Folliculitis is the inflammation of one or more hair follicles. The condition may occur anywhere on the skin. Folliculitis looks like acne pimples or non-healing, crusty sores. Folliculitis usually looks like red pimples with a hair in the center of each one. The pimples may have pus in them, and they often itch or burn. Folliculitis is a primary inflammation of the hair follicle that occurs as a result of various infections or secondary to follicular trauma or occlusion. 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). Hot tub folliculitis is caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa often found in new hot tubs.
The symptoms may be pain, erythema and edema. The lesions may range from tiny white-topped pustules to large, yellow pus-filled lesions. Tinea barbae infection especially the inflammatory form can be effectively treated with oral antifungal medications. Sometimes topical antibiotics, such as bacitracin with polymyxin B, may be administered. Systemic (oral) antibiotics are usually only prescribed for extensive infection, in carbunculosis, systemic infection or spreading cellulitis. Applying moist heat compresses to the local area helps promote vasodilation and drainage from the lesions. Keeping skin clean, dry, and free from abrasions or irritation can help prevent folliculitis. Furuncles and carbuncles may require an incision and drainage of pus.
Cleaning the infected area thoroughly with soap and water, or with a disinfectant preparation containing chlorhexidine or povidone iodine, is usually effective. Avoid constricting clothing. Tight clothes especially jeans and athletic wear may be stylish, but make sure they don’t chafe your skin. Use an electric razor or a new blade every time you shave. Apply a warm, moist washcloth or compress to the affected area. Try an oatmeal lotion or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to help soothe itchy skin. Gently wash the infected skin twice a day with antibacterial soap or apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. Don’t share your towels or washcloths, and launder them in plenty of hot, soapy water after every use. Wash clothes that cover the affected areas after each wearing.
Folliculitis Treatment and Prevention Tips
1. Avoid shaving irritated skin.
2. Topical antiseptic treatment is adequate for most cases helpful.
3. Some patients may benefit from systemic flucloxacillin
4. Topical antibiotics such as mupirocin ointment
5. Apply a warm, moist washcloth or compress to the affected area.
6. Try an oatmeal lotion or hydrocortisone cream to help soothe itchy skin.
7. Gently wash the infected skin twice a day with antibacterial soap.
8. Don’t share your towels or washcloths, and launder them in plenty of hot, soapy water after every use.