Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD
Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Folliculitis facts
- What is folliculitis? What are folliculitis symptoms and signs? What does folliculitis look like?
- Who develops folliculitis?
- What are the causes of folliculitis?
- How is folliculitis diagnosed?
- What else could folliculitis look like?
- What are common types of folliculitis?
- What is hot tub folliculitis or Jacuzzi folliculitis?
- What is razor burn folliculitis?
- What is pseudofolliculitis barbae?
- Is folliculitis curable? Is folliculitis contagious?
- What are possible complications of folliculitis?
- How is folliculitis treated?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) with folliculitis?
- How do I prevent folliculitis?
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
What is hot tub folliculitis or Jacuzzi folliculitis?
Hot tub folliculitis is caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This condition is likely to occur from bathing in poorly maintained hot tubs. It is most common on the back and causes scattered pinpoint, small red to purple bumps all over the torso. These may be very itchy or have no symptoms at all. Typically, there is a history of sitting in a hot tub days prior to the start of the bumps. It is good practice to rinse off the skin in a shower after this sort of bathing.
The hot tub should be tested and possibly treated by trained pool and spa personnel for bacterial overgrowth. Affected patients may be more prone to recurrences in the future and should be cautious about hot tub use. Although this condition often resolves without treatment, it may be useful to rinse the skin with dilute vinegar.
What is razor burn folliculitis?
Razor-burn folliculitis is very common on women's legs and is caused by shaving. It may also be seen on the faces and necks of men. Typically, repeated tiny cuts caused by the razor on the skin often create small openings. The minute openings may then allow bacteria to enter the skin and invade the deeper hair follicles. Additionally, excessively close shaving may cause trapping of small hairs beneath the skin surface, causing more inflammation.
Treatment involves stopping shaving with a razor for a few days to a few weeks and using antibacterial washes and topical antibiotics. Additional treatments include laser hair removal, electrolysis, electric razors, or cream depilatories like Neet or Nair. Frequently, shaving less vigorously and leaving a small bit of stubble is advisable.
What is pseudofolliculitis barbae?
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a very common ingrown hair condition on the beard area (lower face and neck) of men. Typically, there are groups of small red bumps on the beard area that may flare with repeat shaving. Pseudofolliculitis tends to be worse with very curly or kinky hair. It can be quite debilitating especially if one's employment requires a closely shaven appearance. Cutting the hair close to or below the follicular orifice results in hairs that penetrate into the follicular wall as they twist and elongate. These trapped hairs cause irritation and inflammation at the hair follicles.
Treatment goals include avoiding overly aggressive shaving, trial of the "bumps-free razor," and antibacterial benzoyl peroxide shaving gels. Other treatment options include professional laser hair removal, electrolysis, electric razors, or a prescription drug called eflornithine (Vaniqa).
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