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Folliculitis - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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. Folliculitis is inflammation of one or more hair follicles. Chronic lesions of superficial folliculitis or lesions that are manipulated can eventuate in deep folliculitis, which, in turn, can result in scarring. Perifolliculitis, on the other hand, is defined as the presence of inflammatory cells in the perifollicular tissues and can involve the adjacent reticular dermis. Folliculitis and perifolliculitis can manifest independently or together as a result of follicular disruption and irritation. The actual type of inflammatory cells can vary and may be dependent on the etiology of the folliculitis and/or the stage at which the biopsy specimen was obtained. Patients with superficial folliculitis usually present with multiple small papules and pustules that are pierced by a central hair.

Patient may complain of pruritus or mild discomfort. It is usually caused by bacteria , especially the type called staph ( Staphylococcus ). It can also be caused by yeast and another type of fungus. Folliculitis caused by a fungus is most often seen in people who have trouble fighting infections because they have an impaired immune system. Most common superficial form of infectious folliculitis is known as impetigo of Bockhart or barbers itch and is caused by Staphylococcus aureus. The lesions are seen in the bearded area, often on the upper lip near the nose, as erythematous follicular-based papules or pustules that may rupture and leave a yellow crust. The pustule is often pierced by a hair that is easily extracted from the follicle. This form of folliculitis may occur more commonly in staphylococcal nasal carriers.

Causes of Folliculitis

Common causes of Folliculitis

  • Friction from shaving or tight clothing
  • Excess perspiration.
  • Inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Abrasions.
  • Surgical wounds.
  • Occlusion from plastic dressings.
  • Adhesive tape.
  • Exposure to coal tar.
  • Infection.
  • Friction.
  • Follicular trauma.

Symptoms of Folliculitis

Common Symptoms of Folliculitis

  • Pain.
  • Erythema (inflammation and redness of the skin).
  • Edema.
  • Rash.
  • Itching.
  • Pimples or pustules.
  • Yellow pus-filled lesions.
  • Fever.
  • Malaise.

Treatment of Folliculitis

Common Treatment of Folliculitis

  • Medicated shampoos are available to treat folliculitis on the scalp or beard.
  • Hot moist compresses may promote drainage of extensive folliculitis.
  • Usually mild folliculitis heals on its own in about 2 weeks. Warm compresses made with white vinegar or Burow's solution may help relieve itching and aid healing
  • Antibiotic( Erythromycin, Clindamycin,Mupirocin, Cephalexin and Dicloxacillin ) or antifungal cream will usually clear up the condition.
  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a best treatment for this condition is preventive. Shaving with an electric razor, which doesn't cut as closely as a razor blade does, can help. If you do use a blade, massage your beard area with a warm, moist washcloth or facial sponge to lift the hairs so they can be cut more easily.
  • Use a shaving gel instead of cream, and shave in the direction of the hair growth. When you're finished, rinse thoroughly with warm water and apply a moisturizing after-shave. If these measures don't help, your doctor may prescribe the acne medication tretinoin (Retin-A).






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Disclaimer : All information on is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, please consult your doctor.