Skin Disorders

Skin Disorders

Skin disorders cover a wide range of conditions, some benign, some very serious, and some even a sign of another underlying illness. A skin disorder not only affects your physical health, but also your emotional well-being.


Skin CareSkin Disorders › Folliculitis

Folliculitis (With Pictures)

With common names like hot tub folliculitis and barber's itch, folliculitis may sound more like a bad joke than a skin disorder. But folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles, is no laughing matter. Folliculitis is a superficial infection of the hair follicle. 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 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.


Causes of Folliculitis


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). Common cause for folliculitis are:-

  • Contact with oils, tar and grease can make one more susceptible to folliculitis.
  • Excess perspiration, which can block the follicles
  • Heat and sweating are also factors that can contribute to folliculitis.
  • Injuries to your skin such as abrasions or surgical wounds
  • Exposure to coal tar, pitch or creosote - common among roofers, mechanics and oil workers

Signs and symptoms of Folliculitis

Folliculitis looks like a small, pus-filled pimple, usually around the base of a hair. Pus seeping from this pustule can be tinged with blood. While folliculitis can occur anywhere on the body, it is most likely to appear on the arms, armpits, legs, or on the scalp. Men who shave are more likely to develop folliculitis on the face. Deep folliculitis, which affects the entire hair follicle, can cause more severe signs and symptoms, including large, painful, pus-filled pimples that may leave scars when they heal.

Treatment for Folliculitis

Bacterial folliculitis infections are usually mild and can be cleared up by applying an over-the-counter topical antibiotic cream or ointment to the affected area as directed by your doctor. If the infection covers a large area or multiple areas, your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic. If you have repeated occurrences of folliculitis, your doctor may recommend bathing with an antibacterial soap. If the folliculitis is caused by a fungal infection, your doctor will prescribe antifungal drugs and topical treatments.

Alternative treatment

Eating a balanced diet, including protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and drinking eight to 10 glasses of water a day may stimulate the body's immune system and shorten the course of the infection. Garlic ( Allium sativum ) and goldenseal ( Hydrastis canadensis ), both antiseptic agents against staph infections, may be taken. The daily dosage would vary from person to person and is based on the severity of the infection. Echinacea ( Echinacea spp.) is helpful in modulating immune function. Again, the dosage would vary.

Tips on preventing and treating Folliculitis

  • Men should not shave while the beard area is infected.
  • Shave in the direction of the follicle, not against it. Do not stretch the skin.
  • Don't share towels or washcloths.
  • If you own a hot tub, clean it regularly and add chlorine when recommended. Use commercial tubs only if you're sure they're well maintained.
  • If you are prone to folliculitis, avoid hot tubs and whirlpool spas, which are frequently breeding grounds for bacteria.

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