barber's itch

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barber's itch (uncountable)

  1. (medicine) Any of a number of sorts of rashes or skin eruptions in the area of the mustache or beard, caused by fungal or staphylococcal infections or by irritation from shaving.
    • 1863 Nov. 10, "The Lower-Canada Gold Mines," New York Times (retrieved 3 August 2013):
      A rather curious case was a gentleman who had been afflicted for many years with a very sore upper lip. . . . So sore had it become, that it was one great scab. In vain had he counseled the most eminent physicians, all of whom pronounced it "Barber's Itch".
    • 1913, Jack London, chapter 5, in The Valley of the Moon:
      "You can shave as close as you want an' no more close than you want. Barbers can't do that. Every once an' awhile they get my face sore. . . . We've ben boobs all these years, Bert, runnin' the chances of barber's itch."
    • 1960 Jan. 25, "Medicine: Man & His Itches," Time:
      Among the minor ills that bring discomforts to man, few are so persistent or so hard to treat as fungus infections—the cause of ringworm (including the stubborn ringworm of the nails), barber's itch, athlete's foot, and jockstrap itch.


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