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Folliculitis, the inflammation of one or more hair follicles, is a condition that might occur anywhere on the skin. The condition generally appears as small, white-headed pimples around one or more hair follicles. These are tiny pockets from which each hair grows. Most folliculitis infections are superficial. Even though they tend to itch, they are rarely painful. Superficial folliculitis often clears by itself within a few days. However, deep or recurring folliculitis could call for medical treatment.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors of Folliculitis

The signs and symptoms of folliculitis vary. This depends on the type of infection. In superficial folliculitis, small pimples build up around one or more hair follicles. The condition comes about as a result of hair follicles getting damaged as a result of friction from clothing, obstruction f follicles, or shaving. In most of the cases, damaged follicles then get infected with bacteria called Staphylococcus.

Barber's itch is another staph infection of hair follicles in the beard, generally the upper lip. Shaving worsens the condition. If curly beard hairs are cut too close, they just might curve back into the skin and result in inflammation.

The most common causes of hair follicle damage include:

  1. Too much sweat that could block the follicles
  2. Contact with coal tar, pitch or creosote. This is common among roofers, mechanics and oil workers
  3. Abrasion due shaving or tight clothing
  4. Inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis and acne
  5. Injuries to the skin like friction or surgical wounds
  6. Blockage by plastic dressings or adhesive tape

Symptoms of Folliculitis

The common symptoms of folliculitis include rash, itching, and pimples or pustules near a hair follicle in the neck, groin, or genital area. Sometimes, the pimples might crust over.

Treatment of Folliculitis

Hot moist compresses can promote drainage of widespread folliculitis. Treatment to control the infection also includes oral antibiotics or those applied to the skin, or antifungal medications. Normally, folliculitis responds well to treatment. Then again, new ones may occur.

Complications of Folliculitis

  1. Folliculitis can return
  2. Folliculitis infection can spread to other parts of the body

Prevention of Folliculitis

To prevent folliculitis:

  1. Decrease friction from clothing.
  2. As far as possible avoid shaving the area. If shaving is mandatory, use a clean new razor blade or an electric razor each time).
  3. Always keep the infected area clean.
  4. Keep away from contaminated clothing and washcloths.