What causes Folliculitis
Folliculitis is often caused by hair follicles becoming infected with bacteria causing superficial or deep folliculitis. Fungi or viruses can also cause it. Some of the common causes of folliculitis are listed below.
Hot tub folliculitis
Hot tub folliculitis is caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa and occurs when you spend too much time in a hot tub that hasn’t been cleaned or drained properly. It is sometimes known as hot tub rash and usually appears on your skin a few days after sitting in a poorly maintained hot tub. It can also be caused by swimming in a contaminated lake or a swimming pool that hasn’t been cleaned properly.
Hot tub folliculitis can cause an itchy red rash or pus-filled blisters around your hair follicles. The rash is usually worse in areas where a swimming costume holds water against your skin, such as your buttocks.
Hot tub folliculitis often goes away on its own, but there are topical treatments you can use to help relieve the symptoms. Speak to your doctor if your symptoms get worse, become unmanageable or don’t go away.
Bacterial folliculitis is the most common type of folliculitis. It is mainly associated with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which enters the skin and infects the hair follicles. It is often treated with an antibiotic cream or lotion.
A fungus causes fungal or Pityrosporum folliculitis. It’s usually found in teenagers. It often forms a rash over the shoulders, back, and neck, resembling a cape. If a patient’s acne has worsened or not responded to antibiotic treatment, doctors should consider fungal folliculitis.
Viral folliculitis is usually caused by the herpes virus, which is responsible for cold sores and genital herpes. It often looks the same as bacterial folliculitis but causes painful pustules.
Eosinophilic folliculitis usually occurs in people with HIV or low white blood cell counts. It causes rashes on the scalp, face, and neck.
What increases your risk of Folliculitis?
Anyone can develop folliculitis, but you are more at risk if you:
- have had it before
- wear tight-fitting clothing
- share personal items such as towels and razors
- avoid showering after exercising
- use hot tubs for prolonged periods of time
- have oily skin
- are stressed
- are diabetic
Bacterial infections like folliculitis are more common and more severe in people with diabetes, especially if uncontrolled. Between 30 and 70% of people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes will present with some form of skin condition in their lifetime.
Obesity also increases the risk of developing folliculitis, with up to 70% of obese individuals reporting skin changes. Bacterial folliculitis is common, and repeated exposure can result in permanent scarring or dark patches on the skin.