Folliculitis? - Folliculitis Home Remedies

In This Article

Types of folliculitis
Folliculitis Home Remedies
Homeopathic Remedies
What Causes Folliculitis?
Signs and Symptoms of Folliculitis
Risk Factors of Folliculitis
Complications of Folliculitis
How to Prevent Folliculitis

Folliculitis is the painful infection of the hair follicles that can be treated with home remedies. Antibacterials found in the kitchen like white vinegar, garlic, turmeric and coconut oil are excellent against folliculitis. Equally effective are herbs like thyme, honeysuckle, and goldenseal. You can also try using tea tree oil, neem leaves and aloe vera that work well to get rid of the infection.
Your hair follicles are the small cavities around the roots of your hair. At first, you may notice whiteheads or small red bumps around your hair follicles. Once the infection spreads, it can turn into crusty sores that are slow to heal.

Folliculitis home remedies are very important to help treat the irritating bacterial skin infection. Folliculitis is actually a type of acne breakout, or skin abscess.You can have the condition anywhere on the body where there is hair, but it is most common on the face, scalp, armpits, back, chest, neck, thighs, and buttocks. The infection could affect just one hair follicle or multiple follicles.


Types of folliculitis
The two main types of folliculitis are superficial and deep. The superficial type involves part of the follicle, and the deep type involves the entire follicle and is usually more severe.

Forms of superficial folliculitis include:

  • Bacterial folliculitis. This common type is marked by itchy, white, pus-filled bumps. It occurs when hair follicles become infected with bacteria, usually Staphylococcus aureus (staph). Staph bacteria live on the skin all the time. But they generally cause problems only when they enter your body through a cut or other wound.
  • Hot tub folliculitis (pseudomonas folliculitis). With this type you may develop a rash of red, round, itchy bumps one to two days after exposure to the bacteria that causes it. Hot tub folliculitis is caused by pseudomonas bacteria, which is found in many places, including hot tubs and heated pools in which the chlorine and pH levels aren't well-regulated.
  • Razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae). This is a skin irritation caused by ingrown hairs. It mainly affects men with curly hair who shave too close and is most noticeable on the face and neck. People who get bikini waxes may develop barber's itch in the groin area. This condition may leave dark raised scars (keloids).
  • Pityrosporum (pit-ih-ROS-puh-rum) folliculitis. This type produces chronic, red, itchy pustules on the back and chest and sometimes on the neck, shoulders, upper arms and face. This type is caused by a yeast infection.

Forms of deep folliculitis include:

  • Sycosis barbae. This type affects males who have begun to shave.
  • Gram-negative folliculitis. This type sometimes develops if you're receiving long-term antibiotic therapy for acne.
  • Boils (furuncles) and carbuncles. These occur when hair follicles become deeply infected with staph bacteria. A boil usually appears suddenly as a painful pink or red bump. A carbuncle is a cluster of boils.
  • Eosinophilic (e-o-sin-o-FILL-ik) folliculitis. This type mainly affects people with HIV/AIDS. Signs and symptoms include intense itching and recurring patches of bumps and pimples that form near hair follicles of the face and upper body. Once healed, the affected skin may be darker than your skin was previously (hyperpigmented). The cause of eosinophilic folliculitis isn't known.


Injuries Can Lead To Folliculitis
An injury (from shaving, rough clothes or blockages caused by sweat, makeup, etc) to the hair follicle causes it to get infected and result in folliculitis. The presence of pustules alone does not indicate an infection; there are many noninfectious types of folliculitis, too.2 Remember, some people like those with diabetes or a weak immune system could be more prone to developing folliculitis than others.


How Do You Know You Have Folliculitis?
If you have tender pimples that itch or burn with a hair in the center, it is most likely folliculitis. The pimples may have pus in them and at the height of the infected stage, when the pimples break open, they may drain pus or blood, or both.


