What is folliculitis?

Folliculitis is a common skin infection that develops in the hair follicles. This infection often looks like a sudden acne breakout and can appear anywhere on the skin (except the soles of the feet and the palms). Each breakout spot usually has a red ring around it, which is a sign of an infection.

What causes folliculitis?

Folliculitis occurs when hair follicles are damaged. Once damage occurs, it is very easy for germs to enter the follicles and cause an infection.

Your hair follicles can be damaged when:

  • You rub or touch your skin frequently
  • You wear tight clothing
  • Your skin rubs against skin
  • You shave
  • Your skin is hot and damp (i.e., during exercise or while in a hot tub)

While many things can damage your hair follicles, the following are common causes of folliculitis:

  • Hot tub (especially one that is improperly maintained)
  • Waxing, shaving, or plucking hairs
  • Tight clothing or equipment
  • Medication applied to the skin, such as coal tar
  • Weight gain

With hot tubs, most people see breakouts about 12 to 48 hours after using one.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of folliculitis will vary. Often, you will not feel anything, but some people suffer from itchy skin. It is also possible for your skin to feel painful.

Should I see a dermatologist about my folliculitis?

Infected hair follicles can look a lot like acne, so it is helpful to see a dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis. The board-certified dermatologists at Dermatology & Skin Health can determine whether you have an infection and will give you tips to help clear it. In some cases, you may need an antibiotic to clear the infection. For others, these acne-like breakouts will go away on their own if you have a healthy immune system and stop doing what caused the folliculitis. When shaving, plucking, or waxing causes the infection, you’ll want to stop doing these things for 30 days.

Request a consultation in Seacoast, New Hampshire or North Shore, Massachusetts

If you think you might have folliculitis, schedule a consultation at Dermatology & Skin Health. During your consultation with a board-certified dermatologist, you will receive the proper diagnosis and a treatment plan. To get started, select your nearest location: Dover, New Hampshire, Newington, New Hampshire, Peabody, Massachusetts or Londonderry, New Hampshire. Request a consultation online or give us a Call (603) 742-5556 (Dover & Newington), (978) 525-0100 (Peabody), (603) 965-3551 (Londonderry), or (603) 742-5556 (Bedford) today.

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