Folliculitis is the inflammation of hair follicles which happens as a result of bacterial infection of the damaged hair follicle. It can occur in any part of your body that is covered by hair but commonly appears on the face, scalp, chest, back and thighs. It is a skin condition common in teens but can affect people of all age groups. More than 10-20% of people may experience this condition in their lifetime. People with illnesses such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and cancer are more likely to develop folliculitis.
Folliculitis is of two types, superficial and deep. The most common form of superficial folliculitis is called Barbers itch and is caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. These are seen in the beard area and often on the upper lip. Another form is called sty which occurs on the eyelid.
When inflammation progresses deeper into the tissues, it causes a dermal abscess. It is called Sycosis barbae (vulgaris) when it occurs on the face and furuncle or boil, when it occurs in other parts of our body.
Folliculitis often appears as a small, red, pus filled bump with hair trapped in the center. These lesions are often painful, swollen and itchy. Your dermatologist will make a diagnosis based on your medical history and physical examination.
Folliculitis is caused by bacterial infection of the damaged hair follicles. Often, hair follicles get injured while shaving or from wearing tight clothes. Blockage of follicles and bacterial infection.
Your dermatologist may prescribe antibiotics such as dicloxacillin, ciprofloxacin, or cephalexin as a first choice of treatment. If no satisfactory results are obtained, antibiotics such as clindamycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, minocycline or linezolid may be recommended. In treatment-resistant and recurrent cases, mupirocin ointment is recommended.
Antifungal creams may be prescribed for folliculitis caused by fungi.
Use of antibacterial soaps and good hand washing technique is sufficient in mild cases. A good skin cleansing regime includes the use of a mild cleanser such as Cetaphil antibacterial bar or Phisoderm daily with your bath or shower.
Persistent folliculitis can be treated with a Laser Hair Removal System which eliminates the hair follicles that cause chronic infections. The Laser Hair Removal System produces an intense light source that targets the pigment in hair follicles. The pulsed light source quickly delivers energy to the roots of the hair follicle disabling active hair growth thus reducing the chances for further infections.
Prevention is always better than trying to treat the condition. It is necessary to follow these tips in order to prevent folliculitis:
Avoid shaving until all the lesions have been cured for at least 1 month.
Avoid sharing razors and replace razors regularly.
Soak electric razor heads in alcohol solution for 1 hour regularly to prevent growth of bacteria or fungi.
Maintain good personal hygiene- Take daily warm showers once or twice a day.
Avoid contact with oily emollients, cream-based sun tan oil, tar and grease products.
Wear clean clothes daily to reduce the chances of reinfection.
Keep your nails short and clean.
Wear loose-fitting clothes to avoid friction.
Bath tubs should be cleaned regularly.
Avoid hot tubs that are not sanitized regularly.