How to manage folliculitis

Updated April 17, 2017

Folliculitis is a skin condition that occurs due to an inflammation of one or more hair follicles. It's caused by abrasions from tight clothing and shaving, an infected cut or surgical incision, existing skin conditions, extended use of adhesive tapes or bandages, and substances that may block the follicles, such as make-up. The organisms responsible for this type of infection are the staphylococcus, a group of bacteria that normally live on the skin. When infection sets in, the infected follicles will appear like red pimples and may contain pus. They may itch and are sometimes associated with burning sensation or pain. Most infections are just superficial and often heal within a few days. But cases with deep and severe infections require medical intervention.

Prepare a clean towel, soak it in lukewarm water and place it on top of the inflamed area. Avoid scrubbing your skin with the towel. Just compress it on top of the area several times a day until itchiness subsides. Make sure that your water is not too hot as extremely hot water will only dry out your skin. You can also apply some hydrocortisone cream to alleviate itchiness.

Facilitate easy drainage of pus by compressing the affected part with a clean towel soaked in warm salty water. Boil 3 to 4 cups of water and add 1 teaspoon of salt on it. Allow the water to cool off until its temperature is tolerably warm enough for application. Soak your clean towel on the water and compress it on the affected area for 20 to 30 minutes, as many times as you can, in a day.

Use an antibacterial wash to clean the infected area. Also use an antiseptic solution to prevent or arrest the growth of the staphylococcus organisms.

Apply some antibacterial topical ointment or gel to promote protection and faster healing.

Take some antibiotic pills, if prescribed by your GP. This method is mostly recommended for severe type of folliculitis. In some cases where microorganisms (such as Staphylococcus aureus) are quite resistant to some antibiotics, doctors often prescribe combinations of two different oral antibiotics.

Consult your GP about laser treatment for recurring folliculitis. This is an effective method and reduces the scarring that may occur in folliculitis. But there is a negative side to this treatment; it destroys hair follicles, allowing no hair to grow back around the treated area.

Avoid shaving the area until the infection heals. And when you do shave, use razors that are of high quality. Make sure to keep them clean to avoid attack from certain microorganisms. Also, put plenty of shaving cream on the part that you are to shave. This will provide an easy and safe glide of the razor, avoiding any unnecessary friction.

Wear loose clothing. Tight clothing will increase the friction between the cloth and the affected area. This, plus sweat, will only make the condition worse. So allow your skin to breathe and keep it dry to promote faster healing.


When antibiotics are prescribed, make sure you take them religiously to ensure faster healing.

If infection persists or spreads within 2 to 3 days, contact your GP immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Lukewarm water
  • Salt
  • Clean towels
  • Anti-itching cream
  • Antibacterial ointment or gel
  • Antibacterial wash and antiseptic solution
  • Antibiotic pills
  • Clean razor
  • Loose clothing
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About the Author

Wirnani Garner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and works in the medical profession. Her articles focus on health-related subjects, though Garner is proficient in researching and writing about a diverse range of topics.