Symptoms and Signs of Folliculitis

Doctor's Notes on Folliculitis

Folliculitis is inflammation of the hair follicle. Folliculitis may be caused by infections from bacteria (such as Staphylococcus aureus), fungi (yeasts and dermatophytes), viruses (herpes simplex), and parasites (Demodex mites). Other non-infectious causes of folliculitis include topical irritants (for example, creams or oils), physical irritants (hair extraction), certain drugs (such as a group of new anticancer drugs called epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors), acne vulgaris, and some auto-inflammatory conditions (folliculitis decalvans). Folliculitis will not occur on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, or on mucous membranes, since they have no hair follicles.

Symptoms of folliculitis may include redness, swelling, and pustule formation limited to hair follicles. A person may notice a hair surrounded by red, swollen tissue. Folliculitis may also cause local itching and mild pain or tenderness.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.