Tinea sycosis

Tinea sycosis

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Alternative Name: Folliculitis barbae, barber itch, ringworm of beard.

This is commonly known as "Barber's Itch," and is confined to the face, especially to that portion covered by the beard. It is characterized by inflammation of the hair follicles, causing an eruption of small pustules forming incrustations eventually. It may be consoling to those who suffer with it to know that it is caused by a parasite with the humble name of microsporum mentagrophytes (T. mentagrophytes and T. verrucosum)

Tinea sycosis may occur in people of all races. However, it is seen almost exclusively in older teens and adult males.

Tinea sycosis is more commonly seen in warmer, more humid climates. It is most frequently passed to humans from animals, so agricultural workers are the most commonly infected people with beard ringworm.

Cause and Risk Factors:

It is external infection of the hair follicles by the Staphylococcus pyogenes aureus produces inflammation which proceeds to abscess formation within the follicle, and is confined, in the main, to that portion of the follicle superficial to the neck of the sebaceous gland. The deeper portions of the follicle are rarely involved. This is the pathology of the condition, and it should be emphasized first that the infection is probably always of external origin, and secondly, that there appears to be no further complicating factor in the first instance, no question of a particular constitutionial factor, and no question of any local or general state of susceptibility.

Risk factors:

    Friction from shaving or tight clothing.

  • Excessive perspiration.

  • Inflammatory skin conditions, including dermatitis and acne.

  • Exposure to coal tar, pitch or creosote — common among roofers, mechanics and oil workers.


Tinea sycosis may affect either the outer surface (superficial) or the deep portion of the skin that holds shafts of hair (hair follicles).

    If the infection is superficial,tinea sycosis appears as a pink-to-red scaly patch ranging in size from 1 to 5 cm. Alternatively, small pus-filled bumps (pustules) may be seen around hair follicles in the affected skin.

  • In deeper forms of tinea sycosis, you may see firm red nodules covered with pustules or scabs that may ooze blood and pus.

  • Tinea sycosisis usually itchy.

  • Deeper forms of tinea sycosismay be accompanied by fever and swollen lymph glands.


Differential diagnosis may include: Impetigo,ringworm, seborrheic dermatitis, and seborrheic sycosis.

Tinea sycosis is usually of the kerion type, and individual lesions-somewhat resembling boils-are red and boggy. The suspicion of ringworm is confirmed if infected hairs can be removed from their follicleswithout experiencing any resistance whatsoever. Thefungus can be demonstrated microscopically.


To be effective the treatment of sycosis barbae must be based upon a consideration of the etiological factors.

    The first essential is that the patient must shave daily and for the comfort the patient must use sharp razor.

  • Secondly, any infective lesions other than sycosis-fissures infection of the vestibule of the nose, and of the external auditory meatus, etc must be treated, and must be cleared up before a cure of the sycosis can be expected.

  • Thirdly, a strongly caustic, antiseptic lotion must be applied with a view to eradicating the infection from the follicles; a weak application is not effective. The lotion should be dabbed on and allowed to dry on. It is extremely difficult to totally get rid of beard ringworm with only topical medications; oral antifungal medications are usually required. However, if the infection has just started, you might try one of the following over-the-counter antifungal creams or lotions: Terbinafine, Clotrimazole, or Miconazole. Apply the cream to each lesion and to the normal-appearing skin 2 cm beyond the border of the affected skin for at least 2 weeks until the areas are completely clear of lesions. Remember, you will probably not be able to totally get rid of the beard ringworm with topical creams.

Wet lint dressing, masks, etc., should not be employed.

Preventive Measures:

    Shave the area following the direction that the hair is growing, not against it. You would not get as close a shave, but it will allow the rash to heal and prevent further irritation.

  • Wash shaving cream off completely with water and dry the area completely with a clean dry towel.

  • Splash witch hazel liberally on skin. The witch hazel will clean, and close the pores. It is naturally astringent, but safe to use on sensitive skin. It will also reduce the swelling on the rash that is already there. It will tingle the skin, but also tighten it.

  • Pat dry with clean, dry, cotton cloth. Repeat every time you need to shave.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

Reference and Source are from:

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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