How to treat folliculitis

Folliculitis is a skin complaint that can affect just about anywhere on the skin area, though in the majority of occasions, it build up on the legs, chest and back. It appears as an inflammation of the skin following an infection of the hair follicles. Classically, Folliculitis is caused by a type of fungus or bacteria, with the most common infection coming from Staphylococcus.

Many people think that folliculitis transpires as a result of unwell health or dirtiness, but this is not true. In fact, it is possible for extremely fit and healthy people to suffer from the complaint, and they frequently do. Although the cause is a fungal or bacterial infection, those people who believe themselves relatively clean, showering recurrently, can and still do suffer. The obvious conclusion that can be drawn from this fact is that cleanliness does not necessarily guarantee prevention against folliculitis.

Folliculitis Natural Treatment

Painful as it is, folliculitis is generally minor and will go away on its own without the need for any treatment. Good hygiene and washing with an antibacterial soap are all that are necessary. For more severe cases like deeper or non-healing lesions, antibiotic treatments and antihistamines may be essential.

In acute cases, Treatment of Folliculitis may not be necessary. Other times, antibiotics or antibacterial drugs with benzoyl peroxide may be given. Folliculitis Natural Treatment that can help treats the condition.

Turmeric for Folliculitis

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one of the most well-known natural home remedies used in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. It contains the potent anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin that has been demonstrated to treat skin disorders like folliculitis. To use turmeric for folliculitis, simply dissolve one teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of water, and consume two times daily for quick results.

Garlic for Folliculitis

Like Tea Tree Oil, garlic also has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It is also a rich source of sulfur which is helpful in preventing a mixture of skin disorders. However, care should be taken when opting for this herbal treatment. Because garlic is strong, applying garlic directly on the infected follicle can burn the skin.

Neem Leaves for Folliculitis

One of the easiest Natural Treatment for Folliculitis, neem has been used because ages to treat all kinds of skin disorders. Rich in antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties, neem can successfully treat folliculitis infection as well as soothe the follicles.

Oregano Oil for Folliculitis

One of the most celebrated oils regarding folliculitis is oregano oil. You can carry out this home remedy both on an internal and topical level and combining it with jojoba oil is said to have the best effects. Outstanding oil you can try out is pure tea tree oil, but oregano oil seems like the most popular solution in this category. It is also said that oregano oil can help out with acne and other conditions in which the skin is irritated, so you should consider trying it out if this is your case.

Coconut oil for Folliculitis

Considered by all as a healthy and quick acting natural remedy for getting rid of folliculitis, coconut oil contains compounds that prove healthy for the human skin. The two kinds of acid present in coconut oil – capric acid and lauric acid help defend the skin, because of their antibacterial properties. Simply put some coconut oil on the infected area and let it rest. Repeat the formula every day for maximum benefits.

Tea Tree Oil for Folliculitis

Tea tree oil contains antibacterial and antifungal as well as antiviral properties. Tea tree oil is thus considered one the best Natural Remedies for getting rid of Folliculitis, particularly on the surface of the scalp. Simply apply tea tree oil on infected surfaces multiple times during a day. Please make sure to repeat the method of application every day if you want to get best and maximum effects out of following this natural remedy for getting rid of folliculitis.

Goldenseal for Folliculitis

Goldenseal, a small perennial herb, is a good antimicrobic agent with bacteriostatic activity against a host of bacteria, particularly staphylococcus aureus.8 like honeysuckle; goldenseal should also be taken internally as soon as the symptoms come out. It can also be used by making a paste using powdered goldenseal and water. This paste needs to be applied directly to the affected area which is then covered with a clean bandage and left on during the night.

Last Updated: September 17, 2020 References Approved

This article was medically reviewed by Margareth Pierre-Louis, MD. Dr. Margareth Pierre-Louis is a board certified Dermatologist and Dermatopathologist, Physician Entrepreneur, and the Founder of Twin Cities Dermatology Center and Equation Skin Care in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Twin Cities Dermatology Center is a comprehensive dermatology clinic treating patients of all ages through clinical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, and telemedicine. Equation Skin Care was created to provide the best in evidence-based, natural skin care products. Dr. Pierre-Louis earned a BS in Biology and an MBA from Duke University, an MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, completed a residency in dermatology at the University of Minnesota, and completed a dermatopathology fellowship at Washington University in St Louis. Dr. Pierre-Louis is board certified in dermatology, cutaneous surgery, and dermatopathology by the American Boards of Dermatology and Pathology.

