Doctors often groan when a patient comes in complaining of skin irritation. Determining the cause of rashes can be difficult, and treating them is frequently a matter of trial and error. Folliculitis can be particularly tough because it can be mistaken for a food allergy. Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles. Any part of the body with hair is susceptible to folliculitis - scalp, arms, chest, chin, you name it. When the follicle becomes clogged it can create an itchy, burning rash that can last for weeks. It might start in patches, an itchy spot on the arm, then some redness on the thigh. An outbreak of folliculitis can look like scattered poison ivy or a sever outbreak of acne. The follicle can become so irritated that it becomes filled with pus. Ask yourself the following questions. If you say "yes" to any of them, you might have folliculitis.
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Have you spent time in a hot tub or spa recently? Unfortunately, hot tubs can be a hot bed of bacterial activity. When spa water isn't properly chlorinated, staphylococcus bacteria can infect the pores. Red, pus filled bumps can appear around the hair shafts.
Have you worn tight clothing? When the skin can't breathe and naturally cleanse itself, sweat and body oils can build up in the follicle. Once the pore is clogged it can be difficult to clean out. An uncomfortable rash can develop, especially on the thighs and groin.
Do you wear make up or work in a smoggy environment? Folliculitis on the face can occur when the pores are clogged from make up. Also, occupations that require working in a smoky, dusty or greasy filled area are far more likely to experience folliculitis symptoms.
Do you have a weakened immune system? Fungus can attack people with suppressed immune systems causing a folliculitis outbreak.
Tips and warnings
- Folliculitis can be treated with topical antibiotics and creams. For deeper infections, doctors may prescribe oral antibiotics. If those treatments don’t work, laser hair removal might be the answer. Laser treatment deadens the follicle so it can no longer become infected.