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 isn’t life-threatening, but it 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.
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 skin
- Tenderness or pain
- A large swollen bump or mass