What is Folliculitis?




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What is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is a common skin condition in which hair follicles become inflamed. Folliculitis can occur on your skin wherever hair grows, including your scalp. Folliculitis affects people of all ages, from babies to seniors. It is often seen in otherwise healthy people. People who are obese are more likely to experience it.

It is linked to:

  • ingrown hairs
  • tight hair braids
  • shaving
  • clothing that rubs the skin
  • tight clothing
  • skin-clogging substances, such as tar and motor oil
  • skin conditions, such as acne or dermatitis
  • overweight or obesity
  • an infected cut or wound
  • injuries to the skin
  • products that irritate the follicle
  • weakened immune system

What Types of Folliculitis Are There?

There are many types of folliculitis. All are associated with inflammation, infection or irritation of the hair follicles. Folliculitis can be superficial or deep.  Deep folliculitis affects more hair follicles and has more severe symptoms.

Bacterial folliculitis
Pseudomonas (Hot Tub) folliculitis Hot tub folliculitis is caused by a type of bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which thrives in warm, moist areas. It's most common in hot tubs and warm pools that aren't treated regularly or thoroughly. These bacteria can cause an infection in the hair follicles of the skin.
Pityrosporum folliculitis (Yeast Infection) Pityrosporum folliculitis is caused by an overgrowth and infection of the hair follicle by the yeast Malassezia on your skin. This naturally occurring yeast gets into hair follicles on your skin and causes breakouts to occur on your skin's surface.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae (Barbers Itch) Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a disorder that occurs mainly in African American men. Barber's itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the beard area, usually the upper lip. Shaving makes it worse. Tinea barbae is similar to barber's itch, but the infection is caused by a fungus.
Sycosis barbae Folliculitis barbae is a type of folliculitis affecting the beard area due to infection with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. It occurs in both men who shave and do not shave. Deep-seated folliculitis barbae is called sycosis barbae and leads to scarring and areas of permanent hair loss.
Boils A boil is a skin infection that starts in a hair follicle or oil gland. In the beginning the skin turns red in the area of the infection, and a tender lump develops. After 4 to 7 days, the lump starts turning white as pus collects under the skin.
Gram-negative folliculitis Gram-negative folliculitis is an infection caused by gram-negative organisms. The infection may occur as a complication in patients with acne vulgaris and rosacea and usually develops in patients who have received systemic antibiotics for prolonged periods. It has a pustular rash resembling acne and is often mistaken as a worsening of acne. It usually occurs in patients with existing acne.
Eosinophilic folliculitis Eosinophilic pustular folliculitis (EPF) is a skin disorder characterized by recurring itchy, red or skin-colored bumps and pustules (bumps containing pus). The condition is named after the fact that skin biopsies of this disorder find eosinophils (a type of immune cell ) around hair follicles.

What are the Symptoms of Folliculitis?

Folliculitis appears as pinpoint red bumps, each one involving a hair follicle, occasionally with a small dot of pus at the top. These red bumps are commonly seen on the face, scalp, back, chest, buttocks, and legs, anywhere where there are hair follicles.

Folliculitis Symptoms:

  • inflamed skin
  • red skin
  • small red bumps
  • pus-filled sores
  • crusty sores
  • white-headed pimples
  • itching
  • swelling
  • burning
  • pain
  • tenderness
  • mild fever

How to Prevent Folliculitis?

How to Treat Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is easily curable in most cases, and frequently clears on its own without treatment although it may require ongoing maintenance.  Antibacterial over-the-counter medications containing benzoyl peroxide are often used to treat folliculitis, but resistant cases may need antibiotic pills to clear the skin. Good skin hygiene and proper shaving techniques have been shown to prevent folliculitis.  For more severe cases, antibiotic pills, antifungal pills, or corticosteroids may be used.

Ongoing Maintenance to help Prevent Folliculitis

  • Use topical treatments containing salicylic acid and sulfur.
  • Frequent washing with antidandruff shampoos that contain antifungal agents such as ketoconazole.
  • Exercise often to reduce stress.
  • Reduce foods that may aggravate the condition, such as fried, fatty foods.
  • Don’t scratch the bumps.
  • Don’t share towels, face cloths, and other personal items.
  • Avoid shaving the bumps, change the blades often.
  • After using public hot tubs and spas, take a shower with soap.
  • Avoid using oils on your skin. Oils can trap bacteria and cause inflammation of the hair follicles.
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With the numerous available treatments for hair and scalp conditions our Trichologist can recommend the best treatment that can help. At the Trichology Centre, we have helped patients with all types of hair and scalp conditions, advising them the best treatments available and helping them regain their confidence and self-esteem. Early assessment and treatment from the onset of the hair and scalp condition is important and can help prevent the condition to worsen.

We have two clinics in the Toronto GTA,

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225 Wellesley St E, Toronto
9140 Leslie St, Richmond Hill.
Please give us a call at 647-492-9093


Toronto, 225 Wellesley St East #5

Richmond Hill, 9140 Leslie St #301


(647) 492-9093




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