What is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is a common skin condition caused by a bacterial or fungal infection that affects the hair follicles, causing them to become inflamed.

Symptoms of Folliculitis

According to Dr. Richard Lucariello, board-certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology, because hair follicles are located over a majority of the body, folliculitis can occur everywhere except the palms, soles, lips. Common symptoms of folliculitis include:

  • Clusters of small red bumps or white-headed pimples that develop around hair follicles
  • Pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over
  • Itchy, burning skin
  • Painful, tender skin
  • A large swollen bump or mass

4 Types of Folliculitis

  • Bacterial folliculitis is commonly caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (staph). Itchy, white, pus-filled bumps mark this common type.
  • Pseudomonas folliculitis is commonly caused by bacteria found in hot tubs and heated pools. This type of folliculitis evolves as a rash of red, round, itchy bumps one to two days after exposure to the bacteria that causes it.
  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae is commonly referred to as razor bumps caused by ingrown hairs. It mainly affects men with curly hair who shave too close and is most noticeable on the face and neck.
  • Pityrosporum folliculitis is commonly caused by a yeast infection. This type of folliculitis develops as chronic, red, itchy pustules on the back and chest and sometimes on the neck, shoulders, upper arms, and face.

How to Prevent Folliculitis

  • Avoid tight clothes. It helps to reduce friction between your skin and clothing.
  • Shave with the grain, not against it. You run a higher risk of developing ingrown hair by shaving against the grain
  • Use only clean hot tubs and heated pools. If you own a hot tub or a heated pool, clean it regularly.

Treatment for Folliculitis

“Treatment for folliculitis will vary depending on the severity of your infection,” noted Dr. Lucariello. “For mild infections, your dermatologist may prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal cream, lotion, or gel. For more severe cases of folliculitis, minor surgery or laser therapy may be required in addition to antibiotic or antifungal creams. Minor surgery is commonly used to drain the infection to relieve pain, speed up recovery and lessen scarring.”

For at-home discomfort relief, Dr. Lucariello recommends applying a warm, moist compress several times a day to the area. After drying the area, apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to relieve any itching symptoms.

Do you have a skin, hair, or nail concern?

The board-certified dermatologists at Forefront Dermatology are here to answer and address any of your concerns surrounding your skin, hair, and nail health. Find a location nearest you to schedule an appointment.