Folliculitis is triggered by fungal or bacterial infections, making it a common skin condition. It results in itchy patches of rash or tiny bumps that are often painful. Experts have determined several types of this skin condition and each type is distinct as it depends on which infection or bacteria caused it. However, this skin condition is treatable with some basic hygiene and topical medication. Moreover, you need to see a doctor at the earliest if folliculitis recurs even after taking all the precautions.
Folliculitis is an infectious skin condition that can impact more than one hair follicle. Hair follicles are essential as these small cavities surround the hair roots to give them a protective layer from the environmental debris and contaminants. It can occur anywhere on the skin where hair is grown. Mostly, it affects the scalp as most of your hair is grown there. However, places like thighs, armpits, ad buttocks are also vulnerable to this skin condition due to friction and moisture.
It transpires in the form of small bumps; However, it may look like acne or rash at first, and may occur to only one follicle or many. People have often reported it to be a chronic skin condition.
Causes of Folliculitis
Folliculitis is caused by bacteria that may or may not occur due to physical contact. Staphylococcus bacteria or staph is the common cause of folliculitis, and you may get affected if you touch someone who already has it. Usually, it is not passed through physical contact but rather items like razors, towels, and used clothing items. Unhygienic pools and spas are the main cause of spreading this skin condition where multiple people come and leave their germs behind. If these facilities are not sanitized well, chances are you will contract such skin conditions.
Symptoms of Folliculitis
Folliculitis transpires as small bumps that itch and end up in rash patches. These bumps can also advance towards pustules and fill with pus. Therefore, they are often confused as pimples and appear in several colors, including red, white, and yellow.
Some common symptoms that often accompany these tiny bumps are:
Types of Folliculitis
Following are the common types of folliculitis that are often reported by people:
1- Hot Tub Folliculitis
It is also known as Pseudomonas Folliculitis. It occurs when you spend excessive time in a hot tub as these tubs contain the Pseudomonas bacteria. Moreover, regular pools and water slides can also increase is the risk. The bumps may appear in one place at first and then spread out throughout. The areas which are most exposed to the contaminated water are highly vulnerable such as the thighs and buttocks.
This type of folliculitis is treated on its own. However, some topical medications can speed up the process. Applying these creams 2-3 times a day can give better results but in severe cases, oral medication is also prescribed.
2- Pityrosporum Folliculitis
It occurs when a yeast called pityrosporum affects a hair follicle and spreads out to other follicles, resulting in an acne-looking rash on your skin. This yeast lives on our skin but has no reaction until triggered by an external stimulus. These triggers include:
- Tight Clothing
- Hot or Humid Weather
- Excessive Sebum
3- Bacterial Folliculitis
It is the most common type of folliculitis and it occurs when the bacteria living on the skin, enters the skin and infects the follicle. The bacteria are usually entered through a cut or scrape on the skin. Mild cases of this folliculitis are treated through better personal hygiene and topical medications. However, doctors have to prescribe oral medication to eradicate the problem.
Risk Factors of Folliculitis
Folliculitis can happen at any age, but the most common risk factors include:
- Wearing skin-tight clothes that can easily trap sweat for a long time
- Touching and scratching your skin constantly
- Shaving the entire body
- Sitting in hot tubs, pools, and water slides frequently and for a long time
- Having a weak immune system
Treatment of Folliculitis
Folliculitis gets treated on its own with time. However, medicated treatment depends on the type and severity of the skin condition and its nature. It is important to know if the condition is acute or chronic as the medication process depends on it.
Common treatments for folliculitis are:
1- Topical Creams or Pills for Normal Infection
For mild infections, topical creams and pills are prescribed by the doctor to relieve the symptoms. Oral antibiotics are only prescribed in case the infection gets severe or if it is of recurring nature.
2- Topical Creams or Pills for Fungal Infection
It is for infections that are caused by yeast instead of bacteria. The composition of these medications is different from the ones used for bacterial infections. Normal antibiotics would not help in treating fungal infections.
3- Topical Creams or Pills to Alleviate Inflammation
Your doctor will prescribe you a different set of topical creams and pills used best for reducing inflammation and swelling caused by infection. Moreover, the nature of your skin condition will be taken into consideration before prescribing any of the medications.
4- Minor Surgery
If you have a significant carbuncle, your doctor may have to make a small incision to let out all the pus and infectious fluid trapped inside the skin. It can help to relieve pain, kick start speedy recovery, and even reduce the chances of permanent scarring on your skin. The area may get taped with sterile gauze if the pus takes several days to drain out fully.
5- Laser Hair Removal
This option is usually recommended in the chronic nature of folliculitis when it keeps recurring after exhausting all other possible treatments. Laser treatment can permanently lessen the density of your hair and extended treatment can also permanently remove the hair. It is an expensive treatment but it ensures that folliculitis would not occur again.
It is always better to consult professionals for guidance. Book your appointment with the Best Skin Specialist through Marham for more information.