Folliculitis is one of the few skin conditions out there that is non – life threatening. However, it is extremely annoying and even socially debilitating due to its physical manifestations.
Maybe you are wondering how folliculitis looks like and what makes is so undesirable to everyone: well, your skin takes on a very unflattering look, that of “chicken skin” and it fills with red, round welts, topped by a small pus – filled pustule.
Do not despair, though. There are many treatment schemes that can cure you, even if it will be only temporary. Folliculitis, in whichever form possible, has one of the highest recurrence rates in the world of diseases.
While it will not cure folliculitis permanently, the treatment actually fulfills its duty and kills the bacteria or fungi causing this skin condition. You might want to remember that there are certain types of folliculitis, like hot tub folliculitis, that will most likely disappear on its own in seven to ten days. Only after this period or if your skin is looking very bad, you should contact your attending physician.
He or she will perform a series of diagnosis on you, trying to figure out if your problem is bacterial or fungal. When your dermatologist gives you a final diagnostic, a scheme of treatment will be recommended.
Generally, the following drugs are included:
- Erythromycin, cephalosporins and trimethroprim are used to temporary control the development of this condition.
- Oral corticosteroids are used in severe cases, along side with prednisone and broad – spectrum antibiotics.
- Topical antibacterial agents are considered standard procedure by those specialists that uncover that the cause of your folliculitis
Hot tub folliculitis
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the culprit when talking about hot tub folliculitis, causing a very peculiar version of the classic skin condition. The most investigated and well known type of folliculitis in the world is neither particularly vicious, nor hard to cure. Actually, the small red dots, swollen and sometimes topped by a tiny pus bag usually disappear in about one week.
The name of this type of folliculitis is not an unexplainable common appellative, but a rather descriptive way of warning people about the places where you can get infected: hot tubs, communal pools and waterslides are the best suited spaces for this bacterium to develop and grow happily. While Pseudomonas actually exists as a saprophytic bacterium on your clothes or the ground you walk on daily, once it hits hot and wet environments, it can cause folliculitis.
One of the few folliculitis forms that are not caused by a bacterium, pityrosporum folliculitis’ pathogen agent is yeast. Not your usual bakery – used yeast, but a different species, much more virulent and contagious.
One important thing about pityrosporum folliculitis is that it is not an infection in itself. This brand of the annoying condition is merely an exacerbation of something that is already there in normal quantities. This overgrowth of yeast is influenced by external factors, such as permanent humidity or heat, and by the low resistance of the host.
Folliculitis decalvans is one special kind of folliculitis, mostly because it does not belong in the folliculitis category. Actually, it is a neutrophilic cicatricial alopecia, causing some very serious scarring and the complete loss of your hair in the affected areas.
The progression of this condition is rather gruesome and unstoppable: the tiny bags of pus, located right on top of a hair follicle, damage the rhythm of hair growth and, eventually, stops it completely. The macroscopic manifestations are easily identified: your scalp and every other part of your skin that has been affected by folliculitis decalvans is filled with a white crust, that tends to break every time you touch. You can remove the white coating, but it will not disappear. It will just grow all over again, larger and more obvious.
After hot tub folliculitis, scalp folliculitis is the most common form of this skin condition. Caused by a bacterium called Tinea verucossum, it affects pretty much everyone, with not preference for age, sex or race. Just like any other kind of folliculitis, left untreated, scalp folliculitis leads, slowly but surely to complete baldness.
The signs are easy to spot if you are going bald already, but if your still have all your hair, you have a great chance of missing them completely. However, this is what you should be looking for: the appearance of small pustules, white – yellowish in color, surrounded by narrow red – circle blisters is a sure sign of scalp folliculitis. Also, if the area surrounding your hairline is itchy or has a different consistence than what you are used to, if it changes color, turning slightly red and blotchy, it might mean that you have been attacked by the sneaky pathogen agent.
Bacterial folliculitis – pseudomonas folliculitis
Though there are some fungal caused folliculitis, most of this disease is bacterial caused. There are two main types of bacterial folliculitis:
- Pseudomonas folliculitis: is a bacterial folliculitis that can be triggered at any time, simply because the bacterium that is to blame lives naturally, as a saprophyte on your skin, your clothes, the ground you walk on, actually protecting you from other, more dangerous and frightening, monsters. However, once you enter an environment that allows it to develop past its normal characteristics, Pseudomonas aeruginosa turns vicious and attacks you hair follicles. So, beware of public hot tubs, pools and even waterslides, since the bacterium loves wet and warm places.
- Staphylococcus aureus folliculitis: pay close attention to this one, since it is the most dangerous one of all the folliculitis types out there: Staphylococcus aureus is a terribly vicious bacterium, being a deadly pathogen for a lot of your body systems, including your urinary tract and even your brain cells. Also, the bacteria are known for being able to develop an extremely antibiotic resistant form, making it impossible to treat.
While most of us are not so attuned to our body to notice the earliest symptoms, they do appear and range from weakness, to irritability and even fever, in some cases. The skin manifestations are varied, but keep an eye out for:
- Edema: is a skin condition that manifests itself by the accumulation of liquid right beneath the upper epidermal stratus, forming small, but obvious bags all over your body.
- Erythema: is an inflammation and redness of the skin, preceding pustules and rashes.
- Rash: in case of folliculitis, these rashes are everywhere, from your scalp, to your inner thighs, your armpits and even your buttocks. They have the aspect of small, red disks, with a white or yellow bag of pus on top of them.
If you are wondering if folliculitis is contagious, the answer is yes. Therefore, avoid public bathing places and do not share your towels and your underwear.
Folliculitis cure – folliculitis barbae
Folliculitis cure is not a myth, but it is also not a guaranteed thing simply because of the high rate of recurrence of this condition. Once you notice the signs of folliculitis, you can apply a topical cream to speed the recovery. If that does not work, you should visit your attending physician and have him or her recommend you some other treatment scheme.
Folliculitis barbae is just another fancy name for barber’s itch or scalp folliculitis, already described above.
Staphylococcal folliculitis – genital folliculitis
Out of all the staphylococcal folliculitis, the most dangerous one is caused by Staphylococcus aureus. This bacterium is terribly vicious and can attack your other body systems very fast. If it manages to develop an antibiotic resistant form, you can be in some serious trouble. Also, a special type of staphylococcal folliculitis is genital folliculitis. Unlike the others, it is quite painful and hard to treat due to its location.