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Folliculitis, inflammation of the hair follicles that may develop into a bacterial or fungal infection, usually manifests as an itchy, painful, blistering and/or oozing rash surrounding one or more infected follicles. [1] X Expert Source

Margareth Pierre-Louis, MD
Board Certified Dermatologist Expert Interview. 15 May 2020. Folliculitis can be caused by a variety of pathogens and can develop to various levels of severity and thus has many options for treatment. Whether you have a mild case or a full-blown skin emergency, this article will help you to get your skin looking its best in no time.

How to treat folliculitis

Painful would best describe folliculitis–those bumpy, red, pus-filled pimples that appear on the hair follicle and give enough pain that you would wish body hair never existed. Folliculitis is an inflammatory condition of hair follicles–those small pouches from where body hair grows. Usually caused by the bacteria, staphylococcus aureus, folliculitis most commonly affects the arms, legs, back, buttocks, scalp, and beard area. 1

Injuries Can Lead To Folliculitis

An injury (from shaving, rough clothes or blockages caused by sweat, makeup, etc) to the hair follicle causes it to get infected and result in folliculitis. The presence of pustules alone does not indicate an infection; there are many noninfectious types of folliculitis, too. 2 Remember, some people like those with diabetes or a weak immune system could be more prone to developing folliculitis than others.

How Do You Know You Have Folliculitis?

If you have tender pimples that itch or burn with

10 Best Natural Remedies For Folliculitis

Painful as it is, folliculitis is usually minor and will go away on its own without the need for any treatment. Good hygiene and washing with an antibacterial soap are all that are required. For more serious cases like deeper or nonhealing lesions, antibiotic treatments and antihistamines may be necessary. However, there are quite a few natural home remedies that are effective in treating folliculitis. Let’s have a look.

1. White Vinegar

A potential antibacterial and disinfectant agent, white vinegar can cure folliculitis since it is useful in reducing staphylococcus aureus bacteria. 3

How to:

Mix one tablespoon of white vinegar to two cups of water. Then dip some cotton balls in this solution

2. Tea Tree Oil

For those with scalp folliculitis, using a shampoo which contains tea tree oil is considered to be beneficial. Tea tree oil is believed to be a natural germicide. It has the ability to disrupt the permeability barrier of cell membrane structures of the disease-causing microbes. Regular use of tea tree oil shampoo can help prevent the recurrence of scalp folliculitis. 4

3. Garlic

Like tea tree oil, garlic also has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It is also a rich source of sulfur which is beneficial in preventing various skin disorders. However, care should be taken when opting for this herbal treatment. Since

4. Thyme

Another easy to use herbal treatment is thyme. Thyme contains thymol, a chemical compound that has antibacterial properties that can help clear staphylococcus infection in folliculitis. 6

5. Honeysuckle

This herbal plant is believed to be a good home remedy for folliculitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in calming and soothing the aggravated follicles. 7 Honeysuckle needs to be taken internally. Having a concoction made from boiling honeysuckle leaves with water will help fight

6. Goldenseal

Goldenseal, a small perennial herb, is a good antimicrobic agent with bacteriostatic activity against a host of bacteria, especially staphylococcus aureus. 8 Like honeysuckle, goldenseal should also be taken internally as soon as the symptoms appear. It can also be used by making a paste using powdered goldenseal and water. This paste needs to be applied directly to the affected area which is then covered with a clean bandage and left on overnight.

7. Neem Leaves

One of the easiest home remedies for folliculitis, neem has been used since ages to treat all kinds of skin disorders. Rich in antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties, neem can effectively cure folliculitis infection as well as soothe the follicles. 9

How to:

Boil a lot of neem leaves in two liters of water. Let the water

8. Aloe Vera

Much like neem, aloe vera too has antimicrobial, 10 antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties that are effective in curing folliculitis infections. It also works to soothe the irritated hair follicles and reduces the pain and swelling and burning or itching sensation. Apart from all this, aloe vera also helps to repair the damaged hair follicle and heal it.

How to:

Wipe and clean an aloe leaf, remove the gel from within it, and apply it all over the affected area. Let it remain for at least 15 minutes. Repeat the process three times a day till a complete cure is achieved.

9. Coconut Oil

As research and studies have shown, coconut oil, especially virgin coconut oil, is full of essential nutrients with healing

How to:

Rub or apply pure coconut oil to the affected areas three times a day.

