What is Folliculitis?
Folliculitis is one of the common skin disease and hair loss problems affecting the hair follicles. Folliculitis occurred due to inflammation and infection in the hair follicles. Hair follicles are small skin cavities from which hair grows. For each hair, there will be its own follicle. Folliculitis may affect any area of the body except the area not having the hairs such as the palm of the hand, lips, soles of the feet etc. Otherwise, Folliculitis can be seen as affecting the whole body part including arms, legs, buttocks, genitals, chest, back, head and face. This condition can be visualized with the red small bumps having white pus in it.
Folliculitis seems to be caused by the fungal and bacterial infection which can be treated with the medications at the initial stage. It is uncomfortable, itchy, sore, embarrassing and painful sometimes, although it is less harmful to the human. Once the infection occurred, it may spread to other body parts as well. If the problem persists and not treated, it may lead to permanent hair loss and scarring. Folliculitis can never be life-threatening if due care is taken at the mild stage with proper prescriptions by the doctor or with self-care.
What are the Types of Folliculitis?
There are certain types of Folliculitis are found in people which are mentioned below:-
- Superficial Folliculitis
- Deep Folliculitis
We will explain both terms in details:-
Several types of Superficial Folliculitis are:-
- Bacterial folliculitis: This kind of Folliculitis occurred due to bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus (staph). This bacteria lives on the scalp or skin for a long time but becomes problematic when enters into the body through any cut or wound. It may lead to itchy, white & pus-filled bumps.
- Hot tub Folliculitis (pseudomonas folliculitis): This type of folliculitis is caused by Pseudomonas bacteria which is found everywhere, especially in Hot tubs and heated pools in which chlorine and pH Levels are not well regulated. This may further lead to red rashes, itchy bumps
- Razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae): Shaving the curly hairs with the help of razor may affect the area with pus-filled pimples. People having bikini waxes may get barber’s itch in the groin area. The conditions may leave dark raised scars or keloids.
- Pityrosporum (pit-ih-ROS-puh-rum) folliculitis: This type of Folliculitis is caused by the yeast infections and may affect the chest, back, neck, shoulders, upper arms and faces causing itchy and pus-filled pimples which may take the chronic form if not treated on time or not treated well.
Several types of Deep Folliculitis are:-
- Sycosis Barbae: this may occur to the people who have just started shaving
- Gram-negative folliculitis: This occurs when you are availing long-term antibiotic therapy to cure acne.
- Boils (furuncles) and carbuncles: This may raise when staph bacteria deeply affect the skin or scalp causing the painful and pink bump like a boil cluster. A carbuncle is a cluster of boils.
- Eosinophilic (e-o-sin-o-FILL-ik) folliculitis: The exact cause of this type of disease is unknown, although it majorly affects the people having HIV/AIDS. People may have intense itching or reoccurring patches of bumps and pimples that may affect the face and upper body. Once healed, the affected area may become darker than previously.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Folliculitis?
Recognising the Folliculitis is comparatively easy with regularly keeping an eye on the signs and symptoms which are given below:-
- White-headed Pus-filled pimples
- Small red bumps on hair follicles
- Pus-filled blisters or sores which break open and crust over
- Itching and burning skin
- Redness and rashes
- Painful scalp or skin
- Large swollen mass or bump
- Infected and inflamed skin
- Mild Fever
Once you feel the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, it is better to consult with the doctors to have anti-biotic or anti-fungal medicines as the main cause of the Folliculitis is bacteria or inflammation.
What are the Causes/ Risk factors of Folliculitis?
Folliculitis can affect any of the human beings on this earth. The main reason is infection or bacteria which can be found anywhere. Here we will describe the various causes and risk factors pertaining to Folliculitis:-
- Soaking and having a bath in the un-maintained hot bathtub
- Long medications or antibiotics to cure acne
- Shaving curly hairs deeply
- Having the chronic skin disorders such as acne or dermatitis
- Chronic medical conditions such as Diabetes, AIDS, and Leukemia may have the resistance to infection
- Wearing clothes trapping sweat and heat such as high boots and rubber gloves
- Damage to Hair Follicles due to tight clothes, shaving, and waxing etc.
- Certain Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (staph),
- Other causes such as fungi, viruses, inflammation from ingrown hairs
- Physical Trauma
- Injuries to the skin such as cut, insect bites, wound etc through which bacteria may enter into the body.
- Tight hair braids
- Skin-clogging substances, such as tar and motor oil
- Covering the body and scalp with the non-berating products such as plastic tape etc.
