Folliculitis as we can decipher from the word, is a common skin disorder where inflammation, infection of the hair follicle occurs. It can develop on any part of the body, but most commonly found on face, neck, armpits, buttocks and thighs. At times, it might affect the beard area (barber's itch). Folliculitis appears as small, round, yellowish pustules that surround a hair pore. Hair can grow through these pustules, which at times ooze blood-stained pus.
What causes it ?
- Caused by a bacteria or fungus that enters the body through a cut, surgical incision or any injury in the skin near a hair follicle.
- External injury to the hair follicle by friction from tight clothing, or rubbing your skin too hard.
- Although a harmless disorder, it is contagious, and an individual can get folliculitis from an infected person.
How do you detect ?
- Small round and elevated pus filled pimples that form around the hair follicles. There is mild discomfort accompanied by itching.
- Advanced stage might cause high fever, redness, swelling and increased pain over the infected area.
Treatment of the disease -
Cure depends on the causative agent. Treatment clears the condition, but elimination of the external triggering factor is necessary for control of the disease. Repeated treatment is often required as recurrence is frequent.
Most cases of folliculitis can be treated at home as it is a mild disease. In extreme cases, topical antibiotics, antifungal ointments are used in combination with oral medications.
Handy tips for home treatment -
- Use antibacterial medicated soap to wash the infected are. Also use medicated powder to keep the area dry and reduce friction.
- Avoid activities that cause sweat and dampen the area.
- Avoid shaving if your have barber's itch. If necessary, use a new razor each time so that the infection does not spread.
- Don't use oily skin creams.
- Have a well balanced diet and drink plenty of water to make your immune system stronger. Garlic which has antiseptic properties should be consumed as it helps fight against the infection.
- Also include vitamin C, vitamin B in your diet in the form of food or supplements so to strengthen the body's infection fighting ability.
- Warm, wet compresses can be applied 4-6 times daily to stop itching and pain.
- Wear loose fitting clothing so as to avoid friction and irritation.
How can you prevent folliculitis ?
- Bathe daily with a mild antibacterial soap and luke warm water. Keep yourself clean and maintain hygiene at home and surrounding areas.
- Avoid sharing towels, soap or personal care items especially with an infected person.
- Always clean yourself, especially hands after you come in contact with anybody who has a skin disease.
- Try and avoid using oily and greasy cosmetics on your skin. It clogs pores and traps bacteria causing folliculitis.
If these checks do not control your infection, and it keeps coming back, then go in for medical consultation. If properly treated, symptoms disappear within a week or two. But personal hygiene should be maintained along side.
Remember, folliculitis is a harmless disorder affecting on the external skin. Its treatment even in early stages is important because only treatment can help prevent spread.