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Folliculitis is inflammation of your hair follicles. A hair follicle is a sac under your skin. Your hair grows out of the follicle. Folliculitis is caused by bacteria or fungus, most commonly a germ called Staph. Folliculitis can occur anywhere you have hair.



  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. It may be given as an ointment that you apply to your skin or as a pill. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Antifungal medicine: This medicine helps kill fungus that may be causing your folliculitis. It may be given as an cream that you apply to your skin or as a pill.
  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Antihistamines: This medicine may be given to help decrease itching.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or dermatologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage folliculitis:

  • Use warm compresses: Wet a washcloth with warm water and apply it to the infected skin area to help decrease pain and swelling. Warm compresses may also help drain pus and improve healing.
  • Clean the area: Use antibacterial soap to wash the affected area. Change your washcloths and towels every day.
  • Avoid shaving the area: If possible, do not shave areas that have folliculitis. If you must shave, use an electric razor or new blade every time you shave.

Prevent folliculitis:

  • Do not share personal items: Do not share towels, soap, or any personal items with other people.
  • Do not wear tight clothing: Do not wear tight-fitting clothes that rub against and irritate your skin.
  • Treat skin injuries right away: Treat injuries such as cuts and scrapes right away. Wash them with warm, soapy water, and cover the area to prevent infection.

Contact your healthcare provider or dermatologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have foul-smelling pus coming from the bumps on your skin.
  • Your rash is spreading.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You develop large areas of red, warm, tender skin around the folliculitis.
  • You develop boils.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Folliculitis (Discharge Care)

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