What are the treatments for bumps on the neck from a haircut?

Bumps on the back of the neck after a haircut are called folliculitis. Also known as razor bumps or barber's itch, folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles caused by friction of a comb or razor. The delicate hair follicles swell into small pus-filled pimples, which look like small, rounded, yellow-red spots. Folliculitis can be painful and cause itching. However, there are treatments that can help reduce the swelling and discomfort.

Mild cases

According to, most cases of folliculitis are mild and do not need any treatment. It often clears within 7 to 10 days. Using a moisturiser which contains an antibacterial agent will soothe and improve the condition of the skin. It may help clear the condition more quickly and reduce the risk of it becoming worse.

Hot flannel

Channel 4's Embarrassing Bodies suggests placing a warm, moist flannel over the affected area, then applying an over-the counter hydrocortisone cream to help soothe the itchy skin. They advise avoiding shaving the irritated skin altogether until it is cleared. Hydrocortisone creams are available from online and high street chemists such at Lloyds Pharmacy or Boots.

Clothing and fabrics

Wear loose clothing to avoid friction and help keep your skin cool, advises Bupa. Change your bedding and towels frequently to avoid further infection. If the infection is not showing signs of clearing after 7 days or is severe, visit your GP who will recommend the treatment that is most suitable for you.

Medical treatments

There is a range of medicines that can help treat folliculitis. Your GP may prescribe an antibiotic cream such as fusidic acid or mupirocin to treat the infection. If the infection is severe or keeps coming back, antibiotic tablets such as flucloxacillin or erythromycin may be a more appropriate prescription.


Taking preventative measures after your next hair cut can reduce the risk of developing folliculitis. Good personal hygiene is essential, especially in hot, humid conditions. Ensure that the hair dressing equipment has been sterilised with a fluid such as Barbicide. Shave in the direction of the hair growth to avoid irritation. Finally, wear loose clothing around the neck area.

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About the Author

Jules Halliday is a writer, coach and public speaker with more than 20 years experience of recruitment, training and management in a variety of sectors. Passionate about career and personal development, Halliday is director of TMS Coaching Ltd and founder of All UK Jobsites.