Folliculitis is inflammation or infection of the hair follicles in the skin. It is a very common problem that is not usually very serious. Folliculitis can occur on any area of the body where hair is found, but is most common to the face, scalp, thighs, arms, buttocks and groin.
What causes folliculitis?
Often folliculitis occurs in areas that are damaged by friction or shaving or where there is blockage of the follicle. Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating can also be a contributing factor. These areas become infected by bacteria that are usually harmless to the body and become inflamed and irritated.
Types of folliculitis:
- Sycosis barbae – is the medical term for chronic or long term folliculitis of the beard area on men. It can often be difficult to treat and some men may need to grow a beard to solve the problem.
- Gram-negative folliculitis – this type of folliculitis is common in those who have been on antibiotics long-term for the treatment of skin conditions such as acne.
- Pseudo-folliculitis – as the name suggests, it is not a true folliculitis. It looks very similar to folliculitis, but the lumps do not contain pus. They are usually due to ingrowing hairs.
- Hot-tub folliculitis – is caused by the exposure to the pseudomonas bacteria that are often found in hot tubs and heated pools in which chlorine and pH levels are not properly monitored.
What are the symptoms of folliculitis?
Effected follicles swell and have a pus-filled pimple surrounding it. The pimples may also itch or burn. When the pimples break open they may drain pus, blood, or both.
How is folliculitis treated?
Most treatment simply involves avoiding the irritant, for example, not shaving for a few days. Keeping the area cool, sweat free and exposed to fresh air can also help.
Mild folliculitis may not require any treatment and may resolve itself in 7 – 10 days. Moisturisers may also assist in healing.
More severe cases may cases may need antibiotic treatment.
How can folliculitis be prevented?
- Keeping the skin clean, dry and free of irritations and abrasions can help prevent flare-ups. Some pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes can make people more prone to folliculitis, so precautions may be more important.
- Keeping the skin hydrated and well moisturised can assist in lessening breakouts, and shaving with lubricant, such as gel or foam can prevents cuts and abrasions.
- Laser hair removal may also assist in reducing flare ups as it reduces the need for shaving.
- Using a medicated shampoo and conditioner
How do I get expert advice and guidance?
Book a consultation with our Cosmetic Nurse online, or call us direct on 9739 3837.