The barber’s itch, also Tinea barbae or Bartmykose called, is a male skin disease caused by fungi. It is shown by large reddish spots that can turn into pustules as the disease progresses and occur primarily on the facial hair.
What is a beard lichen?
According to phonejust.com, beard lichen, whose medical term is tinea barbae, is one of the so-called dermatophytoses. This includes skin diseases that are caused by one of the 38 types of deratophytes, a type of filamentous fungus.
One of the most common forms of this condition is beard lichen, which only occurs in men. There are also similar skin rashes caused by these fungi that can affect all mammals, for example head and face lichen.
Beard lichen usually affects older men; boys and young men are rarely affected. However, the presence and length of the beard play no role in the development and course of the disease.
Typical symptoms of beard lichen are round, scaly, reddish spots that connect very quickly with the hair follicles at the hairline and form so-called boils or pustules there. Sparkles are deep, very painful inflammations of the hair follicle and the surrounding tissue, which fill with pus and leave scars as they heal.
The cause of the beard lichen are infections with specific thread fungi, the deratophytes. The exact pathogens are called Trichophyton mentagrophytes, which occurs in rodents, or Trichophyton verrucosum, whose noun is cattle. More rarely, fungi or bacterial infections, these mostly with staphylococci, can be identified as the cause.
The transmission of the pathogen and thus the infection takes place through contact with the named animal species. The problem is that the fungal spores are not only highly contagious, but also remain infectious and resistant to all environmental influences for four years.
In order to be able to infect humans, the fungi have to overcome the natural skin flora and their specific immune system in order to be able to penetrate the nails, horny layer or hair. The following processes are very complex, but lead to the symptoms described.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
A beard lichen is associated with a characteristic appearance. Typically, the skin on the face is red and painful or itchy. The first sign are circular red spots in the beard region where weeping scales can form.
In the later stages, the disease resembles a severe form of acne : the inflamed foci fill with pus and cause severe itching. If the pustules don’t empty on their own, large boils will form. This can be accompanied by fever, chills and circulatory problems. A beard lichen is also expressed by an unpleasant odor.
Especially with the progression of the disease, there is a slightly putrid smell in the area of the rash. Furthermore, abscesses, scarred skin changes and bleeding can occur. With a severe course, the beard hair falls out in the affected area, which leads to the characteristic light spots.
If the beard lichen is caused by a serious infectious disease, the inflammation can spread to other parts of the body. Then, in the course of the disease, the neck, neck and finally the upper body and arms develop redness and inflammation. In the absence of treatment, serious cardiovascular problems and other complications can arise.
Diagnosis & course
If a man notices noticeable spots on himself, he should make an appointment with a dermatologist. It is important to describe the rash as precisely as possible when making an appointment in order to get an appointment as soon as possible.
For the dermatologist, the shape, appearance and location of the rash are typical indicators of beard lichen and he can initiate general treatment if they suspect it. However, the exact diagnosis and thus the cause-related treatment may only be made if the pathogen has been properly identified after a smear and laboratory analysis of the skin.
Lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease, other fungal skin diseases, psoriasis and eczema can be excluded from the differential diagnosis.
If the reddish spots are not treated or treated insufficiently, they develop into pus-filled boils and, if treatment is still not carried out, into large abscesses. These can be accompanied by swelling of the lymph nodes and a fever. The chronification of beard lichen is also a possible complication of the untreated course.
Beard lichen, which is usually caused by the filamentous fungus Trichophyton mentagrophytes or Trichophyton verrucosum, can lead to considerable complications if left untreated. After the initial stage of the fungal infection, pustules typically form on the skin of the face in areas with beard growth and fill with pus. If the pus pustules do not burst and are not opened mechanically, deep, painful boils develop.
Multiple boils can combine into carbuncles and ultimately cause abscesses, which can also be accompanied by a fever. If basic hygiene is not observed, boils, carbuncles and abscesses are the gateway for infections with other germs. As a further complication, a kind of superinfection can develop, which can be caused by a wide variety of germs.
If the disease is left untreated, there is a risk that the inflammation will become chronic and difficult to treat. If no superinfection sets in, the beard lichen usually heals on its own after several months. However, the healed boils, carbuncles, and abscesses leave scars, which can be a cosmetic problem.
If the pathogen causing the onset of beard lichen can be correctly diagnosed, broadband and, in some cases, pathogen-specific antimycotics are available for external use. The complications described above are largely absent with professional and targeted treatment. The length of the beard itself has no influence on the appearance of the beard lichen.
When should you go to the doctor?
