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Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles. It is caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus which produces inflammation and turns the follicles into small pus-filled pimples. Follicles are pits in the scalp out of which hairs grow. In severe cases Folliculitis can cause permanent hair loss while in milder forms it causes irritation and is uncomfortable.



Clusters of small red bumps that develop around hair follicles

Pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over

Itchiness or tenderness

A large swollen bump or mass

Pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over


Possible scars once the infection clears

When the follicles are damaged they can become infected and can become blocked by the sebum which is secreted by the gland just above each hair follicle. Follicles can be damaged by:

  • Hair PictureFriction from shaving or tight clothing
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Inflammatory skin conditions, including dermatitis and acne
  • Injuries to your skin, such as abrasions or surgical wounds
  • Covering your skin with plastic dressings or adhesive tape
  • Exposure to coal tar, pitch or creosote — common among roofers, mechanics and oil workers


There are also different types of folliculitis:

  • Staphylococcal folliculitis. This is a common type and develops when the hair follicle is infected by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus when it enters through a cut or wound.
  • Pseudomonas folliculitis. This is also known as hot tub folliculitis because the bacteria that cause it thrive in this environment. A rash can appear up to 8hours to 5 days after the event and will be more severe in the areas where swimwear held the water close to the skin.
  • Gram negative folliculitis. This can develop in people who are taking antibiotics for acne treatment. The antibiotics affect the balance of bacteria that are normally present in the nose causing the growth of more harmful bacteria to increase.
  • Boils and carbuncles. These occur when follicles are deeply affected by Staphylococcus bacteria.


There are some factors which make certain people more susceptible to folliculitis such as:

  • Medical conditions that reduce your resistance to infection, such as diabetes, chronic leukaemia, organ transplantation and HIV/AIDS
  • Friction and rubbing
  • Iron deficiency
  • A pre-existing skin condition, such as acne or dermatitis
  • Trauma to your skin from surgery
  • Long-term antibiotic therapy for acne
  • Topical corticosteroid therapy
  • Obesity — folliculitis is more common in people who are overweight
  • Living in a warm, humid climate



Mild Folliculitis usually heals in approximately two weeks. This can be helped by using warm compresses with white vinegar to help itching and/or medicated shampoo if you have folliculitis on the scalp.

If the infection doesn’t heal, may be need antibiotic tablets or cream. Call your doctor if:

  • The condition spreads
  • The condition returns
  • You have fever above 38oC
  • The infected area becomes swollen, red in colour or more painful


Laser hair removal can be used if the condition persists in returning.

The following steps can help the prevention of Folliculitis:

  • Shower/wash regularly
  • Avoid sharing towels etc.
  • Avoid scratching or shaving bumps
  • Avoid oils on the skin

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Legal Advice:

If you have suffered any medical problems or injury as a result of damage caused by a hairdresser or hair product, you should seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury solicitor. Macks Solicitors have many years experience in handling all types of personal injury claim and will be happy to advise you on making a compensation claim . Contact Macks Solicitors by using the 30 second claim form, visit our website at or call on Freephone 0800 980 9389 or 01642 252828.