Mayo Clinic defines folliculitis as an infection on hair follicles which typically appear on a precise area of the body. The condition is characterized by several inflamed bumps which look more or less like acne.
Scientific evidence also suggests that this condition is more common among men with curly hair, though it can also affect women with coarse hair. Folliculitis bumps develop a day or two after coming into contact with a virus or bacteria which results in inflammation.
What Causes Folliculitis?
There are several internal and external factors which could result in folliculitis. Though some are still unclear to researchers, the identified causes have made it possible to develop successful treatments. The external and internal factors could trigger the condition via bacterial infection or inadvertent skin trauma. If you have already contracted the disease, these could be some of the causes.
- Viral, fungal or bacterial infection. Viral and bacterial infection is the most common cause. Several viruses and bacteria have the capability to infect hair follicles.
- Having a close shave. Razor bumps could also result in folliculitis. This occurs when blades come very close to the skin's surface, damaging the skin's hair follicle. This could also result in itchiness and inflammation.
- Chemical products like corticosteroids present in skin products irritate the skin. These could block hair follicles resulting in inflammations.
What Are the Symptoms of Folliculitis?
The principal symptom of folliculitis is the development of red bumps on the skin's surface where hair follicles open up. On closer inspection, the bumps might appear like small pimples with a pinkish reddish head filled with pus. If you are not sure whether you are suffering from the condition, here are some other symptoms you should be on the lookout for:
- Once the red bumps begin to develop heads, patients may experience intense itchiness. Even when these bumps become very itchy, you should not scratch them to avoid infecting other surrounding areas.
- Crusty sores. At later stages of this condition, the bumps might pop, which could result in leaking pus. This results in the bump appearing crusty. Popping the bumps prematurely could result in delayed healing -- so don't do it.
- Pain and tenderness. It is common for patients with folliculitis to experience discomfort due to inflammation. The discomfort is even more significant if the deeper layers of the skin have already been infected.
- Low-grade fever. In extreme cases, patients may experience headaches or a low-grade fever. There is also a more severe type of folliculitis known as pseudomonas which can cause several other symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, sore eyes, headaches and abdominal cramps.
Conventional Treatment Options for Folliculitis
Though folliculitis might be uncomfortable and unattractive, know that it is just a minor skin condition. If treated wisely, and assuming that you don't interfere with the inflammation, the bumps should disappear in a few days without leaving significant marks on your skin.
In most cases, a doctor or physician will administer prescriptions to quicken recovery and ease inflammation. There are also other prescriptions administered by health practitioners to treat folliculitis. They include and are not limited to:
- Anti-fungal shampoo and gentle antibacterial body wash. Maintaining good hygiene is critical when it comes to getting rid of folliculitis. Using an antibacterial soap in most cases helps alleviate the condition.
- Antibiotics. If the condition is severe, a doctor could also prescribe antibiotics. These antibiotics are available in the form of lotions or gels to make application easier.