10. Turmeric

Yet another home remedy is turmeric. Turmeric contains a strong anti-inflammatory compound–curcumin–that has been shown to effectively treat skin disorders like folliculitis. It also boasts of antifungal and antibacterial properties. 12

How to:

Turmeric can be used both internally as well as externally. To use, simply dissolve one teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of water, and consume twice a day. Additionally, you can make a paste of turmeric and water or coconut oil, apply it over the affected parts and cover lightly with a bandage. Repeat the process

Homeopathy To The Rescue

Homeopathy treats the patient as a whole, focusing on not just the disease symptoms, but the whole individual and his pathological condition. 13 The homeopath will try to treat more than just the presenting symptoms and a correct homeopathic remedy will try to rectify the disease predisposition as well. Hence, it is better to consult with a homeopath first in order to select the most appropriate medicines. Homeopathy can be considered as a useful alternative along with conventional treatments.

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on March 4, 2021.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

What is folliculitis?

Folliculitis is inflammation of your hair follicles. A hair follicle is a sac under your skin. Your hair grows out of the follicle. Folliculitis is caused by bacteria or fungus, most commonly a germ called Staph. Folliculitis can occur anywhere you have hair.

What increases my risk for folliculitis?

  • Skin injury: Injuries to your skin include scratches, cuts, and surgery wounds. Shaving can also cause irritation and injury. Body hair may curve over into a hair follicle and lead to folliculitis. Acne and other conditions that damage your skin may also increase your risk of folliculitis.
  • Skin to skin contact and sharing personal items: Skin contact with people who have a skin infection may increase your risk of folliculitis. Sharing items such as towels and bar soap may also increase your risk.
  • Pools and hot tubs: Pools and hot tubs that are not cleaned regularly or do not have enough chlorine have more germs. If you use a pool or hot tub that is not cleaned well, you may have a higher risk of folliculitis.
  • Weak immune system: Medical problems such as HIV and diabetes weaken your immune system and make it hard to fight infections.
  • Tight clothing: When you wear tight clothing, it rubs against your skin and causes irritation in your hair follicles.

What are the signs and symptoms of folliculitis?

  • One or more small red, white, or yellow rash-like bumps around your hair follicles
  • Pus filled bumps that may break open and form a crust on your skin
  • Itching, pain, or redness on or around your hair follicles

How is folliculitis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your skin. Tell him how long you have had symptoms and if you have had folliculitis in the past. Also tell your healthcare provider if you have had other bacterial skin infections in the past.

  • Skin sample: One of the bumps on your skin may be removed and sent to a lab for tests. A skin sample may help your healthcare provider learn what is causing your folliculitis.
  • Wound culture: Cultures are done to learn what kind of germ caused your infection. A culture may be done by swabbing a draining area on your skin.

How is folliculitis treated?

Your folliculitis may heal on its own without treatment. If your folliculitis is severe or is not healing, you may need treatment.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. It may be given as an ointment that you apply to your skin or as a pill. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Antifungal medicine: This medicine helps kill fungus that may be causing your folliculitis. It may be given as an cream that you apply to your skin or as a pill.
  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor’s order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child’s healthcare provider.
  • Antihistamines: This medicine may be given to help decrease itching.
  • UV light therapy: During this treatment, ultraviolet light is used to help decrease the inflammation on the skin. UV light treatments are only used to treat certain types of folliculitis.

What are the risks of folliculitis?

If you have a severe infection, you may have scarring on your skin after it heals. Folliculitis may return, even after you are treated. Your hair follicles may be damaged and cause permanent hair loss.

How can I manage folliculitis?

  • Use warm compresses: Wet a washcloth with warm water and apply it to the infected skin area to help decrease pain and swelling. Warm compresses may also help drain pus and improve healing.
  • Clean the area: Use antibacterial soap to wash the affected area. Change your washcloths and towels every day.
  • Avoid shaving the area: If possible, do not shave areas that have folliculitis. If you must shave, use an electric razor or new blade every time you shave.

How can I prevent folliculitis?

  • Do not share personal items: Do not share towels, soap, or any personal items with other people.
  • Do not wear tight clothing: Do not wear tight-fitting clothes that rub against and irritate your skin.
  • Treat skin injuries right away: Treat injuries such as cuts and scrapes right away. Wash them with warm, soapy water, and cover the area to prevent infection.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.
  • You have foul-smelling pus coming from the bumps on your skin.
  • Your rash is spreading.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You develop large areas of red, warm, tender skin around the folliculitis.
  • You develop boils.

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Learn more about Folliculitis

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Folliculitis is inflammation and infection of the hair follicles. It may occur on any part of hairy skin. Generally the condition develops on scalp, cheeks, face, extremities, chest, and genital area having dense hair growth. Folliculitis can also develop on buttocks even though hair growth is less. The condition usually results due to damaged hair follicle. This damage can occur due to several reasons such as shaving, waxing, friction with jewelry and tight fitting clothes. The damaged hair follicle can become infected with several organisms, commonly bacteria, fungus and virus.

