Professional micropigmentation to disguise
hair loss caused by folliculitis

Folliculitis treatment

Folliculitis is a common skin problem where the hair follicle becomes blocked and inflamed, making it red and swollen. This condition can occur anywhere that you have hair. Folliculitis treatment is often something you can do yourself, but more severe cases will require medical treatment. Whilst folliculitis is not life threatening, it can be sore, itchy and embarrassing. Severe cases can cause scarring and permanent hair loss to the affected area.

What causes scalp folliculitis?

Folliculitis is caused by damage to hair follicles, which can be due to a number of things, such as:

  • Frequent rubbing or scratching
  • Pulling or twisting your hair, including regularly wearing tight ponytails or braids
  • Wearing hats frequently
  • Regularly wearing helmets for sports
  • Using too many hair products, which build up over time
  • Regularly shaving your head

There are also a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing folliculitis, including:

  • Having a weakened immune system due to a medical condition such as diabetes, chronic leukaemia and HIV/AIDS
  • Having acne or dermatitis
  • Taking medications for acne
  • Having coarse or curly hair

Symptoms of folliculitis

Some of the signs and symptoms of folliculitis include:

  • Itchy burning skin
  • Clusters of small red bumps, or white headed pimples that develop around hair follicles
  • Pus-filled blisters that split open and crust over
  • Painful, tender skin
  • A large swollen lump or mass

If your condition is widespread or the symptoms do not improve withing a few days, seek advice from a doctor. You may need a topical antibiotic or oral antibiotics to control the condition.

Types of Folliculitis

Folliculitis has two main types – superficial and deep. Superficial includes part of the follicle, while the deep type involves the whole follicle.

Superficial folliculitis types:

Bacterial folliculitis – this results in itchy white, pus-filled bumps and occurs when folicles are infected with bacteria, usually Staphylococcus aureus. Also known as staph bacteria, this lives on the skin all the time, but generally only causes problems when it enters your body through an open wound.

Hot tub folliculitis (pseudomonas folliculitus) – this is caused by pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, which is found in may places including heated pools and hot tubs where the levels of chlorine and pH are not well maintained. It causes a rash of red, round itchy bumps 1-2 days after exposure.

Razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae) – this skin irritation is caused by ingrown hairs and mainly affects men with curly hair who shave too close. It is most noticeable on the face, neck and beard area. This condition can result in dark raised scars (keloids).

Pityrosporum folliculitis – caused by a yeast infection, this type of folliculitis causes red, itchy pustules on the back and chest and sometimes on the neck, shoulders, upper arms and face. 

Deep folliculitus types:

Sycosis barbae – this type of folliculitis affects men who have begun to shave.

Gram-negative folliculitis – this can develop if you are taking a long-term antibiotic treatment for acne.

Boils and carbuncles – these occur when the hair follicles become deeply infected with staph bacteria. A boil will appear suddenly as a painful red or pink bump, while a carbuncle is a cluster of boils.

Eosinophilic folliculitis – this type of folliculitis mainly affects those with HIV/AIDS, although the exact cause is not known. Symptoms include intense itching and recurring patches of bumps and pimples that form near hair follicles, usually on the face and upper body. The affected skin may be left darker (hyperpigmented) once healed.

Folliculitis treatment

Your doctor will diagnose folliculitis by looking at your skin and medical history. Many mild cases can be treated at home, but if initial treatments do not clear up the infection, your doctor may take a swab for further analysis to understand what is causing the infection.

There are a number of treatments for folliculitis, depending on the severity and type of condition. Treatments can include:

  • Cream or pills to control infection.
  • Cream, shampoo or pills to treat fungal infection.
  • Cream or pills to reduce inflammation.
  • Minor surgery to drain large boils or carbuncles.
  • Laser hair removal to remove hair follicles.

Micropigmentation for folliculitis

Unfortunately, more severe cases of folliculitis can permanently destroy hair follicles and cause scarring to the skin. Once your folliculitis has been treated and the skin is considered healthy again, you could have the bald area treated with scalp micropigmentation. This will either ‘fill in’ bald patches between longer hair or provide you with an overall shaved look.

How we can help

If you’ve suffered with baldness cause by folliculitis and considering scalp micropigmentation, please look at our FAQs for more information, or get in touch with us today.

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Our clinic is in a quiet and private location. We are disability friendly, accessible by public transport and with easy parking.