Folliculitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
You may have heard of folliculitis but do you know what it really entails? Do you know the eight types of folliculitis you can get? Do you know how to treat it?
In this article, we’ll go over all of that and more.
What Is Folliculitis?
Folliculitis is an incredibly common skin condition. It’s benign, meaning it’s harmless. According to PubMed Health, a property of the US National Library of Medicine, folliculitis is defined as inflammation of the hair follicles. This inflammation can cause excessive perspiration, skin infections, and wounds.
Folliculitis is most commonly recognized by the small, pinpoint red bumps that appear on the skin around the hair follicles. It can appear on the face, scalp, chest, back, buttocks, and legs.
Types Of Folliculitis
There are different types of folliculitis. Each has a slightly different cause, symptom, or treatment. Here are the eight sub-types of folliculitis along with a brief description of the.
Bacterial folliculitis - Bacterial folliculitis is a common form of folliculitis identified by tiny, pus-filled white pumps. As the name suggests, this type of folliculitis is caused by a bacterial infection within the actual hair follicle.
Hot tub folliculitis - Hot tub folliculitis is also known as Pseudomonas Aeruginosa folliculitis. This form of folliculitis is caused mainly by inflammation caused by a bacterium called Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. Most forms of folliculitis are not contagious but this type can be spread through person-to-person contact,, shared razors, or hot tub water.
Razor bumps folliculitis - Razor bumps folliculitis is also called Pseudofolliculitis barbae or barber’s itch. If you’ve ever experienced itching or irritation after shaving, you’ve experienced folliculitis. That razor burn sensation is actually a form of folliculitis.
Pityrosporum folliculitis - Pityrosporum folliculitis is a type of folliculitis caused by yeast. These yeast microbes get under the skin and create itchy bumps that look similar to acne.Normally doctors and dermatologists do not diagnose Pityrosporum folliculitis because it takes them time to realize that the treatments given for acne (which is much more common) aren’t working.
Sycosis barbae folliculitis - Sycosis barbae folliculitis is a specific kind of folliculitis caused by the Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria. Sycosis barbae folliculitis specifically occurs around the beard area. This type of folliculitis can lead to scarring and possibly permanent hair loss.
Gram-negative folliculitis - Gram-negative folliculitis looks like acne but it’s actually caused by a bacterial infection. It can be caused by either the Klebsiella, Proteus, Serratia Marcescens, Escherichia coli, or Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Specieis of bacteria.
Boils & carbuncles - Boils and carbuncles are painful, pus-filled bumps. They form underneath the skin and are caused by bacterial infections. These bumps can be large and unsightly. They also cause a lot of pain and discomfort.
Eosinophilic folliculitis - Eosinophilic folliculitis is also called eosinophilic pustular folliculitis. That’s because it creates pustules on the skin. Some experts think Eosinophilic folliculitis is caused by a certain type of immune system cell called the eosinophils but there is no officially known cause of Eosinophilic folliculitis. This condition is also known as Ofuji disease.
As you can see, folliculitis isn’t really one disease, but a variety of different skin diseases. Although there are different types of folliculitis out there, and they vary a little bit in symptoms, causes, and treatments, they still share certain things in common.
Causes Of Folliculitis
For most types of folliculitis, the cause starts out more or less the same.
A hair follicle gets damaged somehow and either bacteria or yeast enter the follicle. According to MedlinePlus, a US National Library of Medicine property, this damage could happen because of rubbing, shaving, or some other physical activity. Once the follicle is damaged, the microbe enters the skin through the follicle and begins multiplying and creating the infection.
Risk factors for folliculitis include:
- Having a medical condition which reduces your ability to fight infection
- Certain medications like steroids and antibiotics
- Wearing clothes that don’t breathe easily
- Wearing tight clothes
- Having either acne or dermatitis
- Being male
- Having curly hair
- Frequent shaving
- Soaking in a dirty hot tub
Sometimes the microbe is bacteria, sometimes it’s fungus, and sometimes it’s simple inflammation. No matter what specific thing is causing your folliculitis it’s almost always unsightly and uncomfortable.
This is why it’s important to recognize the symptoms of folliculitis so you can treat it as quick as possible.
Symptoms Of Folliculitis
The Mayo Clinic provided a short, simple list of symptoms associated with folliculitis generally.
The symptoms of folliculitis include:
- Clusters of small red bumps
- White-headed pimples around your hair follicles
- Pus-filled blisters
- Broken blisters
- Crusted over blisters
- Itchy, burning skin
- General painfulness or tenderness
- Skin hurts to the touch
- Large, swollen bumps
As we’ve said before, since there are many forms of folliculitis, you have to look up specific symptoms of those conditions to get a better idea for what caused your case of folliculitis and how to treat it.
Folliculitis can cause health complications.
These complications include:
- Recurrent breakouts
- Spreading infections
- Painful boils, also known as furunculosis
- Skin damage and scarring
- Dark spots
- Permanent hair loss
So, although folliculitis isn’t a particularly dangerous skin condition, some of the complications can be very problematic. That’s why you should seek treatment for your folliculitis once you begin recognizing the symptoms.
Folliculitis Treatment Options
If you think you have folliculitis, go and schedule an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist. He or she will be able to give you a proper medical diagnosis as well as start you on the correct treatment path.
Indiana University of Bloomington’s Health Center website outlined some of the folliculitis treatment options available for people who are diagnosed with the condition.
Folliculitis treatment options include:
- Warm compresses applied to the skin multiple times a day
- Avoid frequent shaving
- Avoid scratching infected areas
- Topical antibiotic ointments
- Oral antibiotics
- Using a shampoo that contains selenium
These treatment options may change depending on which form of folliculitis you have. Your doctor will take note of what kind of folliculitis has developed on your skin as well as its severity. These two factors will determine which treatment options your doctor or dermatologist will recommend at the start.
Now You’re Prepared To Treat Your Folliculitis
For most people in most cases, folliculitis isn’t something worth worrying about. But it can still be unsightly and uncomfortable.
Hopefully, now you feel better prepared to recognize the symptoms of folliculitis so you can more quickly schedule an appointment with your doctor and begin receiving treatment.