What Are the Different Forms of Eczema?
Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles. What you might see on your skin, particularly on your face, scalp and on parts of your body that frequently get rubbed by clothing – such as your thighs and groin – is what looks like a tiny pimple, with a hair growing out of it. That’s a telltale sign of folliculitis, as each hair on your body grows out of a tiny ‘pouch’ called a follicle. When folliculitis occurs, that ‘pouch’ grows red and inflamed, looking very much like a pimple.
Folliculitis is most often caused by bacteria, but it can also occur as a result of a fungus or of an overgrowth of yeast. You may also experience areas of folliculitis if you have damaged hair follicles, such as by shaving a bit too rough or with an older blade, or by wearing too-tight clothes that rub and chafe your skin. And, folliculitis may also occur when follicles become blocked and irritated by sweat, oils or makeup (another reason to be sure you’re removing your makeup completely before bed, and not forgetting to do so. Sleeping in your makeup can cause skin and follicle damage, leading to breakouts and folliculitis.)
If you have a hot tub on your back terrace, or use one at a vacation spot this winter, be aware that using a hot tub, whirlpool or swimming pool that has not been properly and safely treated with chlorine can cause folliculitis flare-ups.
If your sense of personal style involves wearing tight skinny leg jeans or other tight clothing, the rubbing of those fabrics against your skin can lead to a folliculitis outbreak.
If you’re on antibiotics or steroid creams for a long time, those products may flare up your folliculitis, and if you’re among the many Americans who have diabetes, your body’s lessened ability to fight infection can encourage folliculitis to occur as well.
Your dermatologist can look at your affected skin areas to determine if you indeed have folliculitis, and may collect a sample of tissue or fluid in the pimples, to pinpoint your true skin condition, making sure you don’t have a simple heat rash or a treatment-requiring case of impetigo. Once your doctor learns what is causing your infection, a safe course of treatment will be determined, so that you can participate in returning your follicles to clear and clean performance, free of any irritation and appearance of those pimple-type breakouts.