Folliculitis is a bacterial infection of the hair follicles or the skin surrounding the hair. This condition is fairly common, and occurs when there is damage or blockage.
You’ll typically find the condition in the neck area, although it can also occur in the groin area. You’ll experience redness, large pimples, itchiness and inflammation. The condition is related to Pseudofolliculitis barbae, also know as razor bumps, which typically affects African American males.
What causes folliculitis to occur?
Staphylococcus aureus are the most common bacteria that cause the infection. It is not known exactly why these particular bacteria infect the hair follicles.
Your doctor can usually diagnose the condition just by looking at it, but you may need tests to determine exactly which bacteria are causing it to occur. It may also be a related condition caused by a fungal infection.
Contact with oils, tar and grease can make one more susceptible to the condition. Also, tight or occlusive clothing such as polyester can contribute to the development of the condition. Shaving can precipitate the problem as well.
Heat and sweating are also factors and some people are born with a tendency to development folliculitis. If you are one of these people you may have to continue treatment to prevent recurrences.
What are the treatment options?
Cleaning the area once or twice a day with the liquid form of Lever 2000 soap (a mild antibacterial soap) is helpful.
You should wear loose cotton clothing to help prevent the problem.
Your doctor will give you an antibiotic to put on your skin and may give you antibiotic pills if you have a severe case of folliculitis.
The condition usually resolves itself and should respond well to treatment. If however it does not and gets worse you should definitely see your doctor to try to get it under control. It does have a tendency to return, however, especially if you are exposed to the same trigger that caused it in the first place.