Folliculitis, a non-threatening skin ailment, is generally distinguished by the presence of inflamed hair follicles. Follicles are the tissue surrounding the hair roots present deep in the layers of the skin, and are very dense on the scalp, although they occur on other body parts with hair, such as the face and back. The causative agent is usually the bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus (staph). This condition, when caused due to using unclean shaving equipment, is referred to as razor bump or barber's itch.
This ailment affects the person’s external appearance particularly on the hair and face, and hence can be embarrassing. Minor instances of folliculitis can be treated with simple home care remedies such as applying a warm compress and soothing gel and avoiding shaving with a razor in the affected areas. Some complications that may arise when a person develops folliculitis, include recurring boils, dark spots on skin and scalp, and even acute hair loss. Therefore, in more serious cases, do not delay seeking the advice of a healthcare provider for proper treatment and prescription medicine.
When folliculitis manifests itself in a person, they display certain characteristic symptoms such as:
- Sores filled with pus that tend to burst, and then form a crust in the surrounding regions of the skin
- One or a few small red bumps that arise in the areas near the hair follicles
- Itchy and burning sensation on the skin, that can result in pain and tenderness in some cases
- An enlarged, bulging bump or mass
Diagnosis And Treatment:
The physician thoroughly examines the skin of the patient to look for signs of folliculitis. He or she then inspects their medical history, to rule out the possibility of any other past ailments that may be the underlying cause of folliculitis. In addition, a procedure known as dermoscopy, which is a scan of the skin by using a specialized microscope, is also performed on the patient, to confirm the presence of folliculitis.
In case the infection is mild, the healthcare provider ideally prescribes an antibiotic cream, gel or lotion, for external application on affected areas of the skin. If the disease is severe or persistent, then the patient is put on a schedule of antibiotic pills, besides being given creams for application on septic regions of the skin. In addition, if the patient presents with recurrent itching on the distressed areas of the skin, the doctor recommends using a steroid cream to ease the irritation.
A very minor surgical intervention is suggested only to treat very large boils or carbuncles, where the doctor makes a small incision on the swollen area to drain out the pus. Afterwards, the operated area is covered with a sterile gauze, to prevent further contamination. This results in reduction in scars and provides relief from pain.