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What Is Folliculitis?

Thursday, 09 Jun 2011 05:07 PM

Folliculitis is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become infected with bacteria and can appear on any part of the body where hair is present. The condition usually presents with white-headed pimples on or around the opening where hair grows, and the bumps may be itchy, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful.

Individuals may experience two forms of folliculitis, superficial or deep, which are described below:

Superficial Folliculitis:
Staphylococcal folliculitis: This is a common type of folliculitis that occurs when hair follicles become blocked by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. These bacteria can always be found on the skin but entrance into the skin through a scratch or wound may lead to folliculitis. Shaving is also a common way through which these bacteria can enter the hair follicle. Men who experience this infection in the beard area are said to have “barber’s itch.” Staphylococcal folliculitis is characterized by pus-filled bumps that may be itchy or swollen.
Pseudomonas folliculitis: Also known as “hot tub folliculitis,” this condition occurs when the pseudomonas bacteria clog the hair follicle. This bacteria type exists in many environments, especially in hot tubs where the chlorine and pH levels are not well regulated. Folliculitis contracted in such an atmosphere presents with red, itchy bumps that may become pus-filled. Bumps are most likely to appear in areas where water is held against the skin by a swimsuit.
Tinea Barbae: This type of folliculitis, caused by a fungus rather than bacteria, is most commonly found around a man’s beard area. Itchy bumps containing pus appear on the skin in most cases, but severe forms of this infection consist of bumps that may form a crust on this skin accompanied by fever and swollen lymph nodes.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae: Also found most commonly on the face of men, this type of folliculitis occurs due to inflammation of the hair follicle caused by shaved hairs that have curved back into the skin. The affected area can become red, itchy, or swollen, and dark raised scars known as keloid scars may appear.
Pityrosporum folliculitis: This condition occurs most frequently in teens and adult men and is caused by a yeast-like fungus that leaves red, itchy pustules on the back, chest, neck, or face. Pustules may also appear on the shoulders or upper arms.
Herpetic folliculitis: Spreading of the herpes infection to other hair follicles leads to this classification of folliculitis. Shaving through a cold sore may transfer the virus to other areas.
Scalp folliculitis: Folliculitis in the scalp can be caused by excessive sweating or oil, improper hair care, maintenance, or by some hair products. This type of infection may lead to hair loss in some cases, and shampoo containing salicylic acid should be used to treat the condition.
Folliculitis decalvans: This form of folliculitis involving tufted hair follicles occurs mostly in men. The infection begins at a central point on the scalp and spreads outwards, sometimes causing sores, pustules, and scarring. Irreversible hair loss may result from this inflammatory infection.

Deep Folliculitis:
Gram-negative folliculitis: Long-term acne treatment with antibiotics may lead to this infection. Antibiotics cause an imbalance in the growth of bacteria in the nose which leads to a surplus of the harmful gram-negative bacteria. Generally, bacteria levels return to normal over time, however in some cases gram-negative bacteria spread and give rise to new acne lesions.
Boils: Boils arise when the hair follicle is deeply infected with staph bacteria. Individuals may first notice a pink or red bump on the skin that feels tender or painful. With time, the bump becomes more painful as it fills with pus and swells before eventually bursting. Small boils usually heal cleanly, but some may experience scarring with larger boils.
Carbuncles: A carbuncle consists of a cluster of boils, located most commonly on the neck, shoulders, back, and thighs. These clusters are more deeply infected than a single boil and generally heal more slowly and with some scarring.

For more information on folliculitis, see below:

Folliculitis: Top 5 Symptoms

Folliculitis: Top Natural Supplements for Treatment

Folliculitis: Types, Treatments, and Latest Medical

Folliculitis: Top Home Remedies

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