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Folliculitis: Infected Hair Follicles

Folliculitis: Infected Hair Follicles
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infected hair follicle

Folliculitis is the medical term for an infected hair follicle. Commonly referred to as “razor burn,” these infected hair follicles appear as small red, white, or yellow bumps on the skin. They are most often caused by damage to the follicle, but can also occur with certain infections. Folliculitis is incredibly common, with millions of people affected by it every year in the U.S. alone.

What Causes Folliculitis?

  • Staph infection
  • Yeast infection
  • Skin irritation
    • Shaving
    • Waxing
    • Friction from clothing
  • Insect bites
  • Certain viruses
    • Herpes
  • Impaired immune system
  • Blocked pores
  • Demodex mites
  • Certain acne treatments

Types of Folliculitis

Hot Tub Folliculitis

Hot tub folliculitis is the result of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, most often found in hot tubs that are not cleaned properly.

Malassezia Folliculitis

Malassezia folliculitis is caused by yeast.

Gram-Negative Folliculitis

Gram-Negative folliculitis is caused by prolonged antibiotic treatment for acne.

Sycosis Vulgaris Folliculitis

Sycosis Vulgaris is also known as”Barber’s Itch” because it occurs in the neck and beard area after shaving.

Herpetic Folliculitis

Herpetic folliculitis is the result of the herpes virus infecting the hair follicles, typically around the mouth.

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae is a type of folliculitis where the hair grows backwards into the skin and causes inflammation.

Eosinophilic Folliculitis

Eosinophilic folliculitis occurs when the immune system is impaired.


Folliculitis Symptoms

  • White-headed pimples
  • Itching
  • Pus-filled sores
  • Burning
  • Tender skin
  • Crusty sores
  • Red skin
  • Inflamed skin

Diagnosing Folliculitis

Folliculitis can be diagnosed by your primary care physician. If the problem is severe, they may refer you to a dermatologist to determine the underlying cause.

Treating Folliculitis

How you treat folliculitis depends on the underlying cause. Cases that are caused by skin irritation typically resolve quickly with the use of a topical antiseptic. Oral antibiotics and topical antifungals are the most common treatment for folliculitis caused by an infection.

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