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Acne keloidalis nuchae treatment

Updated February 21, 2017

Acne Keloidalis Nuchae is actually not acne. Instead, it is a condition in which infected, ingrown hairs occur in men who shave their heads or the nape of their necks. This condition most frequently occurs in African American men because of the coarseness of their hair and the prevalence of close-cropped hairstyles. The condition is marked by acne-like pustules. If treatment is not sought, the pustules can become infected.

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It is not known what causes this condition. It is not contagious, although dermatologists believe that a genetic factor may be present. The condition may worsen immediately after a haircut. It can be avoided should the stylist take care not to shave the back of the head or clip the hair too short.


Symptoms of Keloidalis Nuchae include round, pimple-like bumps, itching and inflammation. Care should be taken not to pick or scratch these lesions, to prevent them from becoming infected.


Aggressive treatment is recommended for this condition. Single pustules can be treated by removing the hair from the bump, whereas a large patch of pustules may be treated with a topical steroid to speed healing. Often, a patient also receives an oral antibiotic to fight the infection internally.

Lack of Treatment

If the condition is left untreated, the ingrown hairs can become infected, leading to scarring. Over time, a plaque can build up over the scalp. Eventually, the untreated Keloidalis Nuchae must be removed surgically. Healing can take up to several months.


If care is not taken with the affected area, the Keloidalis Nuchae may return with each haircut. Eventually, the hair follicle may need to be removed surgically to prevent recurrence of the condition. If caught early, laser hair removal is an outpatient option for preventing regrowth and that minimises scaring.

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About the Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.

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