Folliculitis : Cause, Symptoms & Treatment
Inside your skin is a small cavity where the hair grows. This is known as the hair follicle. Our bodies are covered with hair follicles. These hair follicles are present all over the body except the soles of the feet, palms, and lips. The hair follicles produce oils that are essential to the health of the follicle and the hair.
Folliculitis is a common skin issue where the hair follicle gets a blockage or a bacterial infection. This appears in the form of small red bumps. These bumps may also have a white, pus-filled tip and are accompanied by itching. Hair follicles cover the entire body and this condition mostly affects the head, face, chest, arms, legs, armpits, buttocks, and genitals.
There are many different types of folliculitis, each of which is unique and caused by a different factor. Some of the more common names for folliculitis are barber’s itch, shaving rash, razor bumps, or hot tub rash. Folliculitis appears due to a result of daily activities such as shaving, excessive exercising, or excessive sweating.
Folliculitis may be uncomfortable or itchy. This is a relatively harmless condition that can often be treated by oneself using simple folliculitis treatment at home. If it is severe you should see a doctor. It can affect people of all ages and often has a psychosocial impact. Here we will look at the causes of folliculitis and folliculitis treatment.
Cause of Hair Follicle Infections
The condition of folliculitis occurs whenever a hair follicle gets infected and suffers inflammation. The infected hair follicle swells under the skin, causing bumps to appear on the skin. Though folliculitis could be happening due to a wide variety of factors, there are some common causes. Generally, if you have damaged hair follicles, the likelihood of folliculitis is more. This can happen due to a variety of activities.
- In most conditions, a kind of bacteria known as Staph Aureus is the root cause. These bacteria are present on your skin all the time. If it enters the body through a cut, it can cause problems.
- Certain kinds of bacteria found in hot tub baths and pools can also cause folliculitis. When the skin is hot and damp, the hair follicles can get damaged and infected much easier.
- Blockages are caused in the hair follicle due to the usage of skin products. Oil and moisturizer accumulation can block the pores.
- Not cleaning up the body properly after engaging in sweaty activities can block the follicles.
- Hair removal through plucking, waxing, or shaving can cause inflammation in the hair follicle resulting in folliculitis.
- Regular shaving especially of curly hair could be causing bumps.
- Ingrown hair can also lead to folliculitis.
- Touching or rubbing the skin frequently can also trigger inflammation of the hair follicle.
- Tight hair braids can cause hair follicles on the scalp strain and inflammation. This may lead to folliculitis.
- Skin conditions such as acne make you more prone to folliculitis.
- An oily scalp can lead to scalp acne which can develop into bumps on the scalp.
- Wearing tight clothes, footwear or gloves does not let the heat and sweat out of the body and can cause folliculitis.
- Clothing that rubs on the skin can cause inflammation to the hair follicles resulting in folliculitis.
- Long-term usage of antibiotics or steroid creams can lead to folliculitis.
- A history of obesity puts you at a greater risk of folliculitis.
- An immune system that is weakened by conditions such as leukaemia, diabetes or HIV is unable to fight the regular infections of the hair follicle thus leading to folliculitis.
- Sometimes skin injuries caused due to cuts or insect bites can lead to folliculitis. Bacteria can spread from an infected wound or cut to nearby hair follicles.
Symptoms of Folliculitis
Folliculitis appears in the form of red swollen bumps that resemble pimples. These bumps may appear to be filled with white material. Sometimes they may be filled with pus. The bumps irritate and you may feel the need to scratch (which should be avoided). If on the scalp, this may cause an itchy scalp. Here one must note that some of these symptoms can be the same as scalp psoriasis. But that condition is different from folliculitis and requires a different course of action.
Mostly, the diagnosis is done by the physical examination of the skin. A swab of the infected skin can be used to test for the kind of bacteria causing the infection and confirm if the condition requires a folliculitis treatment or not. If so, folliculitis treatment is followed. Rarely, a biopsy may be needed to rule out the possibility of other conditions.
How to Treat Folliculitis with Ayurveda
Folliculitis is harmless in most cases. Folliculitis treatment mostly depends on the type and severity. In most cases, folliculitis treatment can be done with simple home remedies. However, if the case is severe or recurring, you must consult a doctor to seek diagnosis and folliculitis treatment.
