- What Causes Folliculitis?
- What Does Folliculitis Look Like?
- What is the Best Treatment for Folliculitis?
- Quick Tips
- Best Products to Prevent and Treat Folliculitis
- How Do You Get Folliculitis?
- Is Folliculitis Contagious?
- How Long Does Folliculitis Last?
- Does Folliculitis Itch?
- What Does an Infected Hair Follicle Look Like?
- Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Folliculitis?
- Can You Use Coconut Oil for Folliculitis?
- Does Laser Hair Removal Cause or Help Folliculitis?
- Can Folliculitis Spread?
- How to Get Rid of Folliculitis?
- What is The Best Treatment for Folliculitis?
None of us enjoy having to deal with those unsightly, and quite frankly, uncomfortable red bumps that sometimes arise after shaving.
Folliculitis, otherwise known as razor bumps, occurs when the hair follicle gets infected and inflamed.
But luckily, there are things we can do to treat folliculitis and increase your chances of having healthy, smooth skin after hair removal.
This article will explain a little about folliculitis and then let you in on some great tips on how to treat folliculitis and prevent it in the first place.
What Causes Folliculitis?
You’ll probably be wondering how you get folliculitis. It’s a fair question. After all, those irritating red bumps didn’t just come out of nowhere!
But, there are different types of folliculitis.
Folliculitis can be caused by either a bacterial or fungal infection, and it can be either deep (infecting the whole hair follicle) or superficial (infecting just the surface).
For the purposes of this article, we’ll just be talking about folliculitis from shaving.
In this case, folliculitis either results from ingrown hairs, or from damage to the hair follicles by shaving with a blunt razor or shaving too closely to the skin.
Once the hair follicles have been made vulnerable, bacteria such as staphylococcus, which is naturally found on the skin, enters the hair follicle and multiplies to the point of infection.
Depending on the microbiome of your skin (which strains of bacteria naturally live on your body) and what you’re exposed to in day to day life, other bacterial or fungi may also contribute to the infection.
The condition can then be made worse by wearing tight clothes that don’t breath, creating the ideal, moist, warm environment for a bacterial infection.
What Does Folliculitis Look Like?
Folliculitis in a hair follicle looks a lot like a pimple. The affected area often looks like a rash of red bumps, with a few whiteheads. If it gets really bad, there might even be blisters that burst and form weeping scabs.
But wait, folliculitis vs acne – what’s the difference?
Folliculitis and acne, or pimples, look very similar. So you can be forgiven for wondering what the difference is.
Acne arises when hair follicles (also known as pores) get blocked and inflamed through excess sebum production, in part as a result of the bacteria that naturally live inside the pores and feed on sebum.
Folliculitis arises when damaged or blocked hair follicles get infected as a result of foreign bacteria or fungi entering the follicle.
Acne involves bacteria that already live inside the pore while folliculitis involves foreign bacteria or fungi.
Acne is usually stress, diet, or hormone related while folliculitis is usually a result of some damage or irritation to the hair follicles.
What is the Best Treatment for Folliculitis?
Now that we know what causes it, you’ll probably be asking how to get rid of folliculitis.
Unfortunately, the first step isn’t very glamorous: The best thing you can do as soon as you realize you have folliculitis is to stop shaving and be sure to wear loose, breathable clothing.
This is especially important for folliculitis on inner thighs as tight clothing like jeans will definitely make this worse.
After this, treatment depends on whether you want to take the route of natural home remedies for folliculitis, or whether you prefer medicated over the counter products.
Garlic, turmeric, vinegar, and oregano are all antibacterial and antifungal, while turmeric is also anti-inflammatory. Witch hazel is a natural disinfectant which is particularly good for rashes, while aloe vera is soothing and calming to the inflamed skin.
The best essential oils for folliculitis are lavender, tea tree, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. All of these oils are naturally antimicrobial, antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal.
However, note that essential oils can be powerful and should be diluted in a carrier oil.
How to Treat Folliculitis Using Natural Remedies
- Eat more garlic, ideally 3 cloves per day, and for best results, if your stomach can handle it, eat it raw.
- Drink turmeric tea or mix a little into your moisturizer and rub gently over the affected area.
- Use a washcloth to lightly sponge over some diluted apple cider vinegar, diluted essential oils, witch hazel or aloe vera gel.
- Use aloe vera gel as a natural moisturizer over affected areas.
The more conventional route includes using personal care products that are antibacterial or antifungal.
These include antibacterial soap, shampoo, body wash, or medicated creams and lotions.
If things don’t improve after using these products, your doctor may prescribe you with oral antibiotics or antifungal medication. But these are best avoided unless your case is serious.
Whether you take the natural or conventional route, you’ll want to be looking for products that support the folliculitis healing stages and don’t irritate your skin further. Gentle is good!
How to Prevent Folliculitis after Waxing
- Cleanse skin with warm water prior to waxing to soften hairs, open pores and remove any bacteria present.
- Afterward, take a cool shower or apply a cool compress to the waxed area.
- Avoid using perfumed moisturizers immediately after waxing.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes for the first 24 hours.
