What is skin pigmentation, & how does it create discomfort in beard?

Skin pigmentation

Skin pigmentation and beard

Skin pigmentation is called hyperpigmentation in medical terminology, and it is a condition of darker patches of skin. The darker patches are caused due to melanin production, which occurs due to many reasons. Melanin accumulation can occur due to acne, sun damage, hormonal problems, and so on.

Skin pigmentation

Pseudofolliculitis bar bae occurs in the beard region due to close shaving, which causes the beard to retract beneath the skin surface. It occurs due to the inflammatory reaction around ingrown facial hair. When an ingrown beard grows, the sharp pointed end of a recently shaved hair comes out from the skin and re-enters the skin close by, causing a foreign body inflammatory reaction. Ingrown can become acne-like red bumps which can be itchy and tender. Read our guide on how to prevent ingrown hair on your face.

These ingrown hairs are slow to heal and cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).

Why does it happen?

Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) refers to the darkening of skin pigmentation due to inflammatory eruption. The melanocytes respond to the inflammatory outbreak and stimulate melanin production and redistribute melanin.

How to prevent them?

Here are some tips to prevent Pseudofolliculitis barbae and pigmentation caused due to it.

  • Do not shave too closely.
  • Do not go against the direction of growth of the beard.
  • Shave in the direction of natural hair growth.
  • Use a shaving cream
  • Do not pull or stretch your skin while shaving
  • Avoid regular shaving and use a trimmer instead.
  • Replace your razor very often.
  • Do not use double-blade razors.
  • Exfoliate regularly.

Home remedies

Here are some home remedies to treat pseudofolliculitis barbae

Licorice extract

Licorice extract has active ingredients that can lighten hyperpigmentation. Use topical solutions that have licorice extract in their ingredients and use it as per directions.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which is known to lighten hyperpigmentation. 

Add equal amounts of water to apple cider vinegar to dilute it. Use a cotton pad to apply this solution to the affected area, leave it for 3- 5 minutes on your skin and rinse it using lukewarm water. Apply this twice a day to see significant results.


Exfoliation is the key to getting rid of ingrown or Pseudofolliculitis barbae. Gently exfoliate the affected region with good quality and natural ingredients-based exfoliator to clear the dead skin cells that might be clogging the pores. Clogged-up pores might not allow the hair to grow in its natural direction.e., towards the surface. Make sure to wash your face with warm water before exfoliating. You can even make your exfoliating scrub by mixing sugar and olive oil into a paste. Rub it over the affected area in circular motions for 3-5 minutes and rinse it off with warm water. Make sure to use a moisturizer after exfoliating.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an excellent essential oil that does wonders for hair and skin conditions. It has antibacterial, antifungal properties, which can even help to get rid of beard dandruff. Its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and exfoliating properties open up the pores, loosen the ingrown hair, and soothe the inflammation. Its moisturizing properties calm down the irritation if used in a diluted form with carrier oils like coconut oil or argan oil.

Mix 10-15 drops of tea tree oil in a bowl of warm water, and soak a clean hand towel in the bowl. Apply the warm cloth over the affected region and leave it for 30 minutes. The warmth will allow the pores to open up, and then tea tree oil can penetrate and start cleansing and loosen the ingrown hair.

Read our guide on tea tree oil benefits for hair growth to know more about tea tree oil.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a soothing and cooling ingredient for almost all dermal inflammations and irritations. It has antibacterial properties which prevent any bacterial infections and also get rid of any prevailing bacterial infections. It also has moisturizing and anti-inflammatory effects, which are essential to prevent and soothe ingrown hair.  It helps quickly stop inflammation, irritation, itchiness, and redness caused due to shaving or any hair removal.  

Scratch the aloe vera gel from inside the plant, leave and apply the gel on the beard region after shaving and the affected area. Let it dry for 30 minutes and rinse it with cold water. Repeat it at least twice or thrice a day.

Other treatments for pigmentation

There are many medical treatments available for skin pigmentation. Consult a doctor in case home remedies do not help. These treatments depend upon the reason for pigmentation and its severity.

  • Intense pulsed light (IPL)
  • Cryotherapy
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Chemical peels

Take Away 

Skin pigmentation is the dark spots on the skin, which is known as hyperpigmentation. In the beard region, hyperpigmentation is primarily caused due to pseudofolliculitis barbae or ingrown hair. Ingrown hair causes inflammation and later leads to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).

PIH stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin and cause pigmentation. There are many home remedies and medical treatments available to treat skin pigmentation. This article will guide you through skin pigmentation and the discomfort it causes in your beard region.

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