Folliculitis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of one or more hair follicles. Folliculitus can occur anywhere on your skin and may be caused by any number of factors, including shaving. Folliculitis may be painful and shows a variety of symptoms, depending on the cause. Steps can be taken to treat and prevent folliculitis.
A few forms of folliculitis can originate through shaving. Tinea barbae is a type of folliculitis caused by a fungus in the beard region that results in itchy white bumps, often surrounded by red skin. Pseudofolliculitus barbae is the inflammation of hair follicles around your beard when hairs that have been shaven curve back into the skin, says MayoClinic.com. Sometimes, the hair follicle becomes infected with the staphylococcus aureus or "staph" bacteria that enters through a shaving cut.
Symptoms of folliculitis can vary depending on the cause, but a rash, pimples, white bumps, itching and pustules close to the hair follicle are common. Pimples may end up crusting over.
A hot, moist compress applied to the area of irritation several times per day may promote drainage of the hair follicle and offer relief. Antibiotics applied to your skin or taken orally are another treatment option. Antifungal medications may be prescribed or purchased over the counter to help control an infection.
To prevent folliculitis from finding you in the first place, observe a few prevention strategies. Avoid shaving if possible, or use a clean blade or shave with an electric razor if you must shave at all. Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing to avoid friction on legs or genital region if either has been recently shaven. Don't share towels with anyone, and wash them in hot, soapy water after each use.
Folliculitis is a condition that typically responds well to treatment, but may return once you feel it is gone. It is also possible for the infection that is causing the problem to spread to other areas of your body.