Folliculitis is a condition that occurs when an infection causes one or more hair follicles to become inflamed. The condition's affect on hair growth varies depending on its severity and the type of folliculitis. Hair growth may not be affected, or the condition could cause permanent hair loss and scarring.
Folliculitis can be categorized as fungal, bacterial, viral or non-infectious. Common causes of folliculitis include tight clothing, shaving, insect bites or sitting in a hot tub that wasn't cleaned properly. Symptoms may include a rash, an itching sensation, and either pimples or pustules around the hair follicle. A person with symptoms should avoid sharing anything he uses on his skin, such as towels, washcloths or razors.
A person can treat mild cases of folliculitis by keeping the affected area cool and exposed to fresh air. Improvement usually occurs within a few days, and the condition can last from seven to 10 days. Fungal folliculitis tends to take longer to heal than bacterial folliculitis. Moisturizer, particularly one with an antibacterial agent, may help treat the condition. More severe cases may require antibiotics.
Signs of a more serious infection include a fever higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the condition spreading or reappearing after treatment, or the person developing boils. In situations such as those, a doctor should be notified.