How to Treat Infected Hair Follicles

The medical term for an infected hair follicle is folliculitis, which is often associated with shaving. According to, folliculitis develops when bacteria enters one or more hair follicles. Folliculitis first develops as a red bump around the hair follicle. If left untreated, the infection can worsen, causing inflammation, pain and weeping. Treating the infected hair follicles requires lifestyle changes and products to resolve the infection, reduce the inflammation and calm the skin.

Step 1

Wash your hands before treating the folliculitis. Use soap and warm water, drying your hands afterward with a clean towel.

Step 2

Squeeze a pea-sized amount of antibiotic ointment onto your clean fingertips. Massage the antibiotic ointment into the affected area. Repeat the process three times a day.

Step 3

Avoid shaving in the area that contains the infected hair follicles. Infected hair follicles often resolve within a week, so you will have to put off shaving during this time.

Step 4

Relieve pain and swelling with ibuprofen, if necessary. Follow the dosage instructions on the packaging label. According to, the maximum single dose for an adult is 800 mg, not to exceed more than 3,200 mg per day.

Step 5

Visit your physician's office if the folliculitis does not show signs of improvement within a week or if it becomes a chronic condition. Severe pain, swelling and discoloration of the skin are all signs of an infection that may need additional treatment with oral antibiotics or prescription antiseptics.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap

  • Clean towel

  • Antibiotic ointment


Shaving in the same direction that your hair grows is less irritating and may reduce instances of folliculitis.


Refrain from wearing tight fitting clothing when you have folliculitis. Friction caused by the tight clothing rubbing across your skin can make your condition worse.

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