mhn news & blog

September 03, 2013

What is Folliculitis?

What Are the Symptoms of Folliculitis?

The symptoms of Folliculitis are often hard to spot. However, it often begins with white-headed pustules or pimples located around the follicles. These pimples go unnoticed because they do not generate much attention; however, some may experience itching. In other cases, they can be very painful. The superficial type of Folliculitis generally goes away on its own within a few days. More serious forms, though, create a need for medical treatment.

The superficial form often causes small clusters of small red bumps that are pus-filled and red. The skin itself can become red, inflamed and the area can be tender as well.

The problematic form of Folliculitis is often referred to as deep Folliculitis. In this case, the skin deeper within the follicle becomes infected. This can affect the entire follicle and may lead to hair loss. In this case, the symptoms include:

  • Pain, nearly always associated with this condition
  • Larger, swollen areas, including a mass or a bump that is easy to feel
  • The blisters are often larger and puss filled. They will break open and crust over, sometimes causing pain.
  • Scarring is likely and becomes noticeable once the condition clears.

In many cases, a virus, bacteria, or fungus that is entering into the follicle causes the condition. Since follicles are very deep on the scalp, they can allow bacteria to easily become trapped. The follicles can also become damaged. When this occurs, it is easier for inflammation to occur from bacteria that gets into the follicle itself. This can occur for various reasons, including the following:

  • Excessive perspiration
  • Wearing tight braids, weaves or pony tails that does not allow the skin to breathe
  • Injuries to the skin, including a cut, scrape, or surgical wound
  • Friction that comes from shaving dry skin (most common in men)
  • Some types of acne and dermatitis can cause this to happen; any type of inflammatory skin condition can cause it.

Keep in mind that these conditions can change from one person to the next. If you believe you have any of these symptoms or others that are causing pain, hair loss, or discomfort, seek help.

What Are the Possible Complications of Folliculitis?

In most mild cases of this condition, there are rarely any types of complications. The body handles the infection through the immune system, reduces the bacteria levels, and heals over the area. If any complications occur, it may lead to an infection, itchy patches of skin that can be a staph infection, or recurrent inflammation.

However, the severe form of this condition can have lasting damage to the skin, follicle, and sometimes your health. The following are the complications you may face from severe forms of this Folliculitis:

  • Developing boils under the skin. These begin as a small red bump and become larger. Most hurt as they get larger because they fill with pus. This is called furunculosis.
  • Many have scarring from the condition. The scars can be thick and they can be raised, creating an uneven surface on the scalp. Additionally, the skin can become darker in the affected area.
  • The hair follicle can be damaged so much so that it causes permanent hair loss.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is best to seek out help from your doctor at the early signs of the inflammation. This can help prevent the severe form of Folliculitis from occurring. It can also prevent permanent hair damage or hair loss if the inflammation and infection are treated sooner rather than later. If you have experienced permanent hair loss due to Folliculitis schedule an appointment with a hair loss professional to learn about hair restoration options.