There is lots of information available about achieving a clear complexion on your face, but what can you use to heal skin problems occurring elsewhere?
Do you spend hours sweating it out at the gym to get the perfect beach body and then end up covering up because of itchy, red bumps on your chest, back, or bikini area? Do you wash regularly with acne products but nothing seems to help get rid of those pesky bumps?
The answer is easy-you probably don’t have acne. You are likely suffering from a skin condition called folliculitis. Luckily, once you start treating your skin for the actual condition you have, you are much more likely to get results. We asked our resident GP Dr. Honikar to teach us more about this pesky skin problem, the best ways to treat it, and how to prevent it in the future.
How do you get Folliculitis?
Folliculitis is caused when damage to the hair follicle results in irritation. This irritation is often caused by bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic microorganisms.
In some cases, folliculitis is not caused by external factors, but rather internal ones. This rare type of folliculitis is called eosinophilic folliculitis and can be a sign of a compromised immune system.
Who can get folliculitis?
Anyone can be at risk for folliculitis. While most types of folliculitis come from damage to a hair follicle, eosinophilic folliculitis is caused internally and can even affect babies. Hot tub folliculitis is transmitted through heated water that is not properly maintained.
Treatment of Folliculitis
Now that you know what folliculitis is, it is important to learn the best methods of treatment. If you are already suffering from folliculitis, it is important not to further damage your skin and hair follicles. Here are some best practices to minimize damage to the area:
- Avoid shaving the affected area if possible
- Shave less often
- Apply less pressure when shaving and do not shave close to the skin
Many types of mild folliculitis can heal on their own in about two weeks. You can encourage this healing by:
- Applying a warm compress to the affected area
- Wash daily with a mild antibacterial soap
- Apply an antibacterial cream such as Bacitracin or Neosporin to help clear the infection
- Shower immediately after sweating or working out
Treating the Inflammation
Topical antibiotic creams, such as Bacitracin or Neosporin can be effective in clearing up minor infections or folliculitis. While oral antibiotics are not generally prescribed, they can be effective in more serious or recurring cases.
A yeast infection can also cause folliculitis. Antifungal cream or shampoo is used to treat the infection in those cases. Antibiotics are not effective for this type of folliculitis.
Eosinophilic folliculitis often produces symptoms of intense itching. Doctors will often prescribe a topical steroid to address this symptom.
Prevention of Folliculitis
Once you have cleared your inflammation, it is important to start putting steps in place to make sure that it does not return. In addition to washing with a mild antibacterial cleanser and showering immediately after a hard workout or any other sweat-inducing activities, you will also want to:
- Refrain from sharing towels, face cloths or razors with anyone else
- Only use properly maintained hot tubs, spas, or heated pools
- Wear loose clothing in breathable materials
- Rinse out your bathing suit after each use and let dry completely
- Use proper shaving methods
When to Speak to a Doctor
While some mild forms of folliculitis can clear up with minor interventions, it is not always the case. With any skin inflammation, it is important to monitor the area for signs of infection. If you notice the following symptoms it is important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional:
- The area is red and swollen
- The skin feels warm to the touch
- The bumps become filled with pus
- You develop a fever
How long does it take for bacitracin to work for folliculitis?
Topical antibiotics may help heal folliculitis. Usually, it takes 4-5 days to notice an
Is it bacterial or fungal folliculitis?
Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicle. Staphylococcus aureus is the
organism that often causes bacterial folliculitis. The symptoms include pus-filled
bumps that can be itchy or painful.
Fungal folliculitis is also known as Pityrosporum folliculitis. A yeast infection causes
red, itchy bumps on the chest, back, neck, shoulders, upper arms, or the face.
How long can bacterial folliculitis last?
Mild cases of bacterial folliculitis can go away on their own in around two weeks.
However, treatment shortens the duration of the condition and ensures faster
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