What is the role of topical medications in the treatment of pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB)?

Updated: Feb 07, 2019
  • Author: Thomas G Greidanus, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Topically applied tretinoin (Retin-A) has shown promise for some patients. When used nightly, it alleviates hyperkeratosis. It may remove the thin covering of epidermis that the hair becomes embedded in upon emerging from the follicle. [10, 11]

Topical combination cream (tretinoin 0.05%, fluocinolone acetonide 0.01%, and hydroquinone 4%) (Triluma) has been shown to provide some benefit by targeting the hyperkeratosis (tretinoin), inflammation (fluocinolone), and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (hydroquinone). [12]

Mild topical corticosteroid creams reduce inflammation of papular lesions. [10]

Topical eflornithine HCL 13.9% cream (Vaniqa) has been used for excessive facial hair and in patients with pseudofolliculitis barbae. It is also used as a combination with laser therapy for hirsute women and pseudofolliculitis barbae patients. It decreases the rate of hair growth. In addition, the treated hair may become finer and lighter. [13]

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