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Tinea Barbae (Barber's Itch)

By

Denise M. Aaron

, MD, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Sep 2021| Content last modified Sep 2021
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Tinea barbae is a dermatophyte infection of the beard area most often caused by Trichophyton mentagrophytes or T. verrucosum. Diagnosis is by examination of plucked hairs on potassium hydroxide wet mount. Treatment is with oral antifungals and sometimes prednisone.

Tinea barbae is a dermatophytosis Overview of Dermatophytoses Dermatophytoses are fungal infections of keratin in the skin and nails (nail infection is called tinea unguium or onychomycosis). Symptoms and signs vary by site of infection. Diagnosis is by... read more that manifests in the beard area as superficial annular lesions, but deeper infection similar to folliculitis may occur. Tinea barbae may also occur as an inflammatory kerion Kerion Tinea capitis is a dermatophyte infection of the scalp. Diagnosis is by clinical appearance and by examination of plucked hairs or hairs and scale on potassium hydroxide wet mount. Treatment... read more Kerion (a large, boggy scalp mass caused by a severe inflammatory reaction to the dermatophyte) that can result in scarring hair loss.

Diagnosis of Tinea Barbae

  • Potassium hydroxide wet mount

Diagnosis of tinea barbae is by identifying the fungal element (hyphae) on potassium hydroxide wet mount of plucked hairs, culture, or biopsy.

Treatment of Tinea Barbae

  • Oral antifungals

  • Sometimes prednisone

Treatment of tinea barbae is micronized griseofulvin 500 mg to 1 g orally once a day until 2 to 3 weeks after clinical clearance (see Table: Options for Treatment of Superficial Fungal Infections* Options for Treatment of Superficial Fungal Infections* Candidiasis is skin and mucous membrane infection with Candida species, most commonly Candida albicans. Infections can occur anywhere and are most common in skinfolds, digital web spaces, genitals... read more Options for Treatment of Superficial Fungal Infections* ). Terbinafine 250 mg orally once a day and itraconazole 200 mg orally once a day have also been used.

If the lesions are severely inflamed, a short course of prednisone should be added (to lessen symptoms and perhaps reduce the chance of scarring), starting with 40 mg orally once a day (for adults) and tapering the dose over 2 weeks.

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