Folliculitis – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

March 25 01:10 2019 Print This Article

Folliculitis is the name given to a group of skin conditions in which there are inflamed hair follicles. The result is a tender red spot, often with a surface pustule. Folliculitis can be due to infection, occlusion, irritation and specific skin diseases. Folliculitis usually appears as small, white-headed pimples around one or more hair follicles the tiny pockets from which each hair grows. Most infections are superficial, and although they may itch, they’re seldom painful. Superficial folliculitis often clears by itself in a few days, but deep or recurring folliculitis may need medical treatment. Folliculitis can affect both women and men at any age. It can develop on any part of the body, but is most likely to occur on the scalp, face, or parts of the arms, armpits, or legs not usually covered by clothing. Small, yellowish-white blister-like lumps (pustules) surrounded by narrow red rings are usually present with both bacterial folliculitis and fungal folliculitis. Furuncles, commonly known as boils, barber’s itch, pseudofolliculitis barbae, and tinea barbae, are another form of deep folliculitis. The prognosis depends on the severity of the infection and the patient’s physical condition and ability to resist infection.

Folliculitis is a somewhat nonspecific term that refers to inflammation of the hair follicle (in clinical practice, this term does not include acne vulgaris). Folliculitis causes the formation of a pustule. The infection may be superficial or deep. The condition may occur anywhere on the skin. Hot tub folliculitis is a folliculitis that develops after exposure to certain forms of bacteria that reside in warm, wet environments such as hot tubs. Folliculitis is a surface inflammation of the hair follicle on the body’s skin. It may occur anywhere on the skin, but it is most commonly distributed on the face, neck, buttocks, and thighs. Folliculitis can also be found in the beard area, known as barber’s itch or pseudofolliculities and sometimes on the scalp along the front hairline with small, very itchy rash like pustules (small blisters with pus inside). Folliculitis skin infections primarily affect younger adults. Folliculitis appears as small, round and slightly elevated pus-filled pimples or pustules that form around the hair follicles, located in the center of each lesion. The affected areas often cause mild discomfort as the infected lesions become swollen and tender. Itching is common and often the biggest complaint.

Causes of Folliculitis

Superficial staphylococcal folliculitis is quite common and is seen in people of all ages. Hot tub folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It begins anytime from 6 hours to 5 days after the exposure. This bacteria is commonly found in contaminated whirlpools, hot tubs, water slides, physiotherapy pools, or even loofah sponges.

Find common causes and risk factors of Folliculitis:

  • Staphylococcus aureus are the most common bacteria that cause folliculitis. It is not known why these bacteria infect the hair follicles.
  • Some people are born with a tendency to development folliculitis. If you are one of these people you may have to continue treatment to prevent recurrences.
  • Inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Excessive perspiration.
  • Heat and sweating are also factors that can contribute to folliculitis.
  • Other causes include injury or damage to the hair follicle by friction from tight clothing, by blockage of the hair follicle, or by shaving.
  • Friction from shaving.
  • Follicular trauma.

Signs and Symptoms of Folliculitis

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

  • Reddened skin area
  • Genital lesions
  • Edema
  • Malaise
  • Itching skin
  • Pimples or pustules located around a hair follicle.

Treatment for Folliculitis

Treatment may include:

  • Alternative treatments may be eating a balanced diet, including protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
  • Topical antiseptic treatment is adequate for most cases. Some patients may benefit from systemic flucloxacillin.
  • If folliculitis ( Tinea barbae ) occurs on the scalp or beard area, a shampoo containing selenium sulfide 2.5%, selenium 1%, or 50% propylene glycol can be used.
  • Topical antibiotics (Bactroban), oral antibiotics (dicloxacillin), or antifungal medications may be needed to control the infection.
  • Furuncles and carbuncles may require an incision and drainage of pus.
  • Cleaning the area once to twice a day with the liquid form of Lever 2000 soap (a mild antibacterial soap) is helpful.
  • A pill such as tetracycline or minocycline can be given for 4 to 6 weeks.
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