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Folliculitis (say "fuh-LIK-yuh-LY-tus") is an inflammation of the pouches (follicles) in the skin where hair grows. It can occur on any part of the body, but it is most common on the scalp, face, armpits, and groin. Bacteria, such as those found in a hot tub, can cause folliculitis. But folliculitis can also be caused by other organisms, such as fungi or parasites.
Folliculitis begins as a red, tender area near a strand of hair. The skin can itch or burn and may drain pus or blood. Sometimes folliculitis can lead to more serious skin infections.
Your doctor usually can treat mild folliculitis with an antibiotic cream or ointment. If you have folliculitis on your scalp, you may use a medicated shampoo. Antibiotics you take as pills can treat infections deeper in the skin. Other treatments that may be used include antifungal and antiparasitic medicines.
Folliculitis may be caused by ingrown hairs from shaving. One solution is to stop shaving. If that isn't an option, using an electric razor that doesn't shave so close may help. Laser treatment may also be an option. Laser treatment destroys the hair follicle so hair will no longer grow in the treated area.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 3, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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