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Isolated folliculitis.jpg
Folliculitis, single lesion

Folliculitis is the infection and inflammation of one or more hair follicles. The condition may occur anywhere on the skin except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The rash may appear as pimples that come to white tips on the face, chest, back, arms, legs, buttocks, or head.

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Histopathology of folliculitis of unknown cause, with giant cells surrounding a hair follicle.


Most carbuncles, boils, and other cases of folliculitis develop from Staphylococcus aureus.

Folliculitis starts with the introduction of a skin pathogen to a hair follicle. Hair follicles can also be damaged by friction from clothing, an insect bite,[1] blockage of the follicle, shaving, or braids that are too tight and too close to the scalp. The damaged follicles are then infected by Staphylococcus. Folliculitis can affect people of all ages.

Iron deficiency anemia is sometimes associated with chronic cases.





  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a disorder occurring when hair curves back into the skin and causes inflammation.
  • Eosinophilic folliculitis may appear in persons with impaired immune systems.
  • Folliculitis decalvans or tufted folliculitis usually affects the scalp. Several hairs arise from the same hair follicle. Scarring and permanent hair loss may follow. The cause is unknown.
  • Reaction to Demodex mite infestation may occasionally be misdiagnosed as folliculitis.
  • Folliculitis keloidalis scarring on the nape of the neck. Most common among males with curly hair.
  • Oil folliculitis is inflammation of hair follicles due to exposure to various oils and typically occurs on forearms or thighs. It is common in refinery workers, road workers, mechanics, and sheep shearers. Even makeup may cause it.
  • Malignancy may also be represented by recalcitrant cases.[4]


  1. Topical antiseptic treatment is adequate for most cases
  2. Topical antibiotics, such as mupirocin or Neomycin/polymyxin B/bacitracin ointment may be prescribed. Oral antibiotics may also be used.
  3. Some patients may benefit from systemic narrow-spectrum penicillinase-resistant penicillins (such as dicloxacillin in US, or flucloxacillin in UK)
  4. Fungal folliculitis can worsen with antibiotics and may require an oral antifungal such as Fluconazole. Topical antifungals such as Econazole Nitrate may also be effective.

Folliculitis may recur even after symptoms have gone away.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NHS Direct".
  2. ^ MedlinePlus Encyclopedia Hot tub folliculitis
  3. ^ "Severe Acne: 4 types". American Academy of Dermatology. Archived from the original on February 9, 2011. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  4. ^ Folliculitis, follicular mucinosis, and papular mucinosis as a presentation of chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. Rashid R, Hymes S. Dermatol Online J. 2009 May 15;15(5):16.

External links[edit]

External resources