What is folliculitis?
Folliculitis is a typical skin condition in which hair follicles become aroused. It is typically brought about by bacterial or parasitic contamination. At first, they may look like small red bumps or white-headed pimples around hair follicles – the tiny pockets from which each hair grows. The disease can spread and transform into non-mending, dried up bruises.
This condition is not life-threatening, but it can be itchy, sore, and embarrassing. Serious diseases can cause lasting balding and scarring. If you have a mild case, it will likely go away in a few days with basic self-care measures. For more severe or recurring folliculitis, you may need to see a doctor get a prescription. Specific kinds of folliculitis are known as hot tub rashes, razor knocks, and hair stylist’s tingle.
Symptoms of folliculitis
They include signs and symptoms of folliculitis:
- Clusters of small red bumps or white-headed pimples that appear around a hair follicle
- Pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over
- Itching, burning of the skin
- Painful, tender skin
- A large bulging bump or diamond
What causes folliculitis?
Folliculitis is usually caused by staphylococcal bacteria or fungi. You can become infected with staph bacteria or fungi through contact with the body of an infected person. You can also get it through contact with contaminated personal items, such as towels, soap, or clothing that someone with an infection has been using. You can pick up bacteria or fungi from unclean pools or spas, too.
Other danger elements may build your odds of creating folliculitis, including:
- Wearing tight clothing that irritates your skin
- Injury to skin injuries such as those from shaving
- Not showering after excessive sweating
- Having a weak immune system
How is folliculitis diagnosed?
To diagnose folliculitis, your doctor will examine inflamed or irritated areas of your skin. Be sure to tell your doctor:
- How long have you had bumps on your skin?
- What other symptoms have you been experiencing?
- Whether you have a history of folliculitis
Your doctor may be able to diagnose folliculitis by appearance alone. To determine the cause, they can remove a bump for testing.
Anyone can develop folliculitis. But there are certain factors that make you more likely to develop this condition, including:
- You have a medical condition that reduces your resistance to infections, such as diabetes, chronic leukaemia, and HIV / AIDS
- You have acne or dermatitis
- Taking certain medications, such as steroid creams or long-term treatment with antibiotics for acne
- Being male with curly, shaved hair
- Regularly wearing clothes that trap heat and sweat, such as rubber gloves or tall shoes
- Soaking in a hot tub that is not well maintained
- Causing damage to hair follicles by shaving, waxing, or wearing tight clothing
Mild folliculitis may go away without any treatment. To help yourself heal and relieve symptoms, you can:
- Clean the affected area: Wash twice a day with warm water and antibacterial soap. Make sure to use a fresh rag and towel each time.
- Use salt: Put warm salt water – a teaspoon of table salt mixed with two cups of water – on a towel and apply it to your skin. You can also try white vinegar.
- Gels, creams, and lotions: Use over-the-counter antibiotics that you rub into your skin. If you’re feeling itchy, you can try an oatmeal wash or hydrocortisone cream. It also helps to avoid shaving, scratching, and wearing tight or rough clothing on the affected area.
If these self-care treatments don’t work, your doctor may give you:
- An antibiotic cream if the folliculitis is caused by bacteria (tablets for very severe cases only)
- Anti-fungal creams, shampoos, or pills if they are caused by fungi
- Asteroid cream to help reduce swelling
Although folliculitis is not life-threatening, complications may arise. These include:
- Mucositis – boils under the skin
- Scars or dark spots
- Permanent hair loss due to damage to the follicles
- Recurrent follicle infections
- Infection that spreads to other areas
- Cellulitis – a skin infection
To prevent folliculitis, avoid or reduce exposure to the causes of the condition. These include:
- Tight clothes
- Irritating clothing
- Harsh chemicals or irritating personal care products
- Improper shaving techniques
- Dirty or unclean shaving tools
- Improperly treated hot tubs and pools
- Spending a long time in sweaty clothes
A person should also treat underlying medical conditions and speak with a doctor if they take medications that increase the risk of developing folliculitis.