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Folliculitis is a common skin condition in which hair follicles become inflamed. It’s usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. At first it may look like small red bumps or white-headed pimples around hair follicles — the tiny pockets from which each hair grows. The infection can spread and turn into nonhealing, crusty sores.
The condition isn’t life-threatening, but it can be itchy, sore and embarrassing. Severe infections can cause permanent hair loss and scarring.
If someone has a mild case, it’ll likely clear in a few days with basic self-care measures. For more serious or recurring folliculitis, one may need to see a doctor.
Certain types of folliculitis are known as hot tub rash, razor bumps and barber’s itch.
Causes: Folliculitis starts when hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing, blockage of the follicle, or shaving. In most cases of folliculitis, the damaged follicles are then infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus (staph).
Barber’s itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the beard area of the face, usually the upper lip. Shaving aggravates the condition. Tinea barbae is similar to barber’s itch, but the infection is caused by a fungus.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a disorder occurring primarily in black men. If curly beard hairs are cut too short, they may curve back into the skin and cause inflammation.
Folliculitis starts when hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing, blockage of the follicle, or shaving. In most cases of folliculitis, the damaged follicles are then infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus (staph).
Iron deficiency anemia is sometimes associated with chronic cases
Sycosis barbae or Barber’s itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the bearded area of the face, usually the upper lip. Shaving aggravates the condition.
Tinea barbae is similar to barber’s itch, but the infection is caused by the fungus T._rubrum.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a disorder occurring primarily in men of African descent. If curly beard hairs are cut too short, they may curve back into the skin and cause inflammation.
Hot tub folliculitis is caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa often found in new hot tubs. The folliculitis usually occurs after sitting in a hot tub that was not properly cleaned before use. Symptoms are found around the body parts that sit in the hot tub — typically the legs, hips and buttocks and surrounding areas. Symptoms are typically amplified around regions that were covered by wet clothing, such as bathing suits.
typically occur on neck axilla, or groin area
Folliculitis signs and symptoms include:
*Clusters of small red bumps or white-headed pimples that develop around hair follicles
*Pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over
*Red and inflamed skin
*Itchy or burning skin
*Tenderness or pain
*A large swollen bump or mass
Diagnosis: The diagnosis is primarily based on how the skin looks. If the usual treatments don’t clear up your infection, he or she may use a swab to take a sample of your infected skin. This is sent to a laboratory to help determine what’s causing the infection. Rarely, a skin biopsy may be done to rule out other conditions. Lab tests may show which bacteria or fungus is causing the infection.
Treatment may include antibiotics applied to the skin (mupirocin) or taken by mouth (dicloxacillin), or antifungal medications to control the infection.
*Topical antiseptic treatment is adequate for most cases
*Some patients may benefit from systemic flucloxacillin
*Topical antibiotics such as mupirocin ointment.
Mild cases of folliculitis often respond well to home care. The following self-care approaches may help relieve discomfort, speed healing and prevent an infection from spreading:
Apply a warm, moist washcloth or compress. Do this several times a day to relieve discomfort and help the area drain, if needed. Moisten the compress with a saltwater solution (1 teaspoon of table salt in 2 cups of water).
Apply over-the-counter antibiotics. Try various nonprescription infection-fighting gels, creams and washes.
Apply soothing lotions. Try relieving itchy skin with an oatmeal lotion or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.
Clean the affected skin. Gently wash the infected skin twice a day with antibacterial soap. Use a clean washcloth and towel each time and don’t share your towels or washcloths. Use hot, soapy water to wash these items. And wash clothing that has touched the affected area.
Protect the skin. If possible, avoid shaving. If you must shave, try an electric razor. When you’re done, rinse your skin with warm water and apply moisturizer
Prognosis: Folliculitis usually responds well to treatment, but may recur.
- Folliculitis may return
- Infection may spread to other body areas
When to Contact a Medical Professional:
Apply home treatment and call your health care provider if symptoms recur frequently, if they persist longer than 2 or 3 days, or if the infection spreads.
To prevent further damage to the hair follicles and infection:
- Reduce friction from clothing.
- Avoid shaving the area if possible (if shaving is necessary, use a clean new razor blade or an electric razor each time).
- Keep the area clean.
- Avoid contaminated clothing and washcloths.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.