- Folliculitis treatment by course correction - If you are having bumps resembling acne, they will go away if you have a healthy immune system. Here, you must also be careful about finding out what caused the folliculitis. If it is improper shaving or very tight clothes or any other reason. Figure it out and simply do a course correction.
- Folliculitis treatment by careful hair removal - If hair removal is causing folliculitis you must stop shaving, plucking, or waxing for at least 30 days.
- Folliculitis treatment by soaking in a tub of warm water - will help in reducing the itching and pain. One cup of baking soda can be added to the tub to further ease the symptoms.
Ayurveda also has a variety of solutions for folliculitis treatment.
- Herbal folliculitis treatment using bhringraj can reduce inflammation. You can use bhringraj oil for this.
- Aloe Vera Folliculitis treatment - Apply aloe vera juice to soothe scalp irritation and inflammation.
- Neem Folliculitis treatment - Apply neem leaves paste to the affected area to reduce the inflammation.
- Essential oils Folliculitis treatment - Eucalyptus oil, clove oil, tea tree oil, cinnamon oil, lavender oil has antimicrobial properties. Along with a carrier oil, you can use these for a scalp massage.
- Folliculitis treatment using a warm compress - can help in reducing the itching and drawing out the pus. Soak a cloth in warm water and wring out the excess liquid. Place it on the affected area of the skin and leave for about 20 minutes. You can do this 3-4 times a day.
Hair Expert Tips to Prevent Folliculitis
Folliculitis may mostly be unharmful but they cause irritation and a psychosocial impact on your wellbeing. However, to avoid inflammation and blocking of the hair follicles, a phenomenon that leads to folliculitis, you can follow some very easy tips. Here are a few tips on preventive hair follicle treatment or folliculitis treatment.
- Skin Care
Clean skin goes a long way in keeping pores unclogged and inflammation away. Keep your skin clean to avoid folliculitis and for folliculitis treatment too.
- Shaving care
Shaving is a common cause of folliculitis. Limiting shaving and shaving with care can prevent this and is helpful in folliculitis treatment. You can follow the tips below.
- Soften the hair before shaving with water.
- Do not shave against the growth of the hair strands.
- Shave every alternate day instead of regularly.
- Use an electric razor instead of the blade-based razor.
- Always use a shaving cream or a gel.
- Do not pull the skin while shaving.
- Clothing Care
Tight clothes that rub against the skin can injure the hair follicles. Especially when the environment is hot and humid which it can get if you sweat in such tight garments. Clothing that does not allow sweat to escape also contributes to this. Be careful of the tips below if you are looking for folliculitis treatment and prevention.
- Wear loose clothes in hot and humid climates.
- Wear breathable clothes to let the sweat escape easily.
- If you workout in tight clothes, change immediately after working out.
- Hot Tub Care
Folliculitis may be happening as a result of using a hot tub that is not properly kept.
- Use hot tubs that are properly cleaned and maintained.
- Make sure the level of chlorine and other disinfecting elements in the water is appropriate.
- Wash your swimming suit after every use. Use it only after it is completely dry. This will reduce the exposure of your body to bacteria.
- Care while applying Medication
Sometimes folliculitis can happen as a result of applying skin medication.
- Apply the medication in the direction of hair growth
- If possible, keeping the impacted or targeted area for the medication open, without any bandage.
Folliculitis is a common condition and is mostly harmless. We hope you have been able to discover some useful information here. If you are going through folliculitis, do not forget to try the home and the ayurvedic remedies described here. For scalp irritation and folliculitis, you can start with Traya’s dandruff treatment for the itchy scalp.
You can go for home ayurvedic remedies such as using an herbal oil folliculitis treatment. Also, avoid scratching the bumps to prevent the infection from spreading. If the case is severe, you may need to consult a doctor who can prescribe simple medication after diagnosis
Folliculitis is caused by the actions of bacteria which is found all over our skin but causes problems when it enters the hair follicle or bloodstream. Avoiding the cause of folliculitis is the best way to kill it – whether it be shaving, tight clothes, or an unclean tub. Certain ayurvedic oil and herbal folliculitis treatment can be used for killing folliculitis impacting the scalp.
Yes, it is curable. Most cases of folliculitis can be cured by simple home remedies described above. For more severe cases, the doctor can prescribe topical or oral medication as needed.
Dr. Jaspreet Sarna, M.D
Dr. Sarna is an MD (Skin & VD) with a decade-long experience in treating hair loss and working on hair regrowth. She believes stress management is the key to good health.