Xyrophobia: symptoms, causes and treatment

As its termination indicates, xyrophobia is a type of phobia. Recall that phobias are intense fears or fears and irrational, in some cases becoming pathological towards things, situations or even people.

In this article we will see what this psychological disorder is: its consequences, possible origins of xirophobia, and treatments for this type of phobia.

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Xirophobia: what is it?

Xyrophobia is a very specific phobia; the pathological fear of barber knives . This disorder implies the existence of an unjustified, abnormal and persistent fear of the razors used to cut the beard. This fear can range from contempt, to panic, rejection, aversion, even hatred or disgust.

Those people who suffer from xirophobia have the focus of fear in shaving: in the case of women, for example, the legs or armpits, which are areas that are usually shaved, and in the case of men, it is usually the beard or mustache

The fact of shaving implies the possibility of cutting or injuring yourself with the razor’s edge, so the phobia focuses on the fact that it can be hurt in that way , rather than on the object itself used – razor.

Why does fear arise?

Fear is considered an adaptive reaction of the organism, an alert reaction, caused by a sense of imminent danger .

In a normal state, this reaction helps us adapt to the environment, and aims to prevent something bad from happening. In this way, it takes us away from negative stimuli and helps us to identify those stimuli that are bad for our survival.

Therefore, fear is a reaction that takes place before many unpleasant sensations, since it is causing us to anticipate in order to react quickly to danger signals.

So fear is a reaction consistent with the stimuli of our environment. The problem is when phobias come into play. The phobia is considered an exaggerated reaction to a situation that is not really dangerous or potentially dangerous, although our brain does perceive it in this way. This answer is not adaptive.

There are practically as many types of phobias as there are types of objects, situations or people. The common factor of all phobias is that they cease to be adaptive, since excessive and exaggerated reactions intervene. These phobias, such as xyrophobia, produce unnecessary discomfort, since there is an incessant and obsessive concern about a certain stimulus.

Many phobias end up triggering avoidant behaviors of places or situations without a real danger , only a danger that the brain perceives. That is why it is important to know how to discern well between fear – as an adaptive response to the environment, and phobia, excessive and maladaptive response.

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Symptoms of xyrophobia

The consequences of developing a phobia such as xyrophobia are varied.

On the one hand, a phobia produces a feeling of overwhelm and discomfort . The brain of a person with xyrophobia is put on alert, and in some cases it acts quickly. This reaction is similar to stress, since it focuses attention on certain stimuli and puts the mind to work quickly.

This alertness can lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia. In extreme cases, these reactions can end up triggering anxiety pictures.

On the other hand (and this is a long-term consequence) an untreated phobia can become more apparent over time , causing a series of symptoms in the patient that affect their mental health and even their interpersonal and social relationships.

Failure to cope with xyrophobia can cause the person to see their social relationships altered, avoiding them, for example, for fear of affecting showing such phobia and being judged . This fact could have negative impacts on the self-esteem of the person, and arrive at the fact that said person separates from his work, personal and family environment.

In more severe cases, depression can even be reached, and in extreme cases, such people who suffer from phobia can seek refuge in the consumption and subsequent abuse of addictive substances such as alcohol or drugs, since these would be the only things that would allow them to ‘face’ that phobia.


There are several causes that can produce xyrophobia: on the one hand, it can be a phobia originated from another phobia. For example, belonophobia , which is the fear of sharp objects such as needles, can give rise to xyrophobia.

Another associated phobia is hemophobia, which consists of irrational fear of blood . Somehow, the fear produced by contact (physical or visual) with blood, is associated with a consequence that has been cut with a razor. For this reason, these phobias can come together.

Another cause is the traumatic experiences that have penetrated the memory of the person; some episode of the past that could have been very painful. In this episode, the person may have made a deep cut or been injured in some way by manipulating razors, and consequently xyrophobia can develop.

Sometimes the origin is idiopathic, that is, it is not known with certainty which or what are the triggers of the phobia.


Finally, we are going to talk about the treatments that can be used to address xyrophobia in psychotherapy .

It is important to remember that the treatments that are usually used in certain types of phobias include two types: on the one hand we have exposure therapy and on the other hand there is cognitive behavioral therapy.

In the first case, exposure therapy, the treatment consists of exposing the person with xirophobia to those stimuli he fears. In this case the contact with the blades would begin, from a superficial form to its use.

In the second case mentioned, cognitive behavioral therapy, what is intended is to modulate the beliefs and ideas established in a dysfunctional way in the brain , associated with the phobic stimulus, in this case the razor, a potential harmful element.

In any case, as we have already seen, fear is an adaptive process, but when it ceases to be, we must act and initiate psychological therapy. So in the face of a situation of xyrophobia, we must address it through a therapeutic action by qualified professionals in the field of mental health.


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