How to Manage Folliculitis

Manage Folliculitis
Manage Folliculitis (Image: Creative Commons License, by: creamy_shower, copyright: April 2008, Creative Commons License, by: ilmungo, copyright: November 2005, Creative Commons License, by: David Mapletoft, copyright: may 2008, Creative Commons License, by: psykochatter, copyright: March 2008, Creative Commons License, by: sadalit, copyright: March 2008)

Folliculitis is a skin condition that occurs due to an inflammation of one or more hair follicles. Such inflamed follicles are caused by factors such as abrasions from tight clothing and shaving, an infected cut or surgical incision, existing skin conditions (such as acne or eczema), extended use of adhesive tapes or bandages, and application of substances that may block the follicles (such as make-up and coco butter). The organisms responsible for this type of infection are the staphylococcus, a group of bacteria that normally live on the skin. When infection sets in, the infected follicles will appear like red pimples and may contain pus. They may itch and are sometimes associated with burning sensation or pain. Most infections are just superficial and often heal within a few days. But there are cases where infections are too deep and severe, that immediate medical intervention is needed. Here are some helpful tips to manage folliculitis.

Things You'll Need

  • Lukewarm water
  • Salt
  • Clean towels
  • Anti-itching cream
  • Antibacterial ointment or gel
  • Antibacterial wash and antiseptic solution
  • Antibiotic pills
  • Clean razor of good quality/shaving cream
  • Loose clothing

Prepare a clean towel, soak it in lukewarm water and place it on top of the inflamed area. Avoid scrubbing your skin with the towel. Just compress it on top of the area several times a day until itchiness subsides. Make sure that your water is not too hot as extremely hot water will only dry out your skin. You can also apply some hydrocortisone cream to alleviate itchiness.

Facilitate easy drainage of pus by compressing the affected part with a clean towel soaked in warm salty water. Boil 3 to 4 cups of water and add 1 teaspoon of salt on it. Allow the water to cool off until its temperature is tolerably warm enough for application. Soak your clean towel on the water and compress it on the affected area for 20 to 30 minutes, as many times as you can, in a day.

Use an antibacterial wash such as hexachlorophene to clean the infected area. Also use an antiseptic solution such as Betadine, to prevent or arrest the growth of staphylococcus organisms.

Apply some antibacterial topical ointment or gel such as bacitracin, erythromycin, or clindamycin to promote protection and faster healing.

Take some antibiotic pills such as dicloxacillin, cephalexin (Keflex), or erythromycin. This method is mostly recommended for severe type of folliculitis. In some cases where microorganisms (such as staphylococcus aureus) are quite resistant to some antibiotics, doctors often prescribe combinations of two different oral antibiotics such as clindamycin and tetracycline for treatment.

Consult your doctor about laser treatment for recurrent folliculitis. This is an effective method and reduces scarring that may occur in folliculitis. But there is a negative side to this treatment; aside from being so expensive, it destroys hair follicles, allowing no hair to grow back around the treated area.

Avoid shaving the area until infection heals. And when you do shave, use razors that are of high quality. Make sure to keep them clean to avoid attack from certain microorganisms. Also, put an ample amount of shaving cream on the part that you are to shave. This will provide an easy and safe glide of the razor, avoiding any unnecessary friction.

Wear loose clothing. Tight clothing will increase the friction between the cloth and the affected area. This, plus an added perspiration, will only make the condition worse. So allow your skin to breathe and keep it dry to promote faster healing.

Tips & Warnings

  • When antibiotics are prescribed, make sure to take it religiously to ensure faster healing.
  • If infection persists or spreads with in 2 to 3 days, contact your doctor immediately.

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