What should I know about folliculitis?

Folliculitis is inflammation of the superficial skin of one or several hair follicles. The condition is triggered by damage to the follicles from shaving, clogged follicle or friction by clothing.

The hair follicles in the groin, neck or genital area are prone to inflammation. The damaged follicle ends up infected with staphylococcal bacteria if infection is present. Remember that hot tubs that are contaminated are other usual sources of the infectious type of folliculitis.

Folliculitis can also develop if curly facial hair is shaved too short and irritates the skin. This is another form that is brought about by a section of hair shaft that is pressed or grows back into the skin.


The indications of folliculitis include an itchy skin rash with pustules or pimples that form close to a hair follicle.

Indications of folliculitis

The indications of folliculitis include an itchy skin rash with pustules or pimples that form close to a hair follicle. They frequently form in the groin, neck or genital region. In some instances, the pimples might form a crust.

An individual might experience the symptoms occasionally after a minor injury but expected to resolve within 2-3 days. The usual symptoms include:

  • Reddened bumps around a follicle
  • Itchy or tender skin at the hair follicle
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Blisters filled with fluid with crusting

What are the causes?

Folliculitis can be brought about by damage to the hair follicles due to the clothing used such as rough fabrics, helmet straps or other objects that rub against the hair or beard. The condition can also form if a follicle is blocked or due to shaving.

It is important to note that shaving can trigger 2 different forms of folliculitis – staph infection usually in the beard region or inflammation due to a curved short hair that has grown back into the skin.

Other causes include the following:

  • Adverse reaction to long-term antibiotic therapy for acne
  • Herpes infection
  • Hot water from a heating swimming pool or hot tubs
  • Fungal infection


For minor cases of folliculitis, they eventually settle within 2-3 days. If it becomes persistent or infection sets in, medications specific to the infection might be given. The full course of treatment for any infection should be completed to prevent the infection from recurring or becoming worse.


Some of the treatment options for severe or infectious folliculitis include topical or oral antibiotics, antifungal agents, oral antihistamines, antiviral medications or topical corticosteroids. The treatment that will be used is based on the type and severity of the condition and usually includes:

  • Antibiotics such as tetracycline, erythromycin or dicloxacillin
  • Antiviral medications such as acyclovir
  • Antifungal medications such as terbinafine
  • Topical corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone and betamethasone
  • Antihistamines for itchiness such as diphenhydramine and loratadine


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