Folliculitis

Inflammation of the hair follicles that produces small, yellow, pus-filled pimples

  • More common in adults
  • More common in males
  • Shaving and hair-plucking are risk factors
  • Genetics is not a significant factor

Inflammation of the hair follicles due to bacterial infection is called folliculitis. The pus-filled pimples produced by this condition may develop on any part of the body but most commonly appear on the limbs and, in men, in the beard area. Shaving, plucking, or waxing the hairs can increase the risk of inflammation. Folliculitis of the beard area is particularly common in black men, whose curly hairs often grow back into the skin and may cause an infection. The use of topical corticosteroids may also cause folliculitis in some people.

Your doctor may prescribe topical antibiotics (see Preparations for skin infections and infestations) to treat the infection or oral antibiotics for acute, extensive folliculitis. To avoid spreading folliculitis, wash regularly with antibacterial soap and do not share razors or towels. Men may find that growing a beard helps to prevent folliculitis from developing on the face.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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