Skin Focus: Folliculitis

Often associated with men and shaving, folliculitis is actually a problem anyone can have. This infection of the hair follicle can be found anywhere on the body and manifests itself as small, white pimples, and if untreated, can grow to large boils, a more serious skin care condition.

CAUSE
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The painful, itchy bumps are often the result of a damaged hair follicle, which can be caused by friction from shaving or tight clothing, excessive sweating, inflammatory skin conditions (dermatitis and acne) and skin injuries (abrasions).

Once these follicles are damaged, they often fall victim to virus, bacteria, or fungi, which then result in folliculitis.

WHO’S AT RISK

Anyone can get folliculitis, especially if bacteria enters the hair follicle after shaving, but there are certain people who are more prone to the condition.

These are those who are obese, have a medical condition that lowers their resistance to infection (diabetes, cancer, HIV), have skin conditions such as contact dermatitis or acne, are on long-term antibiotic therapy, or those who live in warm and humid climates.

TYPES & TREATMENTS

There a several types of folliculitis, but all the types fall into two categories: superficial folliculitis and deep folliculitis. Superficial folliculitis is the most common and often clears up on its own or by topical at-home treatments that are antibacterial or antifungal.

Deep folliculitis (caused by long-term antibiotics, staph infection, or HIV) often requires the assistance of a dermatologist to treat and sometimes excise the infection.

PREVENTION
Prevention of folliculitis is easy with the following body care tips. Avoid constrictive clothing, shave carefully using and electric razor or a new blade each time, avoid hot tubs or make sure the hot tub is clean and well-maintained. If you have excess perspiration, shower more often or use antibacterial wipes through the day to clean areas that are prone to bumps.

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