Folliculitis is an inflammation of one or more hair follicles. It appears as a rash or white-headed pimples or pustules near a hair follicle. It can occur anywhere on the body, but typically affects hairy areas, such as the neck or groin. Follicles can be damaged from repeated friction (such as rubbing of too tight clothes) or a blockage of the hair follicle (for instance, from shaving). In most cases, follicles become infected with the Staphylococcus bacteria.
There are two types of folliculitis:
Superficial Folliculitis affects the upper area of the hair follicle and may cause red, inflamed skin, small clusters of red bumps, blisters that break open and crust over and/or itchiness and tenderness. When the infection occurs in men’s beards, it is called Barber’s Itch. When it is caused by a fungal infection, it is known as Tinea Barbae (ringworm).
Deep Folliculitis affects the entire follicle from its deepest parts under the skin to the surface of the skin. This less-common form of folliculitis is seen in people who are undergoing chronic antibiotic treatment, people with HIV, or people with chronic boils and carbuncles.
Generally, folliculitis is treated with antifungal or antibacterial medications (depending on the causative agent).