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Everything You Need to Know About Hair Follicle Infection

Hair Follicle

There are various skin conditions that may lead to hair loss. That is why it is critical to consult a dermatologist first before seeking treatment. Among the various skin conditions is one called folliculitis. This common skin condition causes hair loss by inflaming the skin. Most of the time, this type is caused by a fungal or bacterial infection.

You can easily notice and identify it from reddish bumps or pimples which surround hair follicles. Hair follicles are very minute pockets where hair strands grow from. If left untreated, these pimples may turn into crusty sores that don’t heal.

Even though the sores are not life-threatening, the itching and scratching can really embarrass you in public. If the infection becomes severe, it may lead to scarring and permanent hair loss. For a mild case of folliculitis, self-care measurement will help to clear it off after a few days. Prescription medication from a physician may be necessary if the condition keeps recurring and becomes severe. Hot tub rash, barber’s itch, and razor bumps are some of the names that folliculitis condition is known as.

Symptoms

You will know that you are suffering from the folliculitis skin condition if you notice these signs and symptoms:

  • Red bumps or white-headed clusters of small pimples that occur around hair follicles
  • Blisters that are filled with pus breaks up and crust over.
  • Itchy skin with a burning sensation
  • Skin that is tender and painful
  • A huge swollen mass or lump

When to see a doctor

You may be forced to seek a doctor’s advice if the symptoms refuse to go away after a while or if it spreads all over the scalp of the skin. They are controlling the condition demands taking antifungal or antibiotics medications.

Types

Folliculitis condition may occur in several forms that can either be deep or superficial. Superficial forms are mild compared to deep folliculitis, which has more severe symptoms and damages more hair follicles.

Superficial Folliculitis

Superficial Folliculitis-Hair Follicle

The various types of superficial folliculitis include:

Bacterial Folliculitis

This type of folliculitis occurs as pimples filled with pus that are usually itchy. A staph infection is what causes this form of folliculitis. This type of infection typically lives on the skin but sometimes enters deep into tissues when the skin gets damaged or injured.

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae

This type of folliculitis condition is also called the barber’s itch and comes as a result of hairs that grow inwards. It is rampant in people of African descent, affecting 60 percent of black men and those who have curly hair. The genital area can also be affected by this type of folliculitis.

Pseudomonas Folliculitis

Hot tub folliculitis is another name for this kind of condition. A bacteria known as pseudomonas is what causes it. This bacteria type is usually found in pools and hot tubs—the reason being that such areas are hardly monitored pH balance and chlorine levels.

Once exposed, symptoms will start appearing after 72 hours. The symptoms will occur more at the back of the legs or in areas of the body covered by the swimsuit. Even without treatment, minor symptoms will go away within five days.

Pityrosporum Folliculitis

This form derives from a yeast infection of the skin. This causes red, chronic itchy lesions. It is more common in young adults, especially men, affecting the upper part of the body and the face.

Deep Folliculitis

Some of the conditions that cause deep folliculitis include:

Sycosis Barbae – This is a deeper form of barber’s itch. It causes scarring and permanent hair loss.

Boils – When staph bacteria becomes severe, it causes boils when it deeply affects hair follicles. The boils are also called furuncles and appear swollen since they are pus-filled. They grow larger and larger until they rupture and drain. Unlike a single boil, a cluster of boils leads to more severe symptoms. Carbuncles or large boils may result in scarring.

Gram-negative Folliculitis – This type of deep folliculitis often affects people who are on long-term antibiotic therapy. This is due to the bacterial balance effect of the antibiotics in the skin. The condition will disappear once the patient is done with the antibiotics treatment.

Eosinophilic Folliculitis – People who are susceptible to this type of deep folliculitis are those in the late stage of AIDS or with poorly managed HIV. It also affects cancer patients. The symptoms usually lead to hyperpigmentation and keep occurring from time to time with high intensity. Although what causes this condition is not clear, researchers believe that the root cause may be hair follicle mite of eosinophilic folliculitis.

Causes

In most cases, folliculitis is caused by an infection of the hair follicles. The bacteria behind this infection is known as Staphylococcus aureus or staph bacteria. Fungi, viruses, and inflammation from grown hair may also cause folliculitis. The area where follicles are densest in the scalp, and they are found everywhere on the skin except the lips, palms, soles, and mucous membranes.

Risk Factors

Folliculitis can affect anyone. However, certain factors increase the susceptibility of the condition. They include:

  • When you are suffering from conditions such as chronic leukemia, diabetes, or HIV/AIDS, which reduce the resistance to infection
  • When one is suffering from dermatitis or acne
  • Using long-term antibiotics or other medications such as steroid creams
  • A male who likes to keeps his curly hair shaved Being a male with curly hair who shaves
  • Always putting on clothes that trap heat and sweat. These include rubber gloves or high boots
  • Soaking in a hot tub that is poorly maintained.
  • Damaging the hair follicles by waxing, regular shaving, or putting on very tight clothes

Complications

Folliculitis comes with various complications, including:

  • Spreading or recurring infection
  • Causes furunculosis, which boils under the skin

Hair Follicle Infection

  • Causes permanent skin damage, such as dark spots or scarring
  • Permanent hair loss or destruction of hair follicles

Treatment

The type of the folliculitis condition or how severe it is will determine its treatment. Patients who have mild symptoms may only require home-based care. Otherwise, if the condition is quite severe, these types of treatment may be recommended.

Prevention

These tips will help you protect yourself from contracting the folliculitis condition in the future:

  • You are avoiding clothes that are too tight, which helps to reduce friction between your clothing and the skin.
  • If you intend to use your rubber gloves, dry them before reusing them. For those people who use gloves on a regular basis, it is advisable to clean them with soap and clean water.
  • If you can, avoid shaving your head. If you don’t need a clean-shaven face and you have razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis), growing your beard is a good option.
  • Be careful when shaving, and if shaving is your thing, you may avoid this condition by preventing the shaving closeness to your skin. You can also:-
    • Shave less frequently
    • Applying antibacterial soap on your face before shaving
    • Using a cleansing pad or a washing cloth before shaving
    • When you need to shave, apply enough shaving lotion
    • Shaving hair in the direction of hair growth. Shaving against the grain is likely to get fewer skin bumps.
    • When using a guarded blade or an electric razor, don’t shave too close to the skin. You should also avoid stretching the skin while shaving.
    • After each stroke, rinse a sharp blade with warm water.
    • Once you are done shaving, apply moisturizing lotion.
    • Don’t share shaving essentials such as towels, razors, or washcloths.
  • Hair removing products like the depilatories are also good. However, they may also cause skin irritation.
  • You Should only get into clean heated pools or clean hot water tubs. Clean water tubs every now and then, and don’t forget to add chlorine.
  • Consult your physician if you suspect that you are suffering from folliculitis. This will depend on recurrences and frequencies. Your doctor may suggest using a five-day regimen of antibacterial ointment to control bacterial growth in your nose. You will have to apply this using body wash and chlorhexidine (Hibiclens, Habitat). The effectiveness of these steps has not yet been established, and further studies have to be conducted.

Hair Follicle Infection Treatment

You don’t need any medical treatment if your hair follicle problem is not very bad. However, if the infection is bad and painful, you have to visit a doctor. He will give you antibiotic creams to be applied to the infected area. The infection could recur again and again; if this is the case your physician will prescribe antibiotic tablets to kill the bacterium that is causing the infection.

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