Folliculitis, an infection that develops around hair follicles, has many causes. Most cases of folliculitis clear up without treatment, but in some cases, antibiotics or oral antifungal medications may be prescribed. Vitamins generally do not help prevent or treat folliculitis, except in severe cases that may require Accutane, a form of vitamin A.
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You can develop many different types of folliculitis. Deep folliculitis includes symptoms such as large, painful bumps, pus-filled blisters that break open or masses on the skin. Deep folliculitis can lead to scarring. Superficial folliculitis causes reddening or small bumps that develop around the hair shaft, or blisters similar to those seen in deep folliculitis. The chest, back and legs are common sites of infection in folliculitis, although the face, neck, thighs and buttocks can also be affected.
Accutane, a prescription drug whose generic name is isotretinoin, decreases the amount of oil your skin releases. Accutane helps several types of deep folliculitis, including gram-negative folliculitis, a form that develops after long-term antibiotic use. Severe cases of eosinophilic folliculitis, which develops in people with severe immune deficiency conditions such as HIV, may also benefit from long-term Accutane use. Accutane will not help superficial types of folliculitis, which may not require treatment beyond home remedies such as hot compresses or anti-itching creams.
Accutane can cause major birth defects if taken during pregnancy. For that reason, the drug cannot be sold unless the purchaser signs a document, called an iPLEDGE, stating that you understand the serious risks of taking this medication. Females must have a negative pregnancy test and agree to use birth control while on this medication, even if they have had a tubal ligation. A single dose of Accutane can cause birth defects, Drugs.com warns. Accutane may also increases depression, suicidal thoughts, seizures, liver disease, blurred vision, severe headache or a blistering skin rash.
Folliculitis in its mild forms, such as folliculitis caused by hot tub use or shaving, rarely requires any treatment. Folliculitis may also resemble a skin disorder caused by vitamin A deficiency, called phrynoderma. Do not assume you have a vitamin A deficiency and try to treat folliculitis on your own with a supplement. See your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. High doses of over-the-counter vitamin A can have similar side effects as Accutane.