Folliculitis describes inflammation and/or infection of the hair follicle, causing small pimple-like bumps to appear around hair follicles. Folliculitis appears most commonly on the chest, shoulders and back, although it can involve any hair-bearing area of the body. Acute cases are often due to bacterial infection – most commonly staph – and respond rapidly to appropriate antibiotics.

A less common cause of folliculitis is a yeast called pityrosporum. A combination of topical and systemic anti-yeast medications may be required to treat pityrosporum folliculitis, and recurrences are common.

Proper diagnosis of folliculities is essential. Treatments are very different for conditions caused by yeast and bacteria.

In some cases, folliculitis causes chronic, itchy red pustules on the neck, chest, back and shoulders, or even the beard area. Chronic folliculitis may require long-term treatment similar to acne treatment.