Definition of Folliculitis

Folliculitis – An infected and inflamed hair follicle. Folliculitis may involve a single follicle or a number of follicles in proximity, and begins with a reddened bump at the site of the follicle that soon progresses to a pustule containing a collection of fluid and cells (pus).

The site often hurts or itches. Most folliculitis is idiopathic—that is, it develops without identifiable cause. However, a number of risk factors can precipitate its occurrence. Among them are

Warm compresses applied to the site several times a day may resolve isolated folliculitis. Folliculitis that persists or involves multiple hair follicles requires treatment with topical and oral antibiotic medications. Most folliculitis improves within a few days of antibiotic therapy, though it is important to take the full amount of medication as the doctor directs.

In people who frequently have folliculitis or who are on long-term antibiotic therapy such as for acne, the infection may resist the common first-line antibiotics, requiring further therapy with a different antibiotic.

Folliculitis usually heals without scarring or residual complications.

Hot Tub Folliculitis

The hot, moist environment of a hot tub is the ideal incubator for various bacteria, notably the Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The warm water of the hot tub opens the pores, giving the bacteria access to the HAIR follicles. When the pores close after leaving the hot tub, they trap P. aeruginosa, which thrives in the moist setting. Folliculitis results, often appearing on the skin the same pattern of the clothing worn in the tub.

See also CARBUNCLEFURUNCLEPSEUDOFOLLICULITIS BARBAE.

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