What is folliculitis?
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.
What causes folliculitis?
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:
- Use a hot tub, whirlpool, or swimming pool that is not properly treated with chlorine.
- Wear tight clothes.
- Use or work with substances that can irritate or block the follicles. Examples include makeup, cocoa butter, motor oil, tar, and creosote.
- Have an infected cut, scrape, or surgical wound. The bacteria or fungi can spread to nearby hair follicles.
- Have a disease such as diabetes or HIV that lowers your ability to fight infection.
What are the symptoms?
Folliculitis usually looks like red pimples with a hair in the center 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.
- Folliculitis is a very common, benign skin disorder that appears as pinpoint red bumps, each one involving a hair follicle, occasionally with a small dot of pus at the top.
- Folliculitis affects people of all ages, from babies to seniors.
- The numerous smooth little tender red bumps involve the hair follicles commonly on the face, scalp, chest, back, buttocks, and legs.
- Folliculitis is often seen in otherwise healthy people; it’s easily curable in most cases, and frequently clears on its own without treatment although it may require ongoing maintenance therapy.