The real question that needs to be asked, but that nobody seems to ask in due time is “can folliculitis symptoms be noticed early enough to stop the evolution of the skin condition?“.
Now, that could be a bit tricky, because some of the physical manifestations of folliculitis are strikingly similar with those belonging to other, more serious, skin diseases.
However, you must not despair, since folliculitis symptoms as a whole tend to point only in one direction: you have been infected with folliculitis.
Of course, there are several ways to categorize symptoms, from the way your cells react to certain substances (used only by dermatologists or histologists) to the macroscopic signs, such as the aspect of your skin, its texture and its color. Used often as a presentation form for folliculitis in non – medical texts, intended for mass audience, the macroscopic criteria are the most accessible and easy to understand.
In order of appearance, this is what you should be looking for if you have used a public hot tub, a communal pool or have had skin on skin contact with a person that is already infected:
- Mild pain:
Your hair follicles are being attacked by the bacteria or fungi that cause them to swell and turn into full blown folliculitis. Right next to your hair follicles is a tiny, usually unimportant nerve termination that, in this case, receives a signal from the follicle, sends it to the brain and your personal internal computer gives you the sensation of pain. Mind you, it is not overly intense, since the attack is not all that virulent nor the nerve all that large, but it is there.
It is an inflammation and redness of the skin and it is the next step in the pathology of any kind of folliculitis. Before the formation of pustules and the appearance of pus, the affected skin, be it on your scalp, your face or on any other part of your body, changes color. Now, if your skin has a reddish color on a daily basis, you might miss it. Otherwise, there it is, the first true folliculitis symptom that should alarm you.
- Edema (dropsy, hydropsy):
It is a skin condition that manifests itself by the accumulation of liquid right beneath the upper epidermal stratus, forming small, but obvious bags all over your body (the most visible and annoying are the ones from beneath your eyes or from under your jaw). How is this one of the folliculitis symptoms? Easy. Due to the formation of pus under your skin, the hair follicle gets larger and larger, in the end looking like a small bag under your skin.
In case of folliculitis, these rashes are everywhere, from your scalp, to your inner thighs, your armpits and even your buttocks. They have the aspect of small, red disks, with a white or yellow bag of pus on top of them. One thing you must remember about these rashes it that you must not, under any circumstances, scratch the skin and break the little bags of pus. If you do so, wash the affected area fast, making sure you do not touch other parts of your body until you have cleaned your hands, as well. By breaking the bags, the pathogenic bacteria or fungi will spread like wildfire and infect other areas.
- Fever and exhaustion:
In some severe cases, when the folliculitis has been left untreated for long periods of time, bacteria and fungi can penetrate the hair follicle completely and reach the bloodstream, turning an innocent skin condition into a systemic infection.
Psychological Folliculitis Symptoms
It may sound weird or wrong for a skin disease to have psychological symptoms, but it is not. There are some very certain modifications of behavior and of mental state that are associated with folliculitis:
- Loss of focus: If your rash is hard to ignore and your pustules itch like crazy, you find it difficult to focus on your work.
- Depression: It is well known that your exterior appearance influences your state of mind and your social skills. So, if your skin is covered in small red dots, you can get depressed quite often.