Folliculitis is a common skin condition in which hair follicles become inflamed. It’s usually caused by a bacterial or fungal infection.
At first it may look like small red bumps or white-headed pimples around hair follicles — the tiny pockets from which each hair grows. The infection can spread and turn into nonhealing, crusty sores.
The condition can be itchy, sore and embarrassing. Severe infections can cause permanent hair loss and scarring.
If you have a mild case, it’ll likely clear in a few days with basic self-care measures. For more serious or recurring folliculitis, you may need to see a doctor.
Certain types of folliculitis are known as hot tub rash, razor bumps and barber’s itch.
Signs and Symptoms include:
Folliculitis signs and symptoms include:
- Clusters of small red bumps or white-headed pimples that develop around hair follicles
- Pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over
- Red and inflamed skin
- Itchy or burning spots
- Tenderness or pain
- A large swollen bump or mass
Treatment for folliculitis depends on the severity of the condition. Options can include antiseptic washes and shampoos, antibiotic creams, tablets or, occasionally, topical steroids.
If possible, stop shaving, as most cases of barber’s itch clear up a few weeks after you stop shaving.