The most common cause of infected hair follicle, also known as folliculitis, is a type of bacteria known as staphylococcus (staph) aureus. Due to this, the illness can also be regarded as a staph infection of the hair follicle. However, viruses or fungi could also cause the same. Factors which lead to the infection include wearing tight clothing or shaving which may cause friction, over-sweating, skin problems such as acne or dermatitis, skin abrasions or wounds from a surgery and at times, prolonged air tight contact of the skin with adhesive tape or plastic dressing.
Topical or oral antibiotics may be prescribed by the doctor for treating this type of infected hair follicle. Shaving the infected area is to be refrained from or if there is a necessity, electric razor or a clean razor should be used.
Pseudomonas Folliculitis (Hot Tub Folliculitis)
Hot tub folliculitis normally does not require any specific treatment. However, medications may be recommended to provide relief from itching. Oral-antibiotics may be required in cases where the infection takes a severe form.
Oral antifungal medications are effective enough against this type.
Avoid using razor blade and go for electric razor. Using shaving gel is more preferable than using a shaving cream. Do not shave in a direction which is against one of the hair growth, and remember to wash with warm water and apply a moisturizing cream.
As this infection is caused due to a yeast-like fungus, topical or oral antifungals are generally prescribed for the treatment. The infection has a tendency to recur in future, and in order to prevent this, indefinite use of topical ointments is usually recommended.
This infection does not require any treatment if the person is in good health. However, if there is a medical history of HIV/AIDS or outbreak of cold sores, then the affected person will be advised to go for a course of oral anti-viral medication.
Antibiotics or isotretinoin (Accutane) are administered for gram-negative hair follicle infection treatment.
Boils and Carbuncles
A small incision in the boil or carbuncle drains the pus, and reliefs the pain and helps in a speedy recovery. It also prevents scarring on the skin. The affected area should be covered with sterile gauze for the pus to keep draining. Antibiotics may also come in use to keep the infection from recurring.
Oral corticosteroids for severe infection and topical corticosteroids in general case, are the choices for eosinophilic hair follicle infection. HIV/AIDS patients may be prescribed topical steroids, apart from oral antihistamines.
Hair follicle infection could be of more than one type, and each of these types may have similar or different symptoms.Superficial folliculitis and deep folliculitis are the major categorizations of an infected hair follicle. Superficial folliculitis includes staphylococcal folliculitis, pseudomonas folliculitis (hot tub folliculitis), tinea barbae, pseudofolliculitis barbae, pityrosporum folliculi and herpetic folliculitis.
# Itchy, white pus-filled bumps are the symptoms of staphylococcal folliculitis while red, round and itchy bumps are those of pseudomonas folliculitis.
# Tinea barbae is common in the beard area, and its symptoms are itchy, white bumps.
# Pseudofolliculitis barbae has raised, dark scars on the neck and face area, and swelling in some cases, as its different symptoms.
# The back, chest and neck area is affected by red, itching pustules in case of pityrosporum folliculi. At times shoulder, face and upper arms are also affected.
# Small fluid-filled blisters could be a symptom of herpetic folliculitis.
Gram-negative folliculitis, skin boils and carbuncles, and eosinophilic folliculitis are the forms of deep folliculitis. Here, the common symptoms include pain, blisters filled of pus which break open and crust over, swollen bumps, and recurring patches of inflamed, pus-filled sores. These sores primarily appear on the face and sometimes on the back or upper arms. Other symptoms are remnants of the cleared infection which exist in the form of scars.