Folliculitis Home Remedies

In acute cases, folliculitis is thought to be minor, and treatment may not be necessary. However, medical treatment will be necessary when there is skin irritation, as well as a fever, pus-filled and smelly bumps, or a spreading rash.
When folliculitis is slow to heal, your doctor may recommend prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or antihistamines to relieve itching or pain.

Bacterial folliculitis treatment in particular will include a variation of oral or topical antibiotics and antibacterial skin washes with benzoyl peroxide, “Phisoderm,” or chlorhexidine. Antifungal medications, shampoos, or creams may also treat yeast or fungal folliculitis.
Chronic cases of folliculitis can also be difficult to treat and may require antibiotics and other drugs. If all conventional treatment fails, your doctor may suggest laser hair removal.

  • Coconut Oil
    Coconut oil is more than just a healthy fat for cooking. Coconut oil contains several important compounds that are useful for the skin, including the fatty acids capric acid and lauric acid. Both lauric acid and capric acid are later converted to monocaprin and monolaurin that help protect the skin.

    The antibacterial effects of capric acid and lauric acid were displayed in a 2014 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science. Use virgin coconut oil and apply it to your infected area daily.

  • Tea Tree Oil
    For those with scalp folliculitis, using a shampoo which contains tea tree oil is considered to be beneficial. Tea tree oil is believed to be a natural germicide. It has the ability to disrupt the permeability barrier of cell membrane structures of the disease-causing microbes. Regular use of tea tree oil shampoo can help prevent the recurrence of scalp folliculitis.

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    Neem leaves or neem oil is credited with antiseptic and antifungal properties. Neem oil is made from the seeds and fruit of an evergreen tree called Azadirachta indica. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, neem is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including folliculitis.

    What is an effective natural folliculitis treatment with neem? You can either use neem oil or boil some neem leaves. Both natural home remedies can be rubbed onto the area infected with folliculitis. It is a good idea to apply neem treatment two to three times daily for the fastest results.

  • Garlic
    Like tea tree oil, garlic also has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It is also a rich source of sulfur which is beneficial in preventing various skin disorders. However, care should be taken when opting for this herbal treatment. Since garlic is strong, applying garlic directly on the infected follicle can burn the skin.

  • Aloe Vera
    Aloe vera is another natural folliculitis treatment home remedy due to its potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve the burning and itching associated with folliculitis. It also allows your skin to heal naturally.

    Aloe vera gel or juice from the inner fillet is the option to treat skin conditions, and it should be applied to your infected skin for about 15 minutes. Aloe vera can also effectively treat skin conditions when combined with coconut oil and jojoba oil.

  • Thyme
    Another easy to use herbal treatment is thyme. Thyme contains thymol, a chemical compound that has antibacterial properties that can help clear staphylococcus infection in folliculitis.

  • Turmeric
    Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one of the most famous natural home remedies used in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. It contains the potent anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin that has been demonstrated to treat skin disorders like folliculitis.

    To use turmeric for folliculitis, simply dissolve one teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of water and consume twice daily for fast results.

  • Honeysuckle
    This herbal plant is believed to be a good home remedy for folliculitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in calming and soothing the aggravated follicles.7 Honeysuckle needs to be taken internally. Having a concoction made from boiling honeysuckle leaves with water will help fight the bacteria from within.

  • Vinegar
    Vinegar is used to decrease the occurrence of rashes due to folliculitis. Both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are often used to help relieve folliculitis. Apple cider vinegar in particular contains antibacterial, antiseptic, and antiviral properties.

    To treat the condition, combine one part either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and two parts water (the water should be at room temperature). Use a clean cloth and apply it to your irritated skin for five to 10 minutes.

  • Goldenseal
    Goldenseal, a small perennial herb, is a good antimicrobic agent with bacteriostatic activity against a host of bacteria, especially staphylococcus aureus.8 Like honeysuckle, goldenseal should also be taken internally as soon as the symptoms appear. It can also be used by making a paste using powdered goldenseal and water. This paste needs to be applied directly to the affected area which is then covered with a clean bandage and left on overnight.

