Folliculitis is an inflammation of hair follicles. Folliculitis got its name from the tiny pouches present in the skin. Hair on your body grows through this tiny pouches called follicle. Follicultis occurs in any part of the body, where hair growth is seen. Follicultis is most commonly seen in beard areas, arms, back, buttocks and legs.
Follicultis is seen in both genders and is commonly seen in adults. Very rarely folliculitis cases are seen in children. Folliculitis is caused either by bacterial or fungal infection. The mild cases of folliculitis are preventive and curable in the initial stages on early diagnosis. Folliculitis is not a life threatening disorder. In severe cases folliculitis leads to permanent hair loss and scarring in patients.
Bacteria, viruses and fungi are the causative agents of folliculitis. Bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus are known to cause hair follicle infection. Infection may lead to inflammation of ingrown hairs. Follicultis can be classified into 2 categories based on severity: Superficial and deep folliculitus. Deep folliculitis is more severe when compared to superficial folliculitis. Folliculitis cause follicle damage and the most common causes of follicle damage are:
- Heat and sweat
- Skin conditions like dermatitis and acne
- Surgical wounds
- Friction from shaving and tight clothing
- Using swimming pools which are not properly treated with chlorine can also lead to folliculitis.
- Chemical substances like makeup that can irritate or block the follicles.
Folliculitis symptoms appear instantly after infection. Follicultis symptoms are seen associated with other diseases which can cause destruction of hair follicle and inflame the cells. The most common symptoms include:
- Small red bumps or white headed pimples in clusters around the hair follicle
- Blisters filled with pus
- Red and inflamed skin
- Itching near the hair follicles
- Burning sensation in skin
Folliculitis is not a life threatening disorder. It can lead to complications in very cases. The possible complications of folliculitis include:
- Spreading of infection to other parts of the body.
- Large plaque formation
- Boils under the skin
- Permanent loss of hair in the infected region
- Permanent skin damage
- Scarring and dark spots on the infected area
- Hair follicle destruction
Prevention and Treatment
Mild folliculitis can be treated easily on early diagnosis. It takes one- two weeks for folliculitis to heal on its own. The following precautions should be kept in mind to avoid follliculitis.
- Take shower daily with a mild soap. Take bath after you exercise or any other physical activity.
- Do take shower after you work with any harmful chemicals as these chemicals can cause irritations and itchy sensation. The irritation caused by chemicals can lead to folliculitis
- Avoid sharing towels and clothes as it spread infection faster from one person to the other.
- Change the razor blade each time before shaving to avoid the spread of infection.
- Be careful with the bumps while shaving.
- Do not use oil on the skin as it traps more bacteria in the pores.
- Do not itch or scratch the bumps as it may bleed or pus will be released which can affect the other parts of the body.