of six weeks for the infection to be completely resolved. Once the infection resolves there are certain preventive measures that can be taken so as to prevent recurrence of Tinea Barbae. In some cases, antibacterial agents may be used prior to starting the actual treatment of Tinea Barbae so as to reduce the chances of any further recurrence.
How to Prevent Tinea Barbae?
Tinea Barbae may be quite rare but there are certain simple measures that can be taken to prevent Tinea Barbae. These measures are:
- Try and use a clean razor and not share it with anyone else.
- Apply caution when sharing things like a towel especially to an individual who has Tinea Barbae so as to prevent getting this condition.
- If an individual has a pet at home then it is recommended to wash hands thoroughly after touching or patting the pet before touching the face so as to prevent conditions like Tinea Barbae.
- If an individual has fungal infections anywhere else in the body then he should ensure that the infection is treated appropriately and on time to prevent Tinea Barbae.
- Use a good after shave lotion after shaving as it acts as microbial and disinfects the skin and prevents conditions like Tinea Barbae.
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