Folliculitis is a skin condition in which there is an inflammation of your hair follicles. It’s usually caused by bacterial, viral or fungal infection. The first symptoms include white-headed pimples or red bumps that develop around hair follicles.
Folliculitis is not life-threatening, but it is itchy. In mild cases, it will disappear in a few days after applying basic self-care treatments – How long does folliculitis last. In severe infections, it may cause permanent scarring and hair loss – Folliculitis decalvans.
Folliculitis symptoms include:
- Clusters of small red bumps or white-headed pimples surrounding hair follicles
- Pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over
- Itchy, burning skin
- Painful, tender skin
- A large swollen bump or mass
You can read more about folliculitis symptoms at here – Folliculitis symptoms.
Causes of folliculitis include:
- Bacterial infection
- Virus infection
- Fungi/yeast infection
- Inflammation from ingrown hairs
Type of folliculitis
Popular types of folliculitis include:
- Bacterial folliculitis : It is mainly caused by Staphylococcus aureus which live on the skin all the time. But they cause problems only when they enter your body through a cut or other wound. One of this type is Scalp Folliculitis which is also called scalp acne or Barber’s Itch (from the Latin name of the bacteria that causes it, Tinea verrucosum) .
- Hot tub folliculitis : Hot tub folliculitis is caused by bacteria, pseudomonas, which is commonly found in heated pools and hot tubs.
- Razor bumps : This is a skin irritation caused by ingrown hairs. They happen after shaving, when strands of hair curl back on themselves and grow into the skin. They cause irritation and pimples. They also may leave dark raised scars (keloids – Folliculitis scar removal).
- Pityrosporum folliculitis : It happens when the yeast, pityrosporum, gets down into the hair follicles and multiplies. (Pityrosporum Folliculitis Treatment, Pityrosporum Folliculitis Diet)
- Herpes folliculits or herpetic folliculitis: It is caused by a spreading of the herpes simplex virus on your skin, when a blister that contains it is broken or shaved.
- Gram – negative folliculitis : It is caused by the long term use of antibiotics.
- Pruritic Folliculitis of Pregnancy: It may develop during pregnancy but it is not caused by bacteria.
- Eosinophilic Pustular Folliculitis: A rare type being associated with immunodeficiency.
One thing to note is that when the infection involves part of the follicle, it is called superficial folliculitis. If the infection involves the entire follicle, it is called deep folliculitis.
Treatments for folliculitis depend on the cause and severity of your infection. Options include medications, home remedies and interventions.
For mild infections, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic cream, oral antibiotics. Remember that oral antibiotics are not recommended using for long-term treatment.
If your folliculitis is caused by yeast, antibiotics are not as helpful as you think. Antibiotics are only useful in treating bacterial folliculitis.
Learn more about medication treatments in the following article:
- Over-the-counter treatment for folliculitis
- Best antibacterial body wash for folliculitis
- Hot Tub Rash Cure
Lifestyle and home remedies
Mild cases of folliculitis often improve with home remedies. The following approaches may help you:
- Laser hair removal. If other treatments fail, long-term hair removal with laser therapy may clear up the infection. This method is quite expensive and often requires several treatments. It permanently removes hair follicles, thus reducing the density of the hair in the treated area.
- Minor surgery: Your doctor may make a small incision in it to drain the pus, especially if you have a large boil. This may relieve pain, speed recovery and lessen scarring. Your doctor may then cover the area with sterile gauze in case pus continues to drain.