Inflamed and infected hair follicles are the defining features of a medical condition formally called folliculitis. Hair follicles become irritated when something damages them, according to MedlinePlus. Factors that can cause damaged hair follicles include shaving, having an inflammatory skin disease like acne or wearing tight clothes that rub against the skin. Once follicles are damaged, bacteria, fungi and viruses can infect them and make inflammation worse, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although mild folliculitis usually clears up without intervention and more severe cases require medical assistance, certain practices can still reduce inflammation and prevent recurrences.
Stop participating in practices or situations that cause or increase follicle damage, such as removing hair on your body by tweezing or waxing, pursuing activities that make you sweat excessively and soaking in hot water like that found in hot tubs, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Treat any underlying condition that contributes to your folliculitis. Apply appropriate topical acne products to your skin to eliminate pimples if you have acne, for example.
Press a moist, warm cloth against inflamed areas three or more times a day to reduce irritation and promote drainage if follicles contain fluid. Add white vinegar to the cloth for additional relief, if desired.
Wash inflamed areas twice a day with a clean cloth and antibacterial soap. Dry your skin afterward with a clean towel. Rub a nonprescription antibiotic product, such as a lotion or ointment, into the skin after washing for extra relief, if needed.
Apply a nonprescription product with hydrocortisone or a lotion containing oatmeal to inflamed areas to alleviate itching, if necessary.
Launder clothing, towels and washcloths after every occasion they come into contact with inflamed areas. Use hot water and detergent to clean the items properly.