A common skin condition, folliculitis is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. It presents around the hair follicles, usually as red bumps or white-headed pimples. If not treated, it can spread and those tiny bumps can become non-healing sores.

Milder cases of folliculitis are caused by bacteria (most often staph) infecting hair follicles. More specific mild types include:

More severe types of folliculitis involve the entire hair follicle and include:

Damaged follicles are the ones likely to become infected. Damage to follicles most commonly comes from shaving, tight clothing, rubber gloves or other rubber clothing that causes heat and sweat, simple skin injuries, as well as Band-Aids and adhesive tapes.

Folliculitis can often be treated without medical help. Using warm compresses on the area and antibiotic creams often do the trick. If your situation doesn’t improve within a few days, contact your dermatologist. You may be prescribed an antibiotic cream or pill; anti-fungal cream, pill, or shampoo; or other medication to reduce inflammation.

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