Folliculitis can be differentiated into several types, bacterial folliculitis, fungal folliculitis, viral folliculitis, and parasitic folliculitis.

Herpetic folliculitis is one such entity. Though very uncommon, it occurs due to herpes virus infection. In herpetic folliculitis there are small fluid filled red bumps surrounding the hair follicle. Most often herpetic folliculitis develops in the corner of mouth or on the face. Involvement of hair follicle is more with Varicella –Zoster virus, rather than Herpes simplex virus infection.

Causes Of Herpetic Folliculitis

Herpetic follicultis is caused due to herpes virus, either Varicella Zoster virus or herpes virus simplex.

  • Use of common shaving kit or blade which is infected with herpes virus can lead to proliferation of the virus into the healthy individual. This is more common in men while shaving their beard.
  • People having immunocompromised state, are at a greater risk of suffering from herpetic folliculitis.
  • Patient suffering from HIV infection, SLE, taking chemotherapy are also at risk of suffering from this condition.

The symptoms of herpetic folliculitis include formation of fluid filled blisters around the hair follicle. There are group of blisters in one area. There is intense burning pain. The lesion remains for few days before healing.

Herpetic follciulitis can become infectious through close contact. The virus can enter into a healthy person through cuts or broken skin if he comes in contact with lesions of an infected individual. Sharing common dining utensils and garments can also spread the infection.

How To Treat Herpetic Folliculitis?

Since there are several types of folliculitis, it is necessary to differentiate herpetic folliculitis from others. This is because, the treatment may vary. Herpetic folliculitis is a self limiting disease. After few days the blisters will heal. But they may recur often. Therefore dermatologists usually prescribe anti viral oral medications to reduce severity as well as its course.

  • Patient should avoid wearing tight fitting clothes. Wearing lose clothes helps free air movement.
  • Patient should stop shaving the affected part.
  • Wash the infected area with antiseptic soap.
  • Patient should follow good personal hygiene to prevent spread of the virus to other non infected individuals.
  • They should eat healthy food to boost his immune system.

This is an inflammation of the hair follicles which results in an itchy, painful skin rash on several parts of the body. These include the scalp, face and legs. Folliculitis affects both men and women of any age.

What is a hair follicle? A hair follicle is a bulb shaped sac within the skin which causes hair to grow. This hair is nourished by the sebaceous glands – small glands which along with the hair follicles and hair comprise small units within the skin. The sebaceous glands release an oily fluid called sebum which lubricates the skin, nails and hair.

But the sebaceous gland can become inflamed, leading to a condition called folliculitis.

Causes of folliculitis

There are several causes of folliculitis which include:

  • Fungal infections
  • Bacterial infections such as streptococcus A
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shaving
  • Restrictive or tight clothing
  • Certain medications, e.g. corticosteroids
  • Certain medical conditions, e.g. diabetes

Folliculitis develops in the top part of the hair follicle, near the surface of the skin. But this infection can spread beneath the skin, resulting in cysts or boils and in more severe cases, cellulitis.

Cellulitis is a skin infection which presents as a swollen, red skin rash and flu-like symptoms. Find out more in our cellulitis section.

Symptoms of folliculitis

  • Inflamed hair follicles
  • Red, skin rash which is itchy and inflamed
  • Small, raised red bumps on the skin or pus filled swellings

This condition often affects groups of hair follicles and on any part of the body where hair grows. In some cases, a hair will break through the skin rash causing a crust to form over the infection.

Diagnosing folliculitis

Folliculitis often clears up on its own but if it becomes painful or doesn’t clear up after a week to 10 days then visit your GP. Your GP will examine the inflamed areas and in some cases, will take a small swab to determine the cause of the outbreak. A swab is only taken if you have repeated episodes of this condition.

The aim is to find the root of the infection.

Your GP will also ask you about your medical history.

Treatment for folliculitis

This often clears up without the need for treatment but there are situations where medical intervention is required. This takes the form of prescription medicines such as antibiotics to treat the cause of the infection. These antibiotics are available as a cream or taken orally.

A mild antiseptic can also help. This is available in various forms, e.g. creams, lotions and soaps which are applied to the infected area of the skin. This forms part of a self-help routine which includes using separate towels and bedding, washing your hands after touching an infected area and avoiding shaving.

Do not scratch or rub the infected area as this will only spread the bacteria to other areas of your body.

A severe case of folliculitis can result in scarring in the infected areas and permanent damage to the hair follicles. And damaged hair follicles prevent new hair growth.

