Folliculitis is infection or inflammation of one or more hair follicles. It can occur anywhere on the skin.


Folliculitis is caused when hair follicles become damaged or when the follicle is blocked. This can occur from rubbing against clothing or shaving, for example. In most cases the damaged follicles become infected with Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria.

Barber's itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the beard area which is worsened by shaving. Tinea barbae is similar to barber's itch, but the infection is caused by a fungus.

Pseudofolliculitisbarbae is a disorder that occurs mainly in black men. If curly beard hairs are cut too short, they may curve back into the skin and cause inflammation.

Risk Factors

Anyone can develop folliculitis. But certain factors make you more susceptible to the condition, including:

  • Having a medical condition that reduces your resistance to infection, such as diabetes, chronic leukemia and HIV/AIDS
  • Having acne or dermatitis
  • Past damage to your skin, as from injury or surgery
  • Taking some medications, such as steroid creams or long-term antibiotic therapy for acne
  • Being overweight
  • Regularly wearing clothing that traps heat and sweat, such as rubber gloves or high boots
  • Soaking in a hot tub that's not maintained well
  • Shaving, waxing, or hair-plucking


Folliculitis resembles either acne pimples or appear as non-healing, crusty sores. These are typically also accompanied by rash and itching.


A doctor will need to examine your skin to diagnose folliculitis. Lab tests may be needed to confirm whether it is fungal or bacterial.


American Academy of Dermatology American Osteopathic College of Dermatology Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research US National Library of Medicine



Short-term infections are usually bacterial in nature and can usually be resolved with oral antibiotics. Sometimes, topical antibiotic creams or lotions are also utilized in certain areas. Chronic or recurring infections require stronger doses of antibiotics, along with other creams and even some prevention methods to prevent reinfection.


There are several methods you can utilize to help prevent folliculitis. These methods include:

  • Avoid tight clothing, especially Lycra and jeans.
  • Dry out your rubber gloves between uses. If you wear rubber gloves regularly, after each use turn them inside out, rinse with soap and water, and dry thoroughly.
  • Avoid shaving, if possible. For men with barber's itch, growing a beard may be a good option if you don't need a clean-shaven face.
  • Shave with care. Use an electric razor or a clean, sharp blade every time you shave. Adopt habits such as:
    • Washing your skin with warm water and a mild facial cleanser before shaving
    • Using a wash cloth or cleansing pad in a gentle circular motion
    • Applying lubricating shaving cream or gel for five to 10 minutes before shaving to soften the hair
    • Applying moisturizing lotion after you shave
  • Use only clean hot tubs and heated pools.

To prevent further damage to the hair follicles and re-infection:

  • Reduce friction from clothing.
  • Avoid shaving the area, if possible (if shaving is necessary, use a clean, new razor blade or an electric razor each time).
  • Keep the area clean
  • Avoid contaminated clothing and washcloths.


American Academy of Dermatology American Osteopathic College of Dermatology Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research US National Library of Medicine


Folliculitis Videos


If you are interested in financing your procedure, you can do so through our partner, CareCredit. Click the "Apply Now" button to apply right now. If you'd like to learn more about our general payment options, please click here.

Apply Now


Request an Appointment

menu btn

Appointment Request


Other Links