If you develop beard lichen, you should always consult a doctor. The complaints can spread to other regions of the body and lead to various complaints there as well. A doctor should be consulted in the event of permanent reddening of the skin or if pustules appear in the region of the beard. If there is swelling of the lymph nodes or a high fever, the symptoms can point to beard lichen, so it makes sense to see a doctor. It is not uncommon for other skin diseases or psoriasis to continue to occur.
As a rule, a dermatologist can be consulted directly in the case of beard lichen. In acute emergencies or in the event of severe itching or pain, the hospital can also be visited. As a rule, treatment is carried out with the help of drugs and does not lead to further complications. The complaints are contained relatively well. Especially a direct shave of the beard can remove and eliminate the beard lichen quickly. The life expectancy of the person affected is not restricted by this complaint.
Treatment & Therapy
Beard lichen often heals on its own after several months, but since this does not take place without abscess formation, pain and large scars are associated with it.
For this reason, those affected are advised to seek medical treatment. In addition, chronification should be prevented. An important first step in treatment is a close shave of the affected area.
Further therapy depends on the identified pathogens and the severity of the disease. Beard fungus is treated externally with antimycotics or disinfecting creams, taking medication is rare and only necessary in very serious cases.
Outlook & forecast
Beard lichen allows for different prognoses, depending on the person affected, their hygiene and the type of treatment. In this way, a beard lichen recognized at an early stage, which is not yet in the stage of abscess and furuncle formation, can be treated well with medication. Complete healing is to be expected and no consequential damage is to be expected if detected early.
If left untreated, tinea barbae also heals. For those affected, this also means that pustules form first, then boils and abscesses later. Due to the enormous damage to the skin, this can enable secondary infections with other pathogens, which makes dangerous superinfection possible.
The series of subsequent complications is long and includes, among other things, permanent disfigurement of the face due to tissue damage. In addition, hair roots – and with it the beard growth – are often lost in affected areas if the fungus is not treated with medication.
In addition, if the fungal infection progresses, it can lead to swollen lymph nodes and a fever.
The more conscientiously it is carried out, the more successful the treatment of a beard lichen. For better access to the fungus and better skin regeneration, it is recommended that existing beard be shaved off. The better the face is cared for in the course of the treatment, the better the skin can regenerate.
A single infestation by beard mycosis does not lead to resistance in the affected person. The type of skin, various illnesses and living conditions play a major role in the likelihood of recurrence.
Antifungal drugs are very effective anti-fungal drugs, provided they are used correctly and targeted at the pathogen. They are applied as a cream or ointment.
Due to the longevity of the pathogen, there are no safe preventive measures if contact with sick animals cannot be ruled out.
However, sick people should adhere to strict hygiene measures in order to avoid recurring infection. Used razors should be disinfected after each use, towels and specialist rags must be washed hot regularly or ideally boiled out.
Follow-up treatments or examinations are not necessary for a beard lichen that has been completely treated or healed on its own. If the beard lichen alone has healed, it can be assumed that there is no longer any recurrence. Even with tinea barbae treated with antifungal agents, it is assumed that treatment lasting several weeks will also remove the last traces of the fungus.
The only exception are particularly serious fungal infestations, in which it cannot be ruled out that the spores are also located outside the neck and beard region. In this case, the use of systemic antimycotics is usually recommended even when the symptoms have completely subsided. This is usually continued for a few weeks and should be combined with blood tests due to the strain on the liver.
Any scars caused by the fungus do not require any aftercare. They only represent a cosmetic problem. In addition, for people who have intensive contact with furry animals (for example, farmers), their animals should be examined for fungal infestation. This is because hairy animals in particular transmit the fungus particularly often. Accordingly, follow-up care (and also the prophylaxis of further infection) includes checking the population and treating it if necessary.
You can do that yourself
Beard lichens can be treated independently in consultation with a doctor. It is usually sufficient to treat the affected area several times a day with fungicidal ointments, lotions and creams. A wet shave should also be avoided until the inflammation has subsided. It is advisable to use dry razors and to ensure adequate hygiene in general. In order to prevent renewed inflammation, diet and lifestyle habits should also be questioned and, if necessary, changed.
Before doing this, however, the cause of the beard lichen has to be determined. The cause is usually a weakened immune system, which can be treated with a healthy diet and sufficient physical activity as well as with intestinal rehabilitation or autologous blood therapy. Medicinal herbs such as taiga root also have a positive effect on the body’s immune system.
Marigold ointment or tincture from the pharmacy helps against the actual inflammation. Alternatively, teas or compresses made from horsetail can be used. From homeopathy, for example, the Schüssler salts No. 1 “Calcum fluoratum”, No. 11 “Silicea” and No. 12 “Calcium sulfuricum” can be used. Cheap household alternatives include vinegar and tea tree oil.