Severe folliculitis or repeated outbreaks require medical treatment to prevent this from happening.

Folliculitis is inflammation and infection of the hair follicles. It may occur on any part of hairy skin. Generally the condition develops on scalp, cheeks, face, extremities, chest, and genital area having dense hair growth. Folliculitis can also develop on buttocks even though hair growth is less. The condition usually results due to damaged hair follicle. This damage can occur due to several reasons such as shaving, waxing, friction with jewelry and tight fitting clothes. The damaged hair follicle can become infected with several organisms, commonly bacteria, fungus and virus.

Folliculitis can be differentiated into several types, bacterial folliculitis, fungal folliculitis, viral folliculitis, and parasitic folliculitis.

Herpetic folliculitis is one such entity. Though very uncommon, it occurs due to herpes virus infection. In herpetic folliculitis there are small fluid filled red bumps surrounding the hair follicle. Most often herpetic folliculitis develops in the corner of mouth or on the face. Involvement of hair follicle is more with Varicella –Zoster virus, rather than Herpes simplex virus infection.

Causes Of Herpetic Folliculitis

Herpetic follicultis is caused due to herpes virus, either Varicella Zoster virus or herpes virus simplex.

  • Use of common shaving kit or blade which is infected with herpes virus can lead to proliferation of the virus into the healthy individual. This is more common in men while shaving their beard.
  • People having immunocompromised state, are at a greater risk of suffering from herpetic folliculitis.
  • Patient suffering from HIV infection, SLE, taking chemotherapy are also at risk of suffering from this condition.

The symptoms of herpetic folliculitis include formation of fluid filled blisters around the hair follicle. There are group of blisters in one area. There is intense burning pain. The lesion remains for few days before healing.

Herpetic follciulitis can become infectious through close contact. The virus can enter into a healthy person through cuts or broken skin if he comes in contact with lesions of an infected individual. Sharing common dining utensils and garments can also spread the infection.

How To Treat Herpetic Folliculitis?

Since there are several types of folliculitis, it is necessary to differentiate herpetic folliculitis from others. This is because, the treatment may vary. Herpetic folliculitis is a self limiting disease. After few days the blisters will heal. But they may recur often. Therefore dermatologists usually prescribe anti viral oral medications to reduce severity as well as its course.

  • Patient should avoid wearing tight fitting clothes. Wearing lose clothes helps free air movement.
  • Patient should stop shaving the affected part.
  • Wash the infected area with antiseptic soap.
  • Patient should follow good personal hygiene to prevent spread of the virus to other non infected individuals.
  • They should eat healthy food to boost his immune system.

More Articles

  1. How to Treat Infected Hair Follicles
  2. What Are the Red Bumps on My Inner Thigh Growing Around?
  3. Badly Infected Ingrown Hairs
  4. How to Get Rid of Underarm Folliculitis
  5. Symptoms of an Infected Ingrown Hair

When hair follicles become red, itchy and infected, folliculitis is the probable cause 1. Folliculitis can result from shaving, friction between the skin and clothing, excessive sweating or infected cuts or wounds 1. Superficial folliculitis, a condition in which the staph bacteria infects the hair follicles, often can be treated with over-the-counter products and remedies 1.

Keep the infected area clean by washing twice daily with antibacterial soap. Dirt and other contaminants may prohibit healing and lead to more serious infection.

How to Treat Infected Hair Follicles

Apply warm compresses to the infected hair follicles up to three times a day. Run warm water on a soft washcloth, and squeeze out the excess water before applying. Heat can ease the pain and itching associated with folliculitis and helps the infected areas heal more quickly 1.

Make a more potent compress for pus-filled boils that may form as a result of folliculitis 1. Boil one quart of water, add one tsp. salt and set aside until lukewarm. Then apply the compress to help drain the boil.

What Are the Red Bumps on My Inner Thigh Growing Around?

Relieve itching and inflammation with an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. This product is widely available in supermarkets, mass merchandisers and pharmacies. Use according to the directions on the package or as explained by your doctor.

Shave with an electric razor, if possible, to prevent further infection of the hair follicles. Electric razors provide a closer shave than razor blades, which reduces irritation. If you do not have an electric razor, use plenty of moisturizing shave cream or gel when shaving with a manual razor.

Prevent re-infection by keeping your towels and other personal items separate from those of the rest of your family. Wash towels in hot water to kill bacteria that may be present.

Warnings

If your folliculitis worsens, oozes or becomes very painful, visit your doctor. Deep folliculitis is a more severe form of the condition and may require antibiotic medications or prescription creams.