What is folliculitis?

Folliculitis is the term used to describe any inflammation of one or more hair follicles anywhere in the skin. The disorder is caused by damage to the follicles, by a blocked follicle, by shaving, or by friction caused by clothing, helmet straps, and the like. Hair follicles in the neck, groin, or genital area are particularly susceptible to inflammation. The damaged follicle is most frequently infected with staphylococcal bacteria when infection is present.

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Folliculitis can also occur if a curly facial hair is shaved too closely and irritates the skin. This second form of folliculitis is caused by a section of the hair shaft that has been pressed or grown back into the skin. Both types of folliculitis occur mostly in men; the second form is especially prominent in African American men.

Other types of folliculitis include pityrosporum folliculitis, herpetic folliculitis, gram-negative folliculitis, pseudomonas folliculitis, eosinophilic folliculitis, and tinea barbae.

Folliculitis is not a serious condition, but it does require prompt attention if the area becomes infected or if the infection spreads. Seek prompt medical care if, after home treatment, symptoms recur frequently, if they persist for more than two or three days, or if the infection spreads.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of folliculitis?

Symptoms of folliculitis include an itchy skin rash with pimples or pustules developing near a hair follicle. These most frequently appear in the neck, groin, or genital areas. In some cases, the pimples may develop a crust.... Read more about folliculitissymptoms

CAUSES

What causes folliculitis?

Folliculitis is caused by damage to the hair follicles due to clothing (especially rough fabrics such as wool), helmet straps, or other objects rubbing against the hair or beard. Folliculitis can also develop from a blocked follicle or as a result of shaving.... Read more about folliculitiscauses

TREATMENTS

How is folliculitis treated?

Mild cases of folliculitis usually resolve within two to three days. If the condition persists or recurs or if infection sets in, you may need medications specific to the type of infection. It is important to take the full course of treatment for any infection or the infection may recur, worsen or spread as soon as treatment stops.... Read more about folliculitistreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Skin, Hair and Nails


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