Condition 101 About Folliculitis

What is the definition of Folliculitis?

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

What are the alternative names for Folliculitis?

Pseudofolliculitis barbae; Tinea barbae; Barber's itch

What are the causes for 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 for 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.

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.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Folliculitis?

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

What are the possible complications for 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.


Chen CM, Phelps RG. Folliculitis. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson IH, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier, 2018:chap 85.

Hsiao JL, Leslie KS, McMichael AJ, Curtis AR, Guzman-Sanchez D. Folliculitis and other follicular disorders. In: Bolognia JL, Schaffer JV, Cerroni L, eds. Dermatology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 38.

Top Global Doctors For Folliculitis

Murat Durdu
Adana, TR
Enzo Errichetti
Udine, IT
Uwe Wollina
Uwe Wollina
Dresden, SN, DE
Takashi Nomura
Kyoto, JP

Latest Advances On Folliculitis

  • Condition: Itchy, Acneiform Exanthema on the Trunk and Malaise
  • Journal: Praxis
  • Treatment Used: External Disinfectants
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This case report describes a patient that acquired a pseudomonas aeruginosa from their use of their whirlpool that led to itchy, acneiform exanthema on the trunk and malaise.
  • Condition: Extensive Perianal Hidradenitis
  • Journal: Rozhledy v chirurgii : mesicnik Ceskoslovenske chirurgicke spolecnosti
  • Treatment Used: Surgery
  • Number of Patients: 3
  • Published —
This article discusses the surgical treatment of extensive perianal hidradenitis (chronic infection of apocrine glands with pus and fistula).

Clinical Trials For Folliculitis

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Intervention Type: Other
  • Participants: 100
  • Start Date: March 2, 2020
A Non-Interventional Pilot Study to Explore the Role of Gut Flora in Acne
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Phase: Phase 2
  • Intervention Type: Other, Drug
  • Participants: 100
  • Start Date: August 3, 2016
Double-blind, Phase II Study to Assess the Effectiveness of Lycopene vs Placebo to Reduce Skin Toxicity in Patients With Colorectal Carcinoma Treated With Panitumumab