The Top 3 Most Common Types Of Folliculitis And How To Treat It
Folliculitis is a condition whereby one or more hair follicles get inflamed in a limited area. It can affect anyone at any age, although it is more common in adults than in children. It causes small, painful spots to form on hair follicles. It mostly occurs in areas whereby there has been irritation on the skin through shaving, rubbing from clothes or skin friction.
Folliculitis mostly develops on the scalp, buttocks, thighs, the face (beard area in men) and the underarms, groin, and legs (mostly in women). Folliculitis affects the upper layer of the hair follicle most of the times, but if the infection goes deeper, it can result in boils or a skin infection known as cellulitis. Mild cases of folliculitis clear very quickly when treated and no scars are left. Severe folliculitis, however, can result in scarring and permanent hair loss, if the hair follicle is damaged. This, however, is a rare occurrence. Moderate cases of folliculitis are mostly tender and itchy, while more serious cases, which affect the entire hair follicle may be painful.
Three types of folliculitis:
- Bacterial Folliculitis
Folliculitis is mainly caused by bacterial infection (the Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa), friction from wearing tight clothing, irritation from shaving, injuries to the skin and presence of a pre-existing skin condition, such as eczema, dermatitis or acne. Folliculitis can also be caused by frequent shaving, obesity, prolonged pressure on the skin (for example sitting for too long), diabetes and having a suppressed immune system due to cancer, organ transplantation or HIV.
- Sycosis barbae
This is long-term folliculitis seen in the beard area and upper lip of men caused by frequent shaving. The skin becomes crusty and shaving becomes difficult.
- Gram-negative folliculitis
It causes many pustules on the face. It is most common in people with acne, who have been treated with long-term antibiotics.
There are other types of folliculitis. They include:
- Folliculitis decalvans- This is a rare chronic condition of the scalp. It may cause long-term inflammation and scarring.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
To reduce the risk of getting folliculitis, it is advisable to maintain a good hygiene routine. Additionally, for those who shave, it is advisable to shave in the same direction of hair growth, and to use an electric razor when possible, or a new disposable razor every time you shave. It is also advisable to avoid shaving irritated skin to prevent injury. You should also avoid wearing tight constrictive clothing when you are heavily perspiring, and to clean items of clothing after every use. It is also advisable to use other methods of hair removal in place of shaving if the folliculitis is recurrent.
Folliculitis can be treated through antibiotics. Since it is often caused by bacteria, the patient is required to take antibiotics, such as erythromycin or flucloxacillin, but only if the condition is severe. For mild folliculitis, it is recommended to clean the affected area every day with an antiseptic product or to apply an antibiotic cream. Fungal folliculitis can be treated via antifungal therapy, while antiviral therapy is recommended for folliculitis caused by a viral infection.