What to Know About Folliculitis or Ingrown Hairs

December 15, 2022

Dr. Jerry Williams of Urgent Care 24/7 discusses folliculitis or ingrown hairs.

Folliculitis is an inflammation or an irritation of the hair follicles and it's a very common problem. Dr. Williams personally has experienced it around his neck and beard line in the past, and we'll talk about that kind of folliculitis. We see this very commonly in our urgent care centers nationally in Urgent Care 247, and Dr. Williams thought it'd be something that would be good for us to talk about. If folliculitis goes untreated and if there's a bacterial cause either primary or secondary bacterial infection, these folliculitis infections can go on to cause an abscess formation, which can be really problematic.

They involve an ingrown hair, unless you remove that ingrown hair where the hair is actually growing back down into the skin, if you don't get that hair removed, or at least get it pulled where it's growing away from not back into the back into the tissue. That folliculitis is actually not going to resolve back to normal until that's that the ingrown hairs are taken care of. There's lots of different causes of folliculitis, and I want to kind of run down the list. One thing is that our deficiency anemia is sometimes associated with chronic folliculitis. So one good reason to go get evaluated by your primary care physician is if you think you may have if you have chronic folliculitis. That could be our deficiency anemia.

They're bacterial causes of folliculitis, most commonly Staph aureus, which is a super common bacteria that grows on the skin. There's also hot tub folliculitis, which is caused by a bacteria called Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, which is also seen in cystic fibrosis patients and in burn patients. Actually, Dr. Williams did basic science research as an undergraduate on Pseudomonas Aeruginosa prior to going to medical school. There's also psychosis barbae, which is called barbers itch, which is what Dr. Williams described where he had folliculitis of the follicles around his my neck where he would shave. There's also a condition that's similar to that that we'll talk about here in a second.

Then there's Gram negative folliculitis, which can appear after prolonged acne treatment with antibiotics. There's also fungal causes for folliculitis that includes yeasts. And there's an infection caused by the fungus tinea rubrum, which can cause fungal folliculitis as well, viral folliculitis related to the herpes simplex virus can happen, it's pretty unusual. Then there's not infectious causes. Like there's a pseudofolliculitis barbae which is a disorder that, that curve, occurs when the hair actually grows back into the skin. That's in patients like Dr. Williams who have very curly hair, we, there's a whole list of folliculitis that can be related to sub chemical exposure oils but mostly mostly those are folliculitis that are related to kind of a localized dermatitis, or folliculitis, from oils that are used to moisten or to treat the scab.

If you use a new product, and you start having symptoms like that, the answer to that is stop using the product washing with soap and water and typically those are self-limiting and they'll resolve. So the treatment that we typically do with folliculitis and ingrown hairs, number one, we remove the hair and get the because that's the inciting problem that's causing the inflammation that sets you up for infection if you have an ingrown hair, but then we will treat with typically topical antibiotics that are very effective.

Exfoliation meaning getting rid of the dead skin is important and frequent antibacterial, antibacterial. Then using moisturizers that are gentle, which will also keep the skin healthy, and you're less likely to end up with the folliculitis. So this is a common problem. A lot of people have it. We've run down the laundry list of causes.

So if this is a chronic problem for you, Dr. Williams encourages you to go see your medical provider so we can get the correct diagnosis to get you on the right treatment plan and get you better soon.

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