  • Witch Hazel
    Witch hazel is also a natural folliculitis treatment. Native Americans have long recognized witch hazel as a treatment for skin irritations. Witch hazel contains astringent properties like tannins, which help alleviate the pain and itching associated with folliculitis.

    Witch hazel also helps treat other skin conditions like chest acne and varicose veins.
    Dab a cotton ball with witch hazel on the areas of your skin that are infected with folliculitis. It is a good idea to choose an unscented and alcohol-free witch hazel.

  • Oil of Oregano
    Oil of oregano (Origanum vulgare) is also among the natural home remedies for folliculitis, and other skin problems. Oil of oregano contains potent antibacterial properties such as carvacrol and terpenes. It also has thymol, which works as a natural fungicide with antiseptic properties.

    Oil of oregano is best used on the skin when combined with carrier oils like sweet almond, jojoba, or grapeseed oil. It is important to note that oil of oregano should be avoided on sensitive or broken skin since it can cause irritation.

  • Treat with Essential Oils
    Another effective and natural folliculitis treatment includes essential oils. The antibacterial and antiseptic properties in some essential oils help rashes clear up faster when used on a regular basis.

    Mix a few drops on essential oils in an equal amount of water. When you apply the essential oil combination three to four times daily, you will likely see folliculitis disappear in less than a week.

    Natural essential oils include thyme, lavender, tea tree oil, lemon, geranium, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, cinnamon, and bergamot.

  • Homeopathic Remedies
    Homeopathic remedies are also considered effective for folliculitis. Certain homeopathic remedies that you should include in your home kit for folliculitis include pyrogenium, graphites, thuja, Sulphur iodatum, hydrastis, Arsenicum album, sulphuricum acidum, anthracinum, erysipelas, Hepar sulphuris, lachesis, Carbo vegetabilis, Secale cornutum, and Tarantula cubensis.
    It is a good idea to consult with a homeopath who will help select the most appropriate remedy for you.

    Bonus folliculitis home remedies include:

  1. Increasing your water intake: You should aim to drink eight to 10 glasses of filtered water daily. Drinking water helps to stimulate the immune system and prevent further infection.

  2. Traditional Chinese medicine: In traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus root is used in combination with other herbs for spleen insufficiency, especially when diarrhea is also present during folliculitis. Other effective remedies include Echinacea, goldenseal, and cleavers.

  3. Hot water compress: A hot water compress will also ease itching and reduce inflammation linked with folliculitis.

  4. Change bed sheets: It is also a good idea to change your bed sheets often—daily if you can.

  5. Soothing soak: Pain and itching symptoms may also be lessened by soaking in a tub of anti-inflammatory oatmeal or a cup of baking soda.

  6. Proper hygiene: Cleanse the infected area twice daily with warm water and antibacterial soap. Always use clean hands and a clean towel for drying.


What Causes Folliculitis?
The bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus often causes bacterial folliculitis. Inadequate water treatment with chlorine or bromine will also lead to the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa that leads to hot tub folliculitis.Pseudofolliculitis barbae and ingrown hairs will cause barber’s itch. Pityrosporum folliculitis is caused by a yeast infection. 

There are also other common causes of folliculitis:

  • A weakened immune system
  • Skin injuries caused by shaving
  • Tight clothing that irritates the skin
  • Not showering after excessive sweating from hot yoga or an intense workout
  • Heat and sweat from wearing rubber gloves
  • Skin conditions like acne and dermatitis
  • Obese people are also at a higher risk of folliculitis


Signs and Symptoms of Folliculitis
What are the most common signs and symptoms of folliculitis? When the signs and symptoms don’t disappear after a few days, it is a good time to see your doctor.

