ID: 238
Category: Skin Condition
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 14 Jul 2017
updatedon: 21 Jun 2023

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Author: Khoa Tran
Published Jul 14, 2017
Updated Jun 21, 2023

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Etymology and Pronunciation

folliculitis (fuh-lik-yoo-LAHY-tis)
folliculus - Latin for "small bag" or "sack"
-olus - Latin for "small"
-itis - Greek for "inflammation"

Named due to the blisters around hair follicles.

History of Folliculitis

In 1687, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch scientist, invented the first microscope. It took several hundred years after the invention of the microscope that doctors were able to observe the bacteria and fungi that cause the inflammation associated with folliculitis.

Today, we use bacteria "gram stain" testing to confirm identify bacteria present with folliculitis. Blood testing can help underlying conditions that may contribute to folliculitis, such as diabetes or an infection.detect

Modern Understanding of Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a common skin condition in which an infection or irritation occurs in one or more hair follicles. Hair follicles are tiny sacs of skin that grow hair. Folliculitis can look like red, raised bumps or pimples and may be accompanied by itching, pain or tenderness.

In most cases, folliculitis clears up on its own in a few days or weeks without any treatment. However, some cases may require medication, such as antibiotics or antifungal creams.

Certain habits can contribute to the development or recurrence of folliculitis, such as using hot tubs or wearing tight clothing. It is important to avoid sharing personal hygiene items, such as razors or towels, with others to reduce the risk of developing folliculitis and other skin infections.

In some cases, folliculitis can cause scarring or hair loss if left untreated or if it occurs repeatedly. If you suspect you have folliculitis or have recurring symptoms, consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Causes of Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become inflamed. There are several common causes of folliculitis, including:

- Bacterial infections: This is the most common cause of folliculitis. Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria that is usually responsible for this type of infection.
- Fungal infections: Yeast and other fungi sometimes infect hair follicles.
- Viral infections: Some viruses, such as the herpes simplex virus, can cause folliculitis.
- Ingrown hairs: When hairs grow back into the skin or curl and grow sideways, they can cause irritation and folliculitis.
- Shaving or wearing tight clothing: Shaving or wearing tight clothing that rubs against the skin can irritate hair follicles and cause folliculitis.
- Sweat: Sweating can cause bacteria to build up on the skin and lead to folliculitis.
- Exposure to chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals, such as oil, tar, and creosote, can cause folliculitis.

It is important to note that anyone can get folliculitis, and it is not usually a serious condition. However, if you have recurring or severe folliculitis, you should see a doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions.

Treatments for Folliculitis

The first step in treating folliculitis is to maintain good hygiene. Keeping the affected area clean and dry can prevent the infection from spreading. When washing the affected area, use a mild soap and avoid using harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin.

Applying warm compresses to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and ease the symptoms of folliculitis. This can be done by soaking a clean cloth in warm water and applying it to the affected area for about 15-20 minutes, a few times a day.

If folliculitis persists or becomes more severe, over-the-counter antibiotic creams or ointments can be used to treat the infection. These creams contain ingredients that can help kill the bacteria causing the infection and relieve symptoms like itchiness and soreness.

In more severe cases of folliculitis, oral antibiotics may be prescribed by a doctor. These medications can help clear up the infection and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body.

In addition to these treatments, avoiding tight-fitting clothing and shaving can also help prevent further irritation to the affected area. With proper treatment and care, most cases of folliculitis can be effectively treated and managed.

Lifestyle Changes

- Practice good hygiene: Maintain proper hygiene by showering regularly and using mild, non-irritating cleansers. Avoid using harsh soaps or excessive scrubbing, as they can worsen inflammation.
- Keep the affected areas clean and dry: After bathing or any activity that causes sweating, gently pat dry the affected areas. Moisture can contribute to bacterial growth, so keeping the skin dry is important.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing: Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing made of natural fibers like cotton. Tight clothing can trap moisture and heat, creating an environment favorable for bacterial growth.
- Avoid shaving or waxing: If possible, refrain from shaving or waxing the affected areas until the condition improves. These hair removal methods can further irritate the follicles and exacerbate symptoms.
- Practice proper wound care: If you have any cuts, scrapes, or insect bites, make sure to clean and treat them promptly to prevent infection. Use clean bandages to cover wounds until they heal.
- Avoid sharing personal items: To prevent the spread of bacteria, avoid sharing personal items such as towels, razors, or clothing with others.
- Maintain a healthy immune system: A strong immune system can help prevent infections and aid in the healing process. Follow a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and manage stress effectively to support overall immune health.
- Be mindful of hot tubs and swimming pools: Public swimming pools and hot tubs may contain bacteria that can contribute to folliculitis. Avoid using these facilities if you have an active infection or consider showering immediately after use.
- Consider topical treatments: In consultation with a healthcare professional, you may explore over-the-counter or prescription topical treatments that can help reduce inflammation and control bacterial growth.

It's important to note that these lifestyle changes may provide relief for mild cases of folliculitis. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


Pus-filled blisters or crusts that break open and scab over
Excessive itching that can worsen the condition
Swelling in the infected wound
Hair loss in the affected area (if the condition is severe)
Itchy blisters
Yellow blisters on skin
Painful small inflamed bumps on your arms, face, neck or back

Confirmation Tests

- Skin biopsy
- Blood test
- Gram stain

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