When most people think about dermatology, they usually think of pimples, eczema, warts, or moles. What people often don’t realize is that dermatologists are also trained to help treat conditions that affect the hair. One rather common condition that often goes unrecognized is folliculitis.
Folliculitis is a condition in which hair follicles become inflamed, usually due to infection by bacteria or fungi. Folliculitis can form anywhere on the body where there is hair, but it is most common on the chest, back, legs, face, and neck.
Some common symptoms of folliculitis include:
- Itchy skin
- Red patches of skin
- Pus-filled pustules
- Small red, white, or yellow bumps developing around hair follicles
The types of folliculitis are distinguished from one another by the area of the follicle affected by infection.
These types of folliculitis are caused by infections that affect superficial portions of the follicle.
- Bacterial Folliculitis: Occurs when follicles become infected with bacteria, usually Staphylococcus aureus. The infection causes itchy, pus-filled bumps to appear on the skin.
- Pityrosporum Folliculitis: Caused when follicles are affected by yeast infections. Found most often in teenagers and adult males, this type of folliculitis produces recurring itchy, pustules on the back, chest, neck, arms, and face.
- Pseudomonas Folliculitis: Happens when follicles are exposed to the pseudomonas bacteria. These organisms are commonly found in hot tubs with poor chlorine regulation. This kind of folliculitis causes itchy bumps to appear that may later develop into blisters.
These types of folliculitis occur when a bacterial or fungal infection affects the entire follicle, deep within the skin. Superficial folliculitis can sometimes evolve into deep folliculitis.
- Gram-negative folliculitis: Caused by an infection of gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative folliculitis often occurs in patients with rosacea or acne that have been taking systemic antibiotics for a long period of time.
- Furuncles and Carbuncles: Occurs when staph bacteria affects deep areas of the follicle, causing furuncles, painful pus-filled boils, and sometimes carbuncles, severely infected clusters of boils.
- Sycosis Barbae: Most commonly affecting men who shave, sycosis barbae occurs when a bacterial infection becomes deeply seated in the hair follicle, causing an inflammatory reaction that spreads to other nearby follicles.
While everyone can get folliculitis, the following factors may put you more at risk of developing the condition:
- Having an untreated infected cut or wound
- Frequent shaving
- Exposure to hot, humid temperatures
- Sharing personal items like towels or soap
- Wearing tight clothes
- Having diabetes or diseases that affect the immune system
- Using a pool or hot tub that hasn’t been properly treated with chlorine
- Blocking the follicles with dirt, makeup, sweat, or lotions
The best way to treat folliculitis, as with any other skin condition, is by scheduling an appointment with the skincare experts at Avail Dermatology. Depending on the severity and type of infection, your dermatologist may recommend a variety of treatments including creams, pills, shampoos, and in some cases, minor surgery.
If you think you may be suffering from folliculitis contact Avail Dermatology at 770-251-5111 to schedule an appointment.