What is folliculitis?
Folliculitis is an infection in the hair follicles. Each hair on your body grows out of a tiny pouch called a follicle. You can have folliculitis on any part of your body that has hair. But it is most common on the face and scalp and areas rubbed by clothing, such as the thighs and groin.
What causes folliculitis?
You may get folliculitis if you have damaged hair follicles. Shaving or wearing clothes that rub the skin can irritate the follicles, which can lead to folliculitis. They also can become blocked or irritated by sweat, machine oils, or makeup. When the follicles are injured, they are more likely to become infected.
You are more likely to get folliculitis if you:
What are the symptoms?
Folliculitis usually looks like red pimples with a hair in the center of each one. The pimples may have pus in them, and they may itch or burn. When the pimples break open, they may drain pus, blood, or both.
"Hot tub folliculitis" most often appears about 72 hours after you've been in a hot tub or spa. Many small pimples appear on your stomach and sometimes on your arms and legs. You might have a mild fever and have an upset stomach. Most of the time, this kind of folliculitis goes away on its own in 7 to 10 days.
How is folliculitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will check your skin and ask about your health and activities. He or she may do tests to find out what is causing your folliculitis and to make sure you don't have a different problem, such as impetigo or heat rash. Testing a sample of the fluid in the pimples or a sample of tissue can help your doctor learn what is causing the infection.
How is it treated?
Mild folliculitis usually heals on its own in about 2 weeks. You can take care of yourself at home with:
If the infection doesn't go away, you may need an antibiotic or antifungal cream. If your infection is severe, your doctor will prescribe antibiotic or antifungal pills.
Call your doctor if you have folliculitis and:
If the infection doesn't go away or keeps coming back, laser hair removal may be an option. Laser treatment destroys the hair follicles so they can't get infected.
How can you prevent folliculitis?
There are many things you can do to prevent folliculitis or keep it from spreading.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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