What is Folliculitis?
Folliculitis literally means “inflammation of the hair follicles” and is usually caused by infection or irritation from hair removal.
It’s often assumed that folliculitis equates to an infection. When infected, Staphylococcus bacteria is the usual cause. This bacteria is carried by many of us on the skin and at the front of the nose.
Folliculitis is most often caused by physical irritation to hair-bearing skin. Think of shaving, waxing and other methods of hair removal.
Folliculitis may be recurrent, severe and distressing. At the other end of the scale, many people have mild folliculitis that may be picked up for the first time by a skin cancer doctor. Most people with folliculitis do not have underlying medical problems although it may be associated with Type 2 diabetes, obesity, immunosuppression, and chronic antibiotic use.
Folliculitis is neatly divided into two types
- Superficial folliculitis – affecting the upper part of the hair nearest the surface. This type of folliculitis may be itchy.
- Deep folliculitis – affecting the whole depth of hair, causing larger lesions that may be painful. A boil is a type of deep hair follicle infection.