- Avoid working up a sweat for the first 24 hours after waxing.
- After a few days, be sure to cleanse and exfoliate to avoid ingrown hairs.
How to Prevent Folliculitis after Shaving
- Only shave with a clean, sharp razor.
- Use plenty of shaving foam or shower gel, not soap.
- Shave in warm water, not cold.
- Avoid an excessively close shave as this will increase the chance of ingrown hairs.
- Shave in the direction of hair growth, especially in the inner thigh region.
- Avoid using perfumed moisturizers immediately after shaving.
- In delicate areas, like the bikini line, shave in the same direction as the hair growth.
- Cleanse and exfoliate between shaves to avoid ingrown hairs.
If you’re experiencing strawberry legs after shaving, then please read my article about how to get rid of strawberry legs.
How to Prevent Folliculitis after Epilation
- Use a good epilator.
- Follow the same guidelines as for waxing.
How to Prevent Armpit Folliculitis
Be extra gentle with hair removal in the delicate armpit area. Follow all of the guidelines above, as well as:
- Be extra careful that your razor is clean. If in doubt, give it a rinse with some hot water and a few drops of tea tree oil beforehand.
- Only attempt to remove armpit hair after a long warm bath or shower to ensure the hairs are softened and easier to remove.
- Avoid using deodorant for 24 hours after.
How to Prevent Folliculitis from Coming Back
- Cleanse and exfoliate regularly to avoid blocked pores and ingrown hairs.
- Use all of the tips above to look after your skin during and after the hair removal process.
Bearing all of this in mind, what if you don’t want to make a homemade sugar paste to exfoliate your skin? So, the question is – which products should you buy to prevent or treat folliculitis?
The following list of reviews will give you some great options to choose from.
Best Products to Prevent and Treat Folliculitis
Best Razor for Folliculitis
Best Cream for Folliculitis
Best Moisturizer for Folliculitis
Best Body Wash for Folliculitis
Best Face Wash for Folliculitis
Best Face Cream for Folliculitis
Best Antibacterial Soap for Folliculitis
How Do You Get Folliculitis?
You can get folliculitis in a number of ways through hair removal, contact with someone who has it already, and from sitting in a hot tub.
Is Folliculitis Contagious?
Yes and no. You will need to be in a vulnerable situation in order to contract folliculitis from someone who has it. This means your pores need to be open or already a little damaged by hair removal for the foreign bacteria to be able to enter and begin an infection.
If you play a contact sport that results in sweating, or you share towels, razors or wash clothes with an infected person, it could be possible to pick up folliculitis forming bacteria or fungi from another person.
How Long Does Folliculitis Last?
This depends on how bad the condition is and what you’re doing to treat it.
A mild case of folliculitis should resolve itself in a few days. A case requiring over the counter treatment such as using any of the products listed above should resolve in 1 to 2 weeks.
Does Folliculitis Itch?
Yes, unfortunately, folliculitis does itch. It can also cause a burning sensation.
What Does an Infected Hair Follicle Look Like?
An infected hair follicle may look either like a white head pimple or a small red bump.
Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Folliculitis?
Yes, a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse can be a great way of managing folliculitis.
Can You Use Coconut Oil for Folliculitis?
This depends on the kind of folliculitis that you have, and unfortunately, as it can be hard to tell which bacteria or fungi are the cause of the infection, whether or not coconut oil will work may be a case of trial and error.
This is because some components of coconut oil may actually serve as food to the microorganisms causing the infection.
If you’d like to give it a try, rub a small amount of good quality, raw coconut oil to a small area of your affected skin and wait 24 hours to see if the problem has worsened. If it doesn’t appear to have worsened, you may be ok to try using coconut oil over a larger area.
In this case, the lauric acid in coconut oil may help to fight the infection.
Does Laser Hair Removal Cause or Help Folliculitis?
Laser hair removal is a more gentle hair removal process than shaving or waxing so it shouldn’t cause folliculitis in its own right unless you are already prone to it as a result of an underlying health condition.
But laser hair removal won’t help folliculitis either as it is simply a hair removal technique and won’t help fight the infection in the hair follicle.
Can Folliculitis Spread?
Yes, unfortunately, folliculitis can spread. But there are things you can do to help prevent this such as washing often and keeping your skin dry by wearing loose, breathable clothes.
How to Get Rid of Folliculitis?
Your body will do its best to fight the infection naturally. But following any of the tips in the above guide will help to speed the process. The key is to keep the affected area clean and dry.
What is The Best Treatment for Folliculitis?
How to treat folliculitis is up to you, but the cheapest and least invasive way is to wash gently with antibacterial and antifungal cleansers, moisturize with non-irritating moisturizers and wear loose breathable clothing.
Hopefully, you have found this article informative and interesting and now have enough information to effectively treat folliculitis.
Remember that it’s best to avoid folliculitis in the first place. So be sure to follow the tips above to reduce your chances of getting an infection after hair removal.
If you already have an infection, keep the area clean and dry and be gentle with your skin until it’s healed.
Be sure to comment if you’ve experienced folliculitis yourself. What’s helped you?