Folliculitis: Symptoms and Treatment

Folliculitis is a purulent-inflammatory process localized in the hair follicle. This disease belongs to the group of purulent diseases. The disorder proceeds sharply, and is expressed as a red-pink nodule of small size, which two or three days after the onset becomes an abscess, the contents of which is yellow-green. At physical influence on a neoplasm the person complains of a pain.

In the center of the purulent neoplasm, a dark dot is visible, indicating the onion of the hair. In most cases the inflammation subsides, and in place of the abscess remains a spot of small size, with noticeable skin peeling. But in some cases, after the outflow of all pus, a sore can form, which transforms into a scar. On the spot of this scar, hair will never grow again.

Often folliculitis of the scalp, arms, legs and groin continues for no more than a week. Causes may arise from bacteria, fungi, viruses or parasites. Very often this disease is preceded by ostiofolliculitis — a superficial inflammatory process of the hair bulb. Diagnosis consists of a microscopic examination of purulent contents. The treatment is complex, and is based on taking medications.


Factors of folliculitis, which also has the second name of Hofmann’s folliculitis, can become a variety of causes that fall into two groups — external and internal, but in any case, the presence of a microorganism is necessary. Internal factors include:

  • diabetes;
  • increase in the female body of male hormones, which leads to the appearance of hair in places not intended for this by nature
  • hormonal imbalance caused by impaired functioning or thyroidectomy
  • IRR
  • a deficiency in the human body of the protein and vitamins that it receives through food;
  • AIDS and HIV
  • Tuberculosis
  • malignant neoplasms;
  • digestive system disorders;
  • continued use of antibiotics
  • acute course of infectious diseases

The external group of causes of Hoffmann’s disease is:

  1. a wide range of skin integrity disorders, for example, abrasions, burns, insect bites, minor animal scars
  2. unfavorable working conditions in which the skin becomes contaminated
  3. Non-compliance with personal hygiene or lack of skin care. This can lead to folliculitis in the newborn;
  4. complications after laser hair removal or other cosmetic procedures
  5. Long-term effects of cold or hot temperatures. This is why the inhabitants of countries with hot climates are subject to this disease


Depending on which microorganism affected the onset of this disorder, folliculitis can be expressed in the following forms:

  • Staphylococcal — often expressed in places of growth of bristles (chin and skin around the lips) and therefore occurs only in males. Flows in a superficial or deep form;
  • pseudomonadal — resembles the usual acne on the face and upper body. It arises from the combination of antibiotic treatment and hot bath reception, after which the skin is exposed to cold air;
  • syphilitic — occurs with the secondary manifestation of syphilis and is localized on the scalp and on the face where the beard and mustache grow
  • gonorrhea — occurs when untimely or prolonged refusal to treat the underlying disease — gonorrhea
  • Candidiasis — is expressed in patients who are forced to be in a horizontal position (especially when applying bandages)
  • dermatophytic — leaves behind scars and scars. It flows slowly beginning from the upper layers of the skin under the hair, then the follicle and the hair shaft are involved in the process;
  • herpetic — most often observed in males, in areas of bristle formation on the face
  • decalcifying — occurs due to AIDS or HIV infection. The form is characteristic of men, and mainly affects the scalp;
  • undermining — the folliculitis of the scalp in men of any age is manifested. Unlike other forms, it does not look like external bubbles with purulent fluid, but on the contrary — the node with the liquid is located under the skin, which in this case has a characteristic yellowish or bluish color, there is no hair in this part. When you press the bump, the fluid flows without problems;
  • fungal — caused by fungal microorganisms
  • professional — develops in representatives of certain professions who are in contact with chemicals
  • Gram-negative — appears against a weakened immune system
  • Depilatory — occurs in residents of hot countries. Place of localization — shoulders, back, face and neck
  • Tick-borne — occurs after a tick bite;
  • eosinophilic form — occurs only in a group of HIV-infected people.

Depending on the degree of damage to the skin, Hoffmann’s disease can be:

  1. superficial — for this type is characterized by purulent neoplasms of small sizes (up to five millimeters). The pustules are ball-shaped and painted red. A person may not feel pain when touched. Duration — up to three days, after which the pustules break through and become covered with a brown crust;
  2. deep — nodules dense in consistence, have a bright red color, the dimensions do not exceed ten millimeters. Five days later, such a pustule peels and leaves behind a crust of a yellowish hue.

Depending on the number of pustules, folliculitis happens:

  • single — with inflammation of one nodule, it passes through the week on its own, leaving no traces behind it
  • multiple.

On the course of the disease is divided into:

  1. Complicated;
  2. uncomplicated.


The first symptom of Hoffmann folliculitis is the redness of the skin in the hairy area. Then the node begins to form, and in the case of the hacking type — a tubercle with purulent contents. After it is opened and the liquid removed, there may be a scar or patch of skin that is characterized by dryness and lack of hair.

In some cases, painful symptoms may occur when touched, but this is directly related to the type of illness. In addition, burning and itching of varying intensity can be expressed on the affected areas of the skin. Often the person is affected in the zone of growth of the beard and mustache, the area of ​​the armpits and groin, and in some cases on the legs and hips, but this is provided if the woman used depilatory means.


If the disease does not cure in time when the first symptoms appear, complications in the form of occurrence can develop:

  • furuncle — an abscess on the skin
  • carbuncle — acute inflammation of the skin
  • abscess;
  • infectious skin disease of the scalp
  • Scar formation at the site of the rash.


Diagnostic methods are mainly aimed at studying purulent fluid from nodules and determining the factor or microorganism that caused the formation of folliculitis, as well as the detection of associated ailments. During the diagnosis the dermatologist must conduct:

  1. talking with the patient about the intensity of expression of symptoms and possible factors of occurrence
  2. examination and palpation of rashes — to study the intensity of painful sensations
  3. visual assessment of nodules under multiple magnification, which will help to determine the depth of tumors
  4. sampling of secreted fluid for subsequent microscopic examination, planting on bacteria and fungi
  5. skin biopsy, which may be necessary in rare cases
  6. blood test to assess glucose concentration
  7. A series of tests to differentiate this disease from other disorders, which may be characterized by a rash.

After receiving the results of the tests and identifying the causative agent of the disease, the doctor will be able to tell exactly how to treat the folliculitis.


Treatment of folliculitis should be selected for the reasons for its occurrence. Depending on the microorganisms that became the causative agents of the disease, patients may be prescribed:

  • antibacterial medicines or ointments — with staphylococcal and pseudomonas folliculitis
  • antibiotics
  • drugs to strengthen immunity;
  • compresses with ichthyol
  • antiviral agents

In addition to drug therapy, one of the most effective methods of treating folliculitis is physiotherapy, namely the treatment with ultraviolet rays and laser exposure. With the timely begun treatment of folliculitis, you can get rid of rashes for seven days.


In order that a person has never had problems with the skin in the form of folliculitis, you must:

  1. Carefully perform all personal hygiene manipulations of hairy areas
  2. with diabetes mellitus undergoes a checkup at the clinic several times a year;
  3. shaving men and depilating women need only using special means with disinfectant properties
  4. use any antiseptics immediately after any minor damage or damage
  5. timely treatment of diseases that can lead to the appearance of this disorder
  6. protect skin as much as possible while working with chemicals

  7. At the first symptoms of Hoffmann’s disease, consult a doctor, because the earlier the treatment starts, the higher the probability of an easy illness (without complications).