Folliculitis occurs when the hair follicles on your skin become inflamed. This can be due to blockages of the hair follicles or infections in the follicles from things such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeast. The skin around the affected hair follicles will appear red and often there will be tiny white pustules – they appear like tiny pimples on the skin surface.
To determine the cause of your folliculitis, your GP may want to know some of the following things:
- Any creams you may have used recently on the affected area.
- If the skin has been irritated recently hair removal practices such as waxing or shaving.
- If you have recently been bathing in a spa
- If the affected area was recently covered up by an adhesive
- Any contact you may have had with another person with a similar skin rash
- Don’t forget to disclose all the medications you use, including creams or ointments as they could cause folliculitis.
Your GP will prepare a management plan for you depending on the cause and severity of your folliculitis. Here are some examples of possible treatment options:
- Watch and wait – this is appropriate for many cases of mild folliculitis. The folliculitis will resolve on its own with good hygiene and skin care practices. You will be asked to avoid covering up the affected area. Ensure that you keep the area clean of sweat and dirt. And avoid applying oils to the skin (use an oil free moisturiser if needed).
- Oral antibiotics – for more severe bacterial folliculitis cases, your GP may prescribe a course of Flucloxacillin 500mg to be taken 4 times a day for 7 days. (If you have a Penicillin allergy – Clarithromycin or Clindamycin are alternative options).
- Antifungal treatments – either topical or oral – may be used if you have a yeast or fungal infection.