Staphylococcal folliculitis forms when the bacteria staphylococcal aureus infects a hair follicle, causing a small, yet painful pimple. According to the Merck Manual, it spreads by direct contact, touching infected objects or through the air.
According to KidsHealth, folliculitis is more common in areas where skin becomes irritated or suffers from friction. Shaved areas are particularly susceptible to infection. The infection forms a pimple surrounding the hair shaft. With good skin care, folliculitis often clears without medication. Sometimes, the infection spreads to affect surrounding tissue, and the folliculitis forms a boil. The area reddens and swells, and the skin above the boil becomes tender. Hot compresses help to relieve the boil in many cases; however, it may require oral antibiotics or surgical draining. Mayo Clinic indicates that small boils often heal without leaving scars, but larger ones cause a scar to form. It recommends folliculitis sufferers see their doctor if the infection does not clear in a few days.
Barber's Itch is a form of folliculitis that primarily affects black men who shave. The bacteria enter the skin through tiny cuts left by the razor. As shaving continues, the infection grows worse, according to Mayo Clinic. Severe cases leave dark, raised scars known as keloids.