What is Folliculitis?
This medical condition is an infection of your hair follicles, which is a little pouch from which your hair grows from. It is a medical condition that can happen to any gender and any age. It is considered a skin disorder and can develop any where on your body where there are hair follicles but the most common places for you to get folliculitis are on your scalp, armpits, legs, or arms. You will not find it on the soles of your feet, your mucous membranes, or the palms of your hands because there are not hair follicles in any of these areas.
The symptoms of folliculitis depend on the type that it is.
The type affects the upper part of your hair follicle with symptoms such as:
- If there is more than one hair follicle it can appear as clusters of small red pimple-like bumps that develop around your hair follicles and has hair in the center of each bump and looks like a skin rash.
- If it is just one hair follicle it will just be a red bump with a hair in the center of the bump.
- They may be pus-filled which can break open and crust over.
- The skin may appear red and inflamed.
- You could have tenderness in the area of the infection.
- You may itch.
This type will start deeper in your skin that surrounds your hair follicle. It can affect the whole follicle. The symptoms can include:
- A huge swollen mass or bump
- Having blisters that are filled with pus that can rupture and form a crust
- Once the infection has cleared up there could be possible scars left
Hot Tub Folliculitis
The symptoms of this type of folliculitis will usually appear approximately seventy-two hours after you have been in the spa or hot tub. They symptoms can include:
- The appearance of many tiny pimple-like red bumps show up on the stomach and can also show up on your legs and arms
- You may develop a fever that is mild
- You may feel like your stomach is upset.
Usually this type will disappear after seven to ten days without any medical treatment.
Other symptoms of either type may include:
- A burning sensation
- They could drain blood, pus, or both of them
The main cause of folliculitis is the hair follicle is infected by bacteria, fungus, or viruses because the hair follicle is damaged or blocked. The most common cause of from the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Some of the other causes include:
- The blockage of the hair follicles can be caused by excess perspiration.
- A variety of inflammatory skin conditions like dermatitis or acne.
- Wounds or abrasions to your skin.
- Shaving with a dull blade causing excess friction to your skin.
- Friction from tight clothing that rubs against the skin in areas such as your thighs and groin areas.
- Using a swimming pool or hot tub that was not treated with chlorine.
- Using chemicals or substances such as makeup, soaps. Perfumes, etc that can irritate your hair follicles and skin.
- If your ability to fight off infections is compromised by having diseases such as HIV or diabetes.
- Coverings on the skin such as adhesive tape or plastic dressings.
- Using steroid creams or antibiotics for a long period of time.
A man could get a staph infection in the hair follicles of their beard, especially on their upper lip. This type of folliculitis is called barber’s itch. One type of folliculitis caused by a fungus is called tinea barbae. Afro-American men may get pseudofollicultis barbea if their curly beard hairs are cut too short. If this happens the hairs could curve back into their skin and cause an inflammation.
Diagnosis of Folliculitis
Most of the time physicians can diagnosis folliculitis just by looking at your skin. If the treatment does not work the physician may send a sample of one of the red bumps to a laboratory to be checked for the presence of any bacteria and what type it is that is causing this medical condition. The physician wants to make sure that you do not have another medical condition such as heat rash or impetigo.
In the cases of mild folliculitis, it will heal on its own in approximately fourteen days. You can take care of this type of folliculitis at home with these different home remedies.
- Make a warm compress with white vinegar and apply to the areas to help promote healing and to help with the itching.
- Use medicated shampoos on your beard or scalp.
If the infection does not seem to be going away or appears to get worse you may need to contact your physician or dermatologist for a prescription for antifungal cream or an antibiotic taken by moth or applied to the skin. If these do not help or it keeps coming back you may need to use laser hair removal to destroy the hair follicles so they cannot get infected again. The type of treatment that your physician uses depends on how severe it is and what type of folliculitis it is.
With this type the physician may prescribe an antibiotic that you take by mouth, put on your skin, or both. You may also need to refrain from shaving the area that is infected until it heals up. If not shaving is not possible then you should use a clean razor blade each time you shave or use an electric razor.
Hot Tub Folliculitis
With this type there is usually no specific treatment that is needed but to help with the itching your physician may prescribe a topical or oral medication. If it is a serious case you may have to take an oral antibiotic.
Using self care measures will usually clear of this type. You should use an electric razor so that it does not cut as closely as a razor blade. If you prefer to use a razor blade, before you shave massage the area to be shaved with a moist warm washcloth in order to lift the hairs so you can cut them easier. You should also use a shaving gel instead of shaving cream and always make sure that you are shaving in the direction in which the hair is growing. When you are done shaving make sure that you rinse your face completely with warm water and put on a moisturizing aftershave.
To cure this type of folliculitis your physician will prescribe an antifungal cream
Although you can use the self care methods, in order to prevent it from spreading you should visit your physician to get the proper treatment. Proper treatment will also help it to heal faster and can help reduce the chance of having permanent scars left behind.
Is Folliculitis Contagious?
Most cases of folliculitis are not contagious but if it is caused by an infection it could be transmitted through person-to-person contact of their skin. It could also be transferred through shared hot tubs, Jacuzzis, and razors.
Pictures of Folliculitis…