Learn About Folliculitis

What is the definition of Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is inflammation of one or more hair follicles. It can occur anywhere on the skin.

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What are the alternative names for Folliculitis?

Pseudofolliculitis barbae; Tinea barbae; Barber's itch

What are the causes of Folliculitis?

Folliculitis starts when hair follicles are damaged or when the follicle is blocked. For example, this may occur from rubbing against clothing or shaving. Most of the time, the damaged follicles become infected with staphylococci (staph) bacteria.

Barber's itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the beard area, usually the upper lip. Shaving makes it worse. Tinea barbae is similar to barber's itch, but the infection is caused by a fungus.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a disorder that occurs mainly in African American men. If curly beard hairs are cut too short, they may curve back into the skin and cause inflammation.

Folliculitis can affect people of all ages.

What are the symptoms of Folliculitis?

Common symptoms include a rash, itching, and pimples or pustules near a hair follicle in the neck, groin, or genital area. The pimples may crust over.

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What are the current treatments for Folliculitis?

Hot, moist compresses may help drain the affected follicles.

Treatment may include antibiotics applied to the skin or taken by mouth, or an antifungal medicine.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Folliculitis?

Folliculitis often responds well to treatment, but it may come back.

What are the possible complications of Folliculitis?

Folliculitis may return or spread to other body areas.

When should I contact a medical professional for Folliculitis?

Apply home treatment and call your provider if your symptoms:

  • Come back often
  • Get worse
  • Last longer than 2 or 3 days
How do I prevent Folliculitis?

To prevent further damage to the hair follicles and infection:

  • Reduce friction from clothing.
  • Avoid shaving the area, if possible. If shaving is necessary, use a clean, new razor blade or an electric razor each time.
  • Keep the area clean.
  • Avoid contaminated clothing and washcloths.
Folliculitis - decalvans on the scalp
Folliculitis on the leg
What are the latest Folliculitis Clinical Trials?
Efficacy and Safety of Duobrii in the Management of Acne Keloidalis Nuchae (AKN)

Summary: Acne keloidalis nuchae (AKN) is one of the chronic forms of scarring folliculitis, affecting predominantly the occipital scalp, seen mostly in men of African descent. Duobrii has the advantage of being the only high potency topical steroid-retinoid combination approved by the FDA with dermatologic indication. Researchers are proposing the off-labeled use of Duobrii for the management of early-mild...

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Effect of Cold Atmospheric Plasma on Malassezia Folliculitis: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Summary: The cold atmospheric plasma may provide a new and effective method for the treatment of Malassezia folliculitis. The investigators conduct this randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of cold atmospheric plasma on Malassezia folliculitis. Participants entered this double-blind placebo-controlled trial will randomly assign to treatment with either cold atmospheric plasm...

What are the Latest Advances for Folliculitis?
Aseptic Pustulosis of the Folds Successfully Treated with Methotrexate.
Ulcerative colitis complicated by pyoderma gangrenosum and multiple aseptic abscesses.
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Tapinarof for the treatment of psoriasis.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: October 10, 2020
Published By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Dinulos JGH. Bacterial infections. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide in Diagnosis and Therapy. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 9.

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Bacterial infections. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach, MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 14.

James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach MA, Neuhaus IM. Diseases of the skin appendages. In: James WD, Elston DM, Treat JR, Rosenbach, MA, Neuhaus IM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 33.