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What Are the Different Types of Hair Follicle Treatment?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The hair follicle, through which a hair emerges from the skin, can become infected and inflamed. This is known as folliculitis, of which there are many different types. Hair follicle treatment will vary, depending on whether the patient has a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. The first step in treatment is an accurate diagnosis and a determination of the cause of the condition. Doctors can then develop a hair follicle treatment plan, which may consist of oral or topical antibiotics, antifungal drugs, or an antiviral.

Laboratory tests may be needed to determine the exact cause of folliculitis. One type of folliculitis is called tinea barbae, which is caused by a fungal infection. If the patient has this type, hair follicle treatment will consist of an antifungal medication. Some commonly prescribed antifungals for tinea barbae include itraconazole, terbinafine, and fluconazole. A patient may also take a corticosteroid drug to reduce the inflammation that tinea barbae can cause.

Another type of skin infection caused by a fungus is called pityrosporum folliculitis. Pityrosporum, a type of yeast, multiplies inside the hair follicles. Patients will notice an itchy skin condition that appears very similar to acne. Those with this condition must avoid antibiotics, because they can worsen it. Hair follicle treatment for pityrosporum folliculitis also requires an antifungal medication, which may be taken orally or applied topically to the skin.

Other kinds of folliculitis are caused by a virus, such as herpetic folliculitis, which may sometimes resolve on its own. Those with compromised immune systems may need an antiviral medication. These include acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir. Some patients may suffer from recurring herpetic folliculitis.

Hair follicle treatment can also address a deep skin infection, such as eosinophilic folliculitis. The exact cause of this is unknown, as of 2011; however, it may be associated with patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Topical corticosteroids are typically tried first. Some patients may be prescribed oral corticosteroids or oral antihistamines.

Patients with folliculitis caused by bacterial infections will often require antibiotics for successful hair follicle treatment. Staphylococcal folliculitis is typically treated with oral or topical antibiotics, such as erythromycin, ciprofloxacin, or clindamycin. Gram-negative folliculitis is also treatable with antibiotics. Those with boils or carbuncles, which cause lumps or nodules on the skin, may also be prescribed antibiotics after the doctor lances the growth to drain the pus.

In mild cases, home remedies can clear up a case of folliculitis. Patients with pseudofolliculitis barbae, for example, should shave with an electric razor to lessen irritation to the skin. A shaving gel and a moisturizing after-shave should also be used. Patients can also benefit from holding a hot, damp compress to the affected skin.

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Discussion Comments

By anon273450 — On Jun 07, 2012

I have been diagnosed with folliculitis. It started six months ago after unprotected sex with a girl. I noticed three blisters on my public hair area and one on my penis. After my STD results came back negative, the doctor gave me Flucloxacillin 250mg tablets which I used for a week. The blisters were gone but I then started getting small red spot in public hair area and lower abdominal area.

The doctor gave me Dermol cream to use and also a body wash as well. As well as the area I used to get them in, I then started getting some around my neck and upper chest also. The doctor gave me Flucloxacillin 500mg tablets (for a week) and a wash which is mainly used for acne. Again no improvement.

Normally, these spots were going away after five or six days, but since I shave my face and also use a body groomer on my body hair, then they kept on coming back a day after each use (I use disposable razors and sterilize the head of body groomer after each use).

By the way, there was no itch to these spots and only inflammation. Anyway, this time the doctor gave me Duac Gel which I used for 2.5 weeks and after three or four days of use, I started getting these new spots on my upper arms (as well as having the old ones) which sometimes were itchy but no inflammation.

These spots are more permanent and although they have reduced in numbers, I still have some on my arms (I don’t use body groomer on my arms). Sometimes I get them on my forehead as well. Any help would be appreciated since the antibiotics don’t help at all and my doctor is not very helpful.

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