Infections can happen in almost every part of the body, but one place you rarely think about getting an infection is in the hair follicles – but that’s exactly what folliculitis is. Commonly called “hot tub folliculitis” or “barber’s itch” because of the most common activities associated with contracting it, folliculitis is an infection that generally goes away on its on. While it’s not usually a serious condition, however, in extreme cases it can cause hair loss and scarring on the skin if not taken care of.
What is Folliculitis?
A hair follicle is a small pouch that lays host to a single hair follicle. Occasionally bacteria, yeast, or fungus makes it’s way into these follicles and causes an infection. Folliculitis can happen anywhere, but it generally shows up on the scalp, the face, and any place covered or rubbed by clothing.
When this happens, the hair follicle gets red, swollen, itchy and sometimes burns. They can also be accompanied by nausea and a slight fever.
Who does it affect?
While folliculitis can affect anyone, people with damaged hair follicles are more at risk. Some activities can make you more susceptible to folliculitis too, such as wearing tight clothing, swimming in pools or hot tubs that aren’t treated properly with chlorine, wearing makeup that blocks pores and hair follicles, getting an open cut or scrape near hair follicles – even shaving can sometimes cause folliculitis.
Since folliculitis is a pretty common occurrence, it’s a good idea to know the signs of infection. However, most folliculitis cases resolve themselves within 7 to 10 days. If it hasn’t cleared up on its own within two weeks, or you have recurring cases, you should check with your physician to make sure there aren’t any complications and to get a prescription for antibiotics to help clear it up.