Here are a few symptoms and signs you may notice with folliculitis:

  • Pimples or pus-filled bumps that crust over; they can be yellow, white, and red
  • A large swollen mass or bump
  • Inflamed and red skin
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Burning, swelling, soreness, or itchy skin


Risk Factors of Folliculitis
Folliculitis can be a problem for anyone. But there are a few factors that make a person more susceptible to folliculitis. Some of these factors include:

  • Having diseases that decrease your resistance to infection, such as chronic leukemia, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
  • Having dermatitis or acne
  • Taking certain medications like long-term antibiotic therapy or steroid creams for acne
  • Soaking in a hot tub with poor maintenance
  • Regular wearing of clothing that traps sweat and heat, like high boots or rubber gloves
  • Shaving coarse or curly hair
  • Being overweight
  • Having a history of skin damage due to injuries or surgery


Complications of Folliculitis
Are there any complications associated with folliculitis? There are certain things to keep in mind when it comes to folliculitis. Some of the possible complications associated with folliculitis include:

  • Boils under the skin
  • Large, inflamed patches of skin
  • Recurring or spreading infections
  • Permanent hair loss or destruction of hair follicles
  • Permanent skin damage that includes dark spots or scarring


How to Prevent Folliculitis
Do you want to avoid folliculitis altogether? How can you prevent or keep the folliculitis from spreading? Here are several ways you can prevent folliculitis:

  • Avoid wearing tight or irritating clothing: This method will decrease friction between your clothing and skin.
  • Avoid shaving over bumps on your skin: Limit shaving or trim hair instead. If you have to shave, then change your razor blade every time, or use an electric razor; apply generous amounts of shaving cream before you start; shave in the direction of hair growth; and moisturize well afterwards.
  • Wash with warm water: When you shower or bathe, wash your skin with warm water and natural antibacterial soap.
  • Avoid using oils on your skin: Using oils on your skin should be avoided since oils can trap bacteria in your skin pores, and folliculitis can develop. Use skincare products without harsh chemicals.
  • Use clean towels: If you already have folliculitis, make sure you use a clean towel and washcloth. Also, never scratch your bumps.
  • Utilize clean tubs: Only use clean heated pools and hot tubs.
  • Dry out rubber gloves: If you frequently wear rubber gloves, clean them properly. Turn them inside out after each use, rinse them with water and soap, and dry them well.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Avoid common allergens like nuts, gluten, dairy, and shellfish, as well as fried foods, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and processed foods. Instead, consume organic vegetables and fruit, clean lean protein, and anti-inflammatory foods like coconut oil, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.


Treatments for folliculitis depend on the type and severity of your condition, what self-care measures you've already tried and your preferences. Options include medications and interventions such as laser hair removal. Even if treatment helps, the infection may come back.


  • Creams or pills to control infection. For mild infections, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic cream, lotion or gel. Oral antibiotics aren't routinely used for folliculitis. But for a severe or recurrent infection, your doctor may prescribe them.
  • Creams, shampoos or pills to fight fungal infections. Antifungals are for infections caused by yeast rather than bacteria. Antibiotics aren't helpful in treating this type.
  • Creams or pills to reduce inflammation. If you have mild eosinophilic folliculitis, your doctor may suggest you try a steroid cream to ease the itching. If you have HIV/AIDS, you may see improvement in your eosinophilic folliculitis symptoms after antiretroviral therapy.

Other interventions

  • Minor surgery. If you have a large boil or carbuncle, your doctor may make a small incision in it to drain the pus. This may relieve pain, speed recovery and lessen scarring. Your doctor may then cover the area with sterile gauze in case pus continues to drain.
  • Laser hair removal. If other treatments fail, long-term hair removal with laser therapy may clear up the infection. This method is expensive and often requires several treatments. It permanently removes hair follicles, thus reducing the density of the hair in the treated area. Other possible side effects include discolored skin, scarring and blistering.

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