When red inflamed bumps appear it’s easy to assume it’s just acne, but it could be a sign of an infected hair follicle. This common skin problem, which is referred to as folliculitis, is caused by either bacteria or fungus and can develop just about anywhere on the body or face. While minor cases may be treated at home, it’s also important to recognize when you should turn to a dermatologist for care.
What are the signs and symptoms of folliculitis?
You could have folliculitis if you notice,
- Small red bumps that develop around hair follicles (most common on the legs)
- Bumps that contain pus
- Bumps that blister or burst open
- Tender, itchy, or burning skin around these bumps
It can be easy to mistake folliculitis for other skin disorders and conditions, so it’s also a good idea to see a dermatologist if your symptoms don’t go away in a few days or if your symptoms are widespread or spreading.
What are the types of folliculitis?
There are different forms of folliculitis. The most common type is known as razor bumps, which you may notice around the groin or face, especially in those with naturally curly hair. “Hot tub” folliculitis is a bacterial infection that is often found in hot tubs (as well as heated pools) and can lead to a red, itchy, and bumpy rash.
Bacterial folliculitis is a common form and is characterized by whitehead-like or pus-filled bumps. This is a sign of a Staph infection and should be treated by a dermatologist as soon as possible.
How is folliculitis treated?
A lot will depend on the cause; however, treatment is often necessary if the infection doesn’t go away within a few days. Bacterial infections will respond best to antibiotics while yeast infections and other fungi will require antifungal medications. Of course, there are a ton of skin conditions and infections that can cause similar symptoms, so it’s always best to see a dermatologist before trying over-the-counter remedies.
If you notice any signs of a new or worsening skin infection, it’s always a good idea to turn to your dermatologist right away for a proper evaluation and to make sure you get the appropriate treatment you need to get rid of the infection fast.