Folliculitis

Alternative Names

Pseudofolliculitis barbae; Tinea barbae; Barber’s itch

Definition of Folliculitis

Folliculitis is inflammation of one or more hair follicles. It can occur anywhere on the skin.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Folliculitis starts when hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing, blockage of the follicle, or shaving. In most cases of folliculitis, the damaged follicles are then infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus (staph).

Symptoms

Common symptoms include a , itching, and or pustules near a hair follicle in the neck, groin, or genital area. The pimples may crust over.

Signs and tests

A diagnosis is primarily based on how the skin looks. Lab tests may show which bacteria or fungus is causing the infection.

Treatment

Hot, moist compresses may promote drainage of the affected follicles. Treatment may include antibiotics applied to the skin (mupirocin) or taken by mouth (dicloxacillin), or antifungal medications to control the infection.

Expectations (prognosis)

Folliculitis usually responds well to treatment, but may come back.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/28/2010

Folliculitis, decalvans on the scalp
Folliculitis on the leg

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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