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Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles. Each hair on your body grows out of a tiny pouch called a follicle. You can have folliculitis on any part of your body that has hair. But it is most common on the beard area, arms, back, buttocks, and legs.
It may be caused by bacteria. It also can be caused by yeast or another type of fungus.
You may get folliculitis if you have damaged hair follicles. Shaving or wearing clothes that rub the skin can irritate the follicles, which can lead to folliculitis. They also can become blocked or irritated by sweat, machine oils, or makeup. When the follicles are injured, they are more likely to become infected.
You are more likely to get folliculitis if you:
Folliculitis usually looks like red pimples with a hair in the centre of each one. The pimples may have pus in them, and they may itch or burn. When the pimples break open, they may drain pus, blood, or both.
"Hot tub folliculitis" most often appears about 72 hours after you've been in a hot tub or spa. Many small pimples appear on your stomach and sometimes on your arms and legs. You might have a mild fever and have an upset stomach. Most of the time, this kind of folliculitis goes away on its own in 7 to 10 days.
Your doctor will check your skin and ask about your health and activities. He or she may do tests to find out what is causing your folliculitis and to make sure you don't have a different problem, such as impetigo or heat rash. Testing a sample of the fluid in the pimples or a sample of tissue can help your doctor learn what is causing the infection.
Mild folliculitis usually heals on its own in about 2 weeks. You can take care of yourself at home with:
If the inflammation gets worse or doesn't go away, you may need to see your doctor. He or she may prescribe medicine, such as an antibiotic.
Call your doctor if you have folliculitis and:
If the inflammation doesn't go away or keeps coming back, laser hair removal may be an option. Laser treatment destroys the hair follicles, so they can't get inflamed.
There are many things you can do to prevent folliculitis or keep it from spreading.
Current as of: July 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineBrian D. O'Brien MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineAmy McMichael MD - Dermatology
Current as of: July 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Amy McMichael MD - Dermatology
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