Folliculitis is due to inflammation around the hair follicle. It is a common problem that occurs
most often on the scalp, but may occur on the legs, buttocks, or other body areas. Mainly, it is an
inflamed hair follicle. There are many causes of folliculitis.
1. Bacterial infections with Staphylococcus species, rarely with Pseudomonas species (a germ
common to hot tubs and swimming pools) and/or with other germs.
2. Ingrown hairs, tweezing, waxing, and shaving.
3. Medicines that contain cortisone or iodides. Some health foods, such as
kelp (seaweed), and some vitamins contain large amounts of iodides.
4. Being exposed to oils, greases, tars, or other irritants can cause a
5. Rubbing, long-term (chronic) irritation, and friction can produce a
6. Sometimes we cannot find the cause of folliculitis. It is often a chronic
problem that recurs and can be hard to treat. Your doctor will decide
what treatment is best suited for you.
ξ Bacterial cultures and treatment with oral antibiotics may be needed. Your doctor will
decide if you need this.
ξ Avoid scrubbing, friction, rubbing, and scratching.
ξ Prescribed shampoos may be of some help. Your doctor may suggest one.
ξ Topical antibiotic (applied to skin) may help some patients.
ξ It is important to keep your skin well moistened. Folliculitis can get much worse, when the
skin is very dry.
ξ Because the hair follicles are located deep in the skin, treatments may take weeks to months.
UW Dermatology Department
1 S. Park St 7th Floor
Madison, WI 53715
American Family Children’s Hospital
Pediatric Dermatology Specialty Clinic
1675 Highland Ave.
Madison, WI 53792
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have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©10/2015. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6461