Your body’s largest organ is also one of its most excellent. Your skin can heal, stretch and protect your internal organs, yet even things with this incredible organ can sometimes get bumpy.
Are your bumps acne? The answer may lie in the itch
While the few are able to maintain a perfect complexion, most of us struggle with the occasional skin ailments-especially little red bumps that show up on our faces, chest, back and bikini line.
While often misdiagnosed as acne. Usually, the actual skin condition is Folliculitis. Folliculitis is common, but not everyone knows, and acne is mistaken for what Folliculitis looks like. We asked Dr. Honaker to lend us his insight on the signs and symptoms that the unknown bumps on your body are Folliculitis.
What are the signs and symptoms of Folliculitis?
Folliculitis is often misdiagnosed because it often resembles acne. The inflammation of the hair follicle produces a red or flesh-color bump that may or may not accompany pus. These bumps may also bleed or crust over.
An Itch You Should Not Scratch
Many forms of Folliculitis can be very itchy. Itching is one of your skin’s natural defense mechanisms. In many cases, your skin sends a message to your brain to itch your skin to remove a potential external hazard. However, in the case of Folliculitis, itching can spread the infection.
Large Painful Bumps
While itchy red bumps are an annoying addition, the alternative is painful-literally. Folliculitis can have large painful bumps if it does not produce small itchy bumps. In addition, this is because Folliculitis can cause inflammation to part of the hair follicle or the entire follicle. These two types of inflammation are classified as superficial and deep Folliculitis.
Types of Superficial Folliculitis:
- Bacterial Folliculitis: This inflammation occurs due to a common bacteria on our skin. The bacteria enters our body through a break in the skin (ex., shaving) and causes an infection.
- Hot tub folliculitis (pseudomonas folliculitis): When hot tubs, whirlpools, and heated pools do not have their PH level and chlorine-balanced bacteria can grow and cause Folliculitis. Itchy red bumps will appear on the skin about 48 hours after exposure.
- Razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae) Ingrown hairs commonly cause Folliculitis. Often seen on the face and neck of men’s and women’s bikini areas. Although coarse, curly hair is a risk factor, improper shaving can contribute to these itchy, red bumps.
- Pityrosporum folliculitis: With this type of Folliculitis, the red, pus-filled bumps you see on your back, chest, shoulders, upper arms, and face occurs due to a yeast infection.
Types of Deep Folliculitis:
- Boils (furuncles) and carbuncles are large, red, and often painful bumps due to a long-term staph infection. Carbuncles are the term for a cluster of boils.
- Sycosis barbae: This type typically affects males after they begin to shave.
- Gram-negative Folliculitis: This type of Folliculitis requires long-term antibiotic care for acne.
Treatment for Folliculitis
Many mild cases of Folliculitis can clear up independently with little intervention. Moreover, there are some home remedies for Folliculitis or measures you can take to encourage this healing:
- A cold cloth or ice pack can help ease the itch of Folliculitis without spreading the infection.
- Washing with a mild antibiotic soap can help to stop reinfection. Also, in some cases, over-the-counter treatments for Folliculitis include topical antibiotics like Neosporin or Bacitracin can help speed healing.
- A yeast infection causes Pityrosporum folliculitis. Anti-fungal cream or shampoo can be an effective treatment.
Do You Need to Speak with a Doctor?
Not all types of Folliculitis will respond to this type of treatment. In some severe or recurring cases, oral antibiotics may be the answer. Additionally, it is essential to monitor the area and look for signs of infection. It may be time to contact your healthcare professional if:
- The site is red and swollen
- The skin is warm to the touch
- You develop a fever
A New Approach to Health Care
By taking a proactive approach to your health, you can handle mild inflammation before it becomes severe. By having a good understanding of the health of your skin, you can always be sure you are putting your best foot forward.
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FAQs About Folliculitis Answered by Your Doctors Online Team
If Folliculitis occurs by shaving, it is best to avoid shaving. Generally, it is advisable to use a shaving cream or gel and shave in the direction the hair grows.
Folliculitis occurs when hair follicles contain infection-causing bacteria, commonly a staph infection. Although, viruses or fungi may also cause it. Malassezia folliculitis is a yeast or fungal infection in hair follicles.
There are different forms of Folliculitis, but it is an infection that causes bacteria.