What is Folliculitis?
Folliculitis refers to an inflamed, ingrown hair follicle. Shaven hairs that have grown back into the skin may cause a persistent and chronic folliculitis. This is sometimes called razor bumps or pseudofolliculitis barbae.
What causes folliculitis?
- Hair follicles can become ingrown or inflamed for many reasons:
- Friction from rubbing skin or clothing
- Blockage of the follicle from product or dirt/oil buildup anywhere on the scalp or body
- Scratches, nicks & cuts
Ingrown hairs caused by shaving or friction act as foreign bodies and cause inflamed firm bumps and itchy, uncomfortable pustules. Additional injury and bacterial infection may result from picking at the bumps or by nicking them further when re-shaving. If left untreated, folliculitis infections can spread and may eventually result in depressed, discolored, hypertrophic (thickened), or keloid scars.
How do we treat folliculitis?
- Often the hairs must be allowed to grow out, and trapped hairs can be released in the office by our specially trained nurses. Other treatment options include:
- Oral antibiotics
- Topical antibiotic or anti-inflammatory medications
- Corticosteroid injections
- Patient education to avoid the condition
The only cure for folliculitis is permanently removing the hair by a laser hair removal method, such as GentleLase.
What can I expect?
We will consult with you about your shaving and skin care regimen, and teach you techniques to reduce the incidence of folliculitis. Our staff is specially-trained to release trapped hairs. A topical numbing cream may be applied prior to this treatment to reduce discomfort.
Have a question about your treatment?
We have a dedicated triage nurse (RN) who answers patient questions during office hours. If you have a problem or question about a procedure or a prescribed medication, please call our office and ask to speak to our nurse. If she is unable to answer your question, she will consult with your practitioner and return your call.