Medical science has proven that there are several conditions that can affect the human skin and then there are conditions that can affect the hair. Folliculitis is the inflammation of hair follicle. This condition can happen on any part of the body. There is also something known as hot tub folliculitis, which is caused due to bacteria that are commonly found in wet and warm areas.
Causes of folliculitis:
The start of folliculitis is often believed to be when the hair follicles are either blocked or become damaged due to some reason. This could happen when clothes constantly rub against the skin or when a certain part of the body is shaved on a regular basis. There are actually various types of folliculitis:
Noninfectious conditions – There are certain causes which are not caused due to any bacteria and are considered noninfectious. These include:
• Eosinophilic folliculitis can appear in persons who have weak immune system.
• Pseudofolliculitis barbae happens when the hair curves back inwards into the skin and this can lead to inflammation.
• Folliculitis decalvans is a condition that affects the scalp and happens when several hairs sprout from the same follicle.
• Folliculitis keloidalis is the scarring of the nape, which is common in men who have curly hair.
• Oil folliculitis happens when the skin and hair follicles are constantly exposed to a range of oils. The condition is most commonly seen in people who work in oil refineries, engines and have to put on makeup for long hours.
Fungal conditions – There are mainly two fungal conditions that lead to folliculitis and these include Tinea barbae and Malassezia folliculitis. While the former is similar to a barber’s itch, the latter is caused because of yeast or fungus.
Bacterial conditions – There are also certain types of bacteria which can cause folliculitis and these include staphylococcus and gram-negative folliculitis. The former happens in parts of the body, which are regularly shaved, such as the face and upper lip. The latter could happen when there is a prolonged treatment for acne, using antibiotics.
Viral conditions – When the Herpes Simplex Virus infection starts to spread, it can lead to a condition known as Herpetic folliculitis, which can spread quite easily.
Symptoms of folliculitis:
While there is no fixed age limit within which this condition affects people, it is most commonly seen in the early stages of life and can recur later. People living in warmer climates are often more prone to the condition and a deficiency of iron can often aggravate the condition.
If you notice rashes or have an itching sensation near a pimple, it could very well be folliculitis. Similarly, if you notice pimples or pustules in the neck, genital or groin area, it would be wise to get the same checked out.
Diagnosis and prognosis for folliculitis:
Primary tests would include physical exams to check the extent of the condition and which all parts of the body have been affected by the same. You might also be asked to undergo certain tests, which would prove the presence of bacteria or fungus, which could have caused the infection.
In most cases, once treated the condition does fade away, but there is always the possibility of the condition returning.
When to get professional help and possible treatment:
If the condition has become severe and lasts for more than three to four days, chances are the condition is serious, which is when you would want to meet a doctor. The doctor might also prescribe antibiotics, which could be in the form of topical medication or pills that have to be taken orally.
Certain methods of preventing folliculitis or the recurrence of the same include:
• Keep the affected area clean
• Avoid clothes or washcloths that have been used by others
• Avoid shaving, but if you must shave, use a new razor blade or electric razor
Moving onto the details related to Hot tub folliculitis:
This type of folliculitis is caused because of bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. When you sit for long hours in a hot tub that is not cleaned enough number of times, it can lead to this condition. Quite obviously, the condition is most often seen in areas that are submerged in the hot tub, such as the legs, hips, thighs, genital or groin area and buttocks. The regions that are normally covered by wet clothes, such as bathing suits are also more prone to the condition.
Causes of hot tub folliculitis:
The condition is caused by the bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is most commonly found in hot tubs, especially those made using wood. It can also be found in water slides and swimming pools. The condition tends to affect children more than adults, because they spend more time in the water.
Symptoms of hot tub folliculitis:
You will first notice a rash that resembles chicken pox and will eventually turn into a boil. Although the rash will itch and be painful, it would be best that the same be left alone, because this way, it will disappear faster. Normally, the rashes will disappear within a week to ten days, but if you scratch them, chances are that they will spread and take longer to fade.
Diagnosis and prognosis:
Generally, no tests will be required to diagnose the condition, because if you tell your doctor that you have recently spent time in a hot tub, they will be able to understand the condition. A physical exam would be more than enough to provide a proper diagnosis.
The condition will clear on its own within a few days, but if you head to the hot tub, yet again, before it has been properly cleaned, the condition can recur.
Treatment and prevention:
In most cases, no treatment apart from topical antibiotic is required as the condition disappears in a matter of time, but in severe conditions, an oral antibiotic might be prescribed.
The easiest method of preventing the condition is to keep the hot tub clean and control the acid as well as chlorine levels.