Each of the cavities in the form of small bags where a body hair or hair grows is called a hair follicle. When hair follicles become inflamed due to a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection, it becomes a skin condition called folliculitis. Some parasites, the use of certain medications (such as: corticosteroids, phenytoin, lithium, etc.), diabetes, herpes simplex and HIV can also cause folliculitis, although they are less common causes. Early in the disease, inflamed follicles appear as red or white bumps (due to pus content) formed around the hair or hair. It is popularly referred to as ingrown hair, infected hair, beard folliculitis, and hot tub folliculitis..
Mild cases are common and soon subside after the application of simple treatments coupled with the practice of exhaustive skin hygiene measures. When folliculitis covers only the skin of the face, it is called psychosis. When it affects the rest of the body, it is called a boil.
This type of skin condition can hardly be life-threatening. However, it could spread and cause other discomforts such as pain, burning, itching, scaly ulcers, purulent blisters, permanent scars. If this condition worsens, you can lose hair or hair permanently, in the affected area. In this case, it is best to consult your doctor.
What are the main types of folliculitis?
When only the upper follicular cavity is affected. According to the causes that originate them, superficial folliculitis can be:
- Bacterial folliculitis. In general, the bacteria that cause this condition is Staphylococcus Aureus, better known as staphylococcus. In this case there is a rash of raised whitish bumps, filled with pus and itchy (they are itchy).
- Folliculitis of fungal origin (Pityrosporum). This is caused by a yeast infection. It occurs in the form of reddish pustules that become chronic. They can usually be seen on the skin of the neck, face, and upper chest and back.
- Ingrown hair or beard folliculitis. It occurs on the skin of the face, neck and in those areas of the body that are shaved regularly. These injuries can leave dark scars. For example: men who shave their beards a lot and people who wax the bikini area frequently.
- Jacuzzi folliculitis. In this case, itchy reddened bumps appear after exposing the skin to pseudomonas bacteria present in pools and hot tubs with insufficient chlorine levels.
In this type of injury, the entire hair follicle is affected. It can become severe and leave permanent scars. The most commons are:
- Boils. It is a reddish lump, warm to the touch, painful, caused by the swelling under the skin, which is filled with pus in its internal tissue. They are caused by staph and streptococcal infection. There may be fever and general malaise. Popularly they are called: born, swallows, boils, tumors, etc. When boils appear in groups, they are called carbuncles. Left untreated, anthrax can be deadly and leave permanent scars. Medical treatment of this type of condition is the most recommended.
- Beard sycosis. This type of folliculitis usually occurs in men once they begin to shave. It shows pus-filled bumps (pustules), swollen follicles, pain, and itching. In women, waxing can cause similar injuries.
- Gram-negative bacteria folliculitis (FGN). It is seen in patients who suffer from common acne and have been treated with antibiotics. Red bumps, with or without pus, are located around the nose.
- Eosinophilic folliculitis associated with HIV / AIDS. Swollen bumps usually appear on the upper body and face. When the injury heals, the skin darkens.
How are these types of injuries treated?
With the appearance of folliculitis, it is necessary to increase hygiene measures. The most important are: keep your nails short, increase the frequency of changing your personal clothes and household linen, such as sheets and towels, on a daily basis.
- Cleaning of all lingerie should be done with antiseptic detergents.
- To the hygiene of the affected area with special soaps that respect the skin pH, your doctor may prescribe antiseptics and antibiotics or local antifungals. In cases of deep folliculitis, you can order oral antibiotic treatments.
- In beard folliculitis, it is recommended to temporarily avoid shaving or waxing, while applying antiseptics, antibiotics and other medications that the doctor prescribes.
- The application of warm wet compresses can be of great help to drain the infected follicles, together with the treatment of antibiotics or antifungals ordered by the doctor.
- When boils are present, local treatments, which may include antiseptics and antibiotic ointments, are usually sufficient to heal the lesion. Surgical incision and drainage of the purulent matter from the boil, relieves pain and inflammation quickly.
- If the staph infection recurs, it is recommended to practice a culture of the lining of the nasal passages to determine if you are a carrier of the bacteria. And if the result is positive, your doctor will indicate the treatment of antibiotics to eliminate the staphylococcus.
How to prevent
These types of injuries can be avoided by implementing measures such as the ones I indicate below:
- Maintain a rigorous body hygiene.
- Do not wear contaminated lingerie and clothing. Avoid sharing cleaning towels and razors.
- In the area of the skin prone to irritation, you should avoid shaving or waxing it as much as possible.
- Don’t wear tight clothing.
- Shave carefully. Do it in the direction of the hair that does the least damage to you (everyone is different: some find it better to shave against the grain and others, in the direction of hair growth). Disinfect the razor blade, keep it sharp, disinfect it before and after use, and change it frequently.
- Use pre-shaving lotion and an aftershave moisturizer.
- Massage the skin to be shaved with a clean compress or towel to lift any embedded hair.
- Make sure to use clean pools and hot tubs with the recommended chlorine ratio.