Folliculitis is one of those conditions almost everyone has dealt with if they’ve ever shaved without necessarily knowing what to call it. It is a form of skin irritation caused by damaged, infected, or otherwise irritated hair follicles. The condition is known to have many forms and causes, but the most common causes have typically been associated with the aftermath of shaving. Learning to shave well is a big deal for most of us as that’s when we finally learn to minimize discomfort and potential aftereffects like folliculitis by reducing the amount of ingrown hairs that we experience. No one is perfectly skilled though and you’re still likely to experience the discomfort that comes with folliculitis sometimes. Fortunately, you can take steps to help relieve it as long as the case of folliculitis is sufficiently mild. Persistent forms of the condition do typically require medical intervention though to provide proper relief.
Wait, what is Folliculitis exactly?
As highlighted before, folliculitis is a skin condition caused by some form of irritation actually bothering your hair follicles. The most common kind, often referred to as Barber’s itch, is entirely from the skin inflammation from ingrown hairs. There are a couple of other common kinds where the hair follicles become infected by one form of bacteria or another though. Barber’s itch is typically associated with redness and irritation around the sites of the ingrown hairs and the potential formation of raised bumps. Others forms of folliculitis tend to manifest whiteheads around hairs due to the bacteria infecting the hair follicle. Both of these forms are mild though and easy to treat with over-the-counter remedies providing you recognize them for what they are. Notably, you can also leave them alone and tolerate the discomfort as well as the condition will typically clear up on its own within one to two weeks.
Most of us don’t want to spend up to two weeks dealing with our skin being itchy, sore, and irritated though. You don’t have to as long as you’re willing to set aside the time to properly treat the affected areas. A common home remedy is to create a warm bowl of saltwater to soak a towel in. Once the towel has soaked up enough of the salt water, remove it from the bowel and remove the excess liquid before laying down and placing it on the skin for 15 minutes to a half hour. It is generally credited as helping to ease the itch for some time. This is actually best suited when strictly dealing with the ingrown hairs though. You’ll want to find Burow’s solution, an antibacterial compound, if you’re dealing with a form of folliculitis that forms whiteheads as that will help fight the bacteria as well. Anyone who has folliculitis from shaving facial hair may want to look for a specialty soap or shampoo to help treat the condition as well.
Treating Tough Folliculitis
Folliculitis can go from a mild to a severe case even if it receives proper treatment. This is far more common when dealing with bacterial folliculitis though. The condition can spread across the skin and even cause a fever in such cases. Doctor’s generally prescribe antibiotics at such a point to help control the infection across the body. These can take the form of pills, but, if you do not have a fever, you’ll likely receive a topical antibiotic or antifungal shampoo or cream depending on the kind of folliculitis that you have turned out to have. You will want to follow your doctor’s instructions as closely as possible in this case as severe forms of folliculitis can actually lead to scarring if you’re not careful. We would like to stress that cases of severe folliculitis are quite rare and not likely to happen, but do pay attention to any area of your skin that is experiencing chronic irritation so that you can prevent any lasting damage from happening due to negligence.
Folliculitis from shaving is generally little more than mild irritation of the skin with some redness and maybe a few whiteheads that lasts for a couple of weeks. It is something so simple that most of us never really even stopped to think it might be anything other than basic irritation. Such things do have names though. You can treat these mild cases with simple, over-the-counter remedies, but should always be alert for such interventions not working in cases you actually need to discuss treatment options with your doctor.