Understanding Folliculitis: Inflamed Hair Follicles


What is Folliculitis?

It may sound fancy, but folliculitis is pretty common and mostly harmless. Folliculitis is what happens when hair follicles become inflamed, usually as a result of a bacterial or fungal infection. An inflamed follicle appears as a red bump called a papule. In more extreme cases, it can turn into a pustule, which is a bump filled with pus. Sometimes, the area will worsen due to a persistent bacterial or yeast infection, or a virus.

Symptoms of folliculitis often include itchiness and soreness. In rare cases, it can cause permanent hair loss in the affected location or scarring. Mild cases will only last a few days and disappear after a bit of treatment.

Folliculitis is most common in areas where you have high concentration of hair follicles. The back, legs, and chest are the real danger zones. Wearing tight fitting clothing, especially during warm months can put you at increased risk for creating inflammation. One type of folliculitis can even be caused by being in a hot tub, so keep an eye out for inflammation if you like to sit in hot tubs.

What should you do to treat folliculitis?

Mild cases can be effectively treated with topical antibiotic lotions and creams. Sometimes it’s appropriate to use a wash, too. In some cases, we’ll prescribe oral medication, but you should consult with a dermatologist to figure out what treatment is right for you given the severity of your case.

The best way to prevent folliculitis is to wear loose fitting clothing and try to stay cool. If you have an active lifestyle, we’re not going to tell you not to exercise or get outside, which is why it can be tough to prevent.

You should schedule an appointment with a dermatologist if you have inflamed hair follicles that have persisted for more than a couple days. Call us at 651-209-1600 or request an appointment here.

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