You have up to five million unique hair follicles covering your body. They play a crucial role in hair growth and skin protection, and often we overlook their importance. But when they fall victim to infection, it can become a serious problem that we couldn’t overlook if we tried.
Infected follicles can result in red, pus-filled bumps — a condition called folliculitis. Not only is this inflammation unsightly, but they can lead to hair loss and can have a real impact on your health. So does a cure for folliculitis exist? Let’s take a look.
What Is Folliculitis?
As mentioned before, folliculitis is mainly associated with inflammation. When bacteria or fungi (or in some cases… mites) enter the hair follicle, it shows up on the skin as a red, itchy rash. Sometimes it comes with nasty, little pus-filled bumps that can resemble acne.
Folliculitis can show up on any part of your body that has hair follicles. Although the most common area for folliculitis to occur in women is the bikini area, there are also many cases when it appears on the scalp. In severe cases, women’s folliculitis can cause extreme inflammation that can permanently destroy hair follicles and leave bald spots on the scalp.
How to Distinguish Between Folliculitis and Itchy Scalp
Folliculitis and itchy scalp have many of the same characteristics, and an itchy scalp is almost always a characteristic of folliculitis on your head. However, having an itchy scalp does not mean that you have folliculitis. Itchy scalp can have many other causes that have nothing to do with your hair follicles, such as dandruff, allergic reactions or simply having a sensitive scalp.
If you have an itchy scalp, check the symptoms before diagnosing it as folliculitis. If you’re itchy but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of inflammation or bumps, then it’s probably being caused by something else.
How to Cure Folliculitis
Folliculitis is one of those conditions that takes a lot of self-control to cure. As much as you want to, and as good as it might initially feel, avoid picking at or scrubbing those red bumps at all cost. Irritation could be what initially triggered the problem, so the best way to treat folliculitis is to avoid coming into contact with it as much as possible.
Most cases of folliculitis are caused by bacteria that thrives in an unclean environment. Keep your body clean with a combination of a gentle facial cleanser, body wash and shampoo. Again — don’t try to scrub it away. Just make sure that all skin areas are clean and free of any dirt or grime.
To cure folliculitis on your scalp, try adding essential oils to your treatment. Certain oils such as horsetail plant extract oil and castor oil, will help clean the area and keep your scalp moisturized. Gently massage the oils into your scalp and wash them out after about 15 minutes for best results.
If the itching is just too much to handle, try applying a warm (not hot) compress to your problem areas. It can relieve itching and also help draw out some of the pus that builds up underneath the folliculitis bumps.
Most of the time, folliculitis will go away on its own. It just takes time and self-control to cure folliculitis. If your condition lasts for more than a couple weeks, talk to your doctor about specifically identifying the problem and getting an oral or topical prescription to treat it.
If you think that folliculitis may be forming somewhere on your body, keep that area clean and avoid all contact with it. Be patient, don’t panic, and let your body do its job as best it can.