- Overweight and obesity
Folliculitis affects the follicle only so it can spread all across body instead of Palms, soles, mucous membrane, and lips.
How is Folliculitis Diagnosed?
To diagnose the folliculitis, your doctor may ask few questions related to your lifestyle and your medical history. The most commonly used diagnostics methods are:-
- Clinical Examination Or physical Examination
- Medical History related to skin and scalp
- Dermoscopy or Microscopic Examination
- Skin Biopsy in which Doctor may take a sample of infected skin or hair and may send the sample to the laboratory to check for the infections and cause thereof.
- Family history can also be asked to check for the best possible symptoms.
What are the Treatments for Folliculitis?
Finding the right solutions is always prerequisite which can be done by interacting with the expert dermatologist or hair experts in India. There are various treatments available although their right treatment will vary person to person depending on the exact causes and severity of the diseases. Here we are detailing the various treatments to cure the folliculitis:-
Medicinal Treatments for folliculitis:-
To cure the folliculitis, it is always necessary to end up the exact cause which can be initially stopped with using right kind of medicine in any way I.e., oral, cream or injections. There are some pills or creams are available which can be used to control the infection or inflammation. For a mild infection, gels, anti-biotics creams, lotions can be applied recommended by the doctor. Oral Anti-biotics will not be prescribed for mild folliculitis, but in case of severe folliculitis, oral medicine can be prescribed to control the infection.
Apart from this anti-fungal creams and shampoos can be used to treat the fungi and Yeast.
Pills or creams can decrease the inflammation. if you are suffering from the mild eosinophilic folliculitis, the doctor may offer you some cream to reduce itching. Patients with HIV/ AIDS may choose for the antiretroviral therapy.
Surgical Treatments for folliculitis:
- Minor Surgery: In case of large boil type carbuncle filled with white pus, the doctor recommends you to drain the pus with using small incision. The minor surgery will relive the area with the pain and lessen scarring. After his, a doctor may sterile the gaze to prevent the further drain of pus. This is also called Lancing.
- Laser Hair Removal: If Hair follicles are more tend to infection, it needs to be clear up with laser therapy. A long-term laser hair removal procedure will be done to remove the hair follicles causing inflammation. This is the most expensive methods and may cause other side-effects such as scarring, discolored skin and blistering.
- Light therapy, or Photodynamic Therapy: It helps to remove the signs and symptoms of deep folliculitis. It is also used to treat the acne and to kill the bacteria, fungi, and viruses with using chemical substances.
Preventive Treatments for folliculitis:
Prevention is better than cure so better to use the preventive measurements which are given below:-
- Avoid wearing tight & Non-Breathing clothes
- Avoid shaving too much or have gently shaved using quality lubricants. Apply moisturizer after every shave.
- Use anti-bacterial cream and soap to wash the skin
- Use warm water before shaving
- Use warm water or warm compress to avoid itching
- Avoid using shared, wet or uncleaned towels. use dry and Clea towels only
- Use well- maintained pools and bathtubs only
- Dry Out Your rubber gloves after each uses. Keep your gloves clean with soap and water and dry thoroughly
- Use hair removal products to protect your skin from the hair follicles damage.
- Once you have the complaints of bacterial infection, please consult with the doctor immediately.
Home Remedies for folliculitis:
The mild type of Folliculitis is usually improved with the home care. Given procedures will help the people to get relief from the pain, discomfort, infection, and itching:-
- Apply over the counter antibiotics, infection-fighting gels, washes and creams as prescribed by the doctor or nearest dermatologist.
- Apply moist, warm washcloths to the affected skin several times a day as it will help the area drain and relieve discomfort if required. warm Compresses can be used for atlas 20 minutes on the skin. if the problem of itching persists, the process can be repeated.
- Apply soothing lotions and hydrocortisone cream to cure itching
- Clean the affected skin by gently washing the same with the antibacterial soap twice a day. Following hygiene rules will help to reduce the infection. Always keep your hands clean.
- Use the clean towel every time while cleaning the hairs and body. Always wash your towel once used to avoid the risk of transmitting the infection.
- Stop shaving curly hair as it may lead to stopping itching as well. One may use lubricants to have a soothing shave.
- Soaking in the warm bathtub will help to reduce the itching and painful sensation associated with the folliculitis. Adding oatmeal based products will work as anti-inflammatory properties. One can use baking soda in the water to ease the folliculitis symptoms. Make sure to use the well-maintained bathtub. Dry the whole skin after bathing.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes and non-breathing cloths which may rub the skin and may damage the hair follicles.
Right treatment will offer right result to cure the Folliculitis at any stage.