How to Stop the Itch of Folliculitis

older man with dry scalp
A middle-aged man has an itchy scalp. (Image: nebari/iStock/Getty Images)

When hair follicles are damaged by friction from clothing or blocked by skin cells, the result can be folliculitis, a bacterial infection. Itching, redness and the appearance of white, pus-filled bumps are symptoms of folliculitis. The condition can occur on nearly any part of the body, with the face, scalp, thighs and groin among the most likely locations. Simple self-care steps can help alleviate itching and inflammation, but persistent or severe folliculitis may require medical treatment.

Step 1

Rub the affected area with an antibacterial soap and a warm, wet washcloth. If folliculitis affects the skin under a beard or on the scalp, use a shampoo made with selenium in place of the antibacterial soap. Rub the area for 15 to 20 seconds. This effort can help kill excess bacteria and encourage fluids to drain from the follicle.

Step 2

Rinse the skin and washcloth with warm water. Place the warm cloth over the skin until it cools.

Step 3

Mix 1 part white vinegar with 4 parts warm water. Soak a clean washcloth in the solution. Apply the cloth to the affected area for five to 10 minutes.

Step 4

Rinse the skin and pat dry.

Step 5

Apply a thin layer of hydrocortisone cream to the area to diminish inflammation and reduce itching.

Things You'll Need

  • Antibacterial soap or selenium-containing shampoo

  • Washcloth

  • White vinegar

Tip

Discard and disinfect any objects that have been used on the affected area, such as a razor.

Apply an over-the-counter antifungal cream to the area in place of hydrocortisone cream if the infection doesn't appear to be improving after two days of treatment.

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