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Folliculitis

What is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is inflammation of one or more hair follicles. It may occur anywhere on the skin. Severe cases of folliculitis may cause permanent hair loss and scarring.

Folliculitis is also called pseudofolliculitis barbae, tinea barbae, and barber's itch.

What Causes Folliculitis?

Folliculitis starts when hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing, blockage of the follicle, or shaving. Other ways hair follicles can be damaged are:

  • Excess perspiration
  • Dermatitis
  • Acne
  • Use of plastic dressings or adhesive tape
  • Exposure to coal tar, pitch or creosote

In some cases of folliculitis, the damaged hair follicles become infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus.

Symptoms of Folliculitis

The most common symptoms of folliculitis are:

  • Rash
  • Reddened skin area
  • Pimples or pustules located around a hair follicle
  • Itchy skin

Types of Folliculitis

There are a different types of folliculitis. The most common types are: barber's itch, tinea barbae, and pseudofolliculitis. Specific types of folliculitis are characterized by the area of the body that is affected.

Barber's itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the bearded area of the face, usually the upper lip. Shaving aggravates the condition.

Tinea barbae is similar to barber's itch. The main difference is that the infection is caused by a fungus.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a condition that occurs when short curly beard hairs curve back into the skin and cause inflammation.

Can Folliculitis be Prevented?

Yes. Some prevention techniques are listed below.

  • Minimize friction from clothing.
  • Avoid shaving the area if possible.
  • Avoid reinfection from contaminated clothing and washcloths. Hot moist compresses may promote drainage of extensive folliculitis. Topical antibiotics (Bactroban), oral antibiotics (e.g., dicloxacillin), or antifungal medications may be needed to control the infection.

Can Folliculitis be Treated?

Yes. Folliculitis usually responds well to treatment, but may recur

Hot moist compresses may promote drainage of extensive folliculitis. Your doctor may also prescribe topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics, and/or antifungal medications.

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