Candidiasis folliculitis is a fungal infection of the hair follicle which, in severe cases, can result in hair loss.
Cause and Effects
Fungi live on skin, hair and nails. Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus, is extremely common, thriving in warm, moist areas of the body. When such an area becomes irritated, for example by scratching, chaffing or shaving, candida can invade and settle in hair follicles creating pustules. When such an infection goes unchecked, it can eventually destroy the hair shaft and result in scarring.
Common Areas of Infection
Candidiasis folliculitis most commonly appears in warm, moist skin folds--for example underneath the breasts, on the inner thighs or groin, in folds of skin on obese persons, on the neck and under arms but it can appear on the scalp.
From Scarring to Baldness
Once prolonged infection destroys the hair follicle, scarring can result in permanent baldness.
Who Is Susceptible
Since candida albicans lives on almost all skin surfaces, anyone can become infected. However, candidiasis folliculitis is most common in people who have compromised immune systems, the very young and the elderly. It is commonly reported in heroin users, HIV patients, cancer patients, obese individuals and infants.
Complications of Candidiasis Folliculitis
According to the Center for Disease Control, once candida albicans infects the hair follicle it can enter the blood stream. Left unchecked the yeast-like fungus can eventually settle in vital organs, including the kidneys, liver, bones, muscles, joints, spleen or eyes.
Treatments and Resistance
The fist line of defense is to keep the susceptible areas clean and dry. Once infected, candidias folliculitis is treated with anti-fugal medications, such as clotrimozole, flucanazole and nystatin. However, the fungus can become resistant to antifungal treatment over time so it is important to see your doctor for evaluation if you think you have candidiasis folliculitis.