The treatments you receive for folliculitis depend on the type and severity of your condition, what self-care measures you've already tried and your preferences for treatment. Even if treatment helps, the infection may come back.
- Creams or pills to control infection. For mild infections, your doctor may recommend the antibiotic cream mupirocin (Bactroban). 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, such as pityrosporum folliculitis. 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. If your condition is severe, he or she may prescribe oral corticosteroids. Such drugs can have serious side effects and should be used for as brief a time as possible.
If you have HIV/AIDS, you may see improvement in your eosinophilic folliculitis symptoms after antiretroviral therapy.
Aug. 21, 2014
- Minor surgery. If you have a large boil or a carbuncle, your doctor may make a small incision in it to drain the pus. This may relieve pain, speed recovery and help lessen scarring. Your doctor may then cover the area with sterile gauze in case pus continues to drain.
- Light therapy with a medicated cream. Also called photodynamic therapy, this technique has helped people with folliculitis that did not clear up with other treatments. In a study of seven people who each had one treatment of photodynamic therapy, six people showed significant improvement four weeks later. In another study of one man, the technique completely cleared his folliculitis. And he remained free of symptoms 15 months after the last treatment.
- Laser hair removal. If other treatments fail, laser therapy may clear up the infection. This method is expensive and may require several treatments. It permanently reduces the density of the hair in the treated area. Other possible side effects include discolored skin, scarring and blistering.
- Folliculitis. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/folliculitis.html. Accessed May 5, 2014.
- Folliculitis. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec11/ch129/ch129e.html. Accessed May 5, 2014.
- Hot tub rash (pseudomonas dermatitis/folliculitis). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/rwi/illnesses/hot-tub-rash.html. Accessed May 5, 2014.
- Pseudofolliculitis barbae. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec11/ch134/ch134d.html?qt=pseudofolliculitis barbae&alt=sh. Accessed May 5, 2014.
- Rajendran P, et al. HIV-associated eosinophilic folliculitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 5, 2014.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 5, 2014.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=740. Accessed May 5, 2014.
- Alexis A, et al. Folliculitis keloidalis nuchae and pseudofolliculitis barbae: Are prevention and effective treatment within reach? Dermatologic Clinics. 2014;32:183.
- AskMayoExpert. Folliculitis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
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- Compton GA. Bacterial skin and soft tissue infections in older adults. Clinics in Geriatric Medicine. 2013;29:443.
- Fraes Diernaes JE, et al. Successful treatment of recalcitrant folliculitis barbae and pseudofolliculitis barbae with photodynamic therapy. Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy. 2013;10:651.
- Laureano AC, et al. Facial bacterial infections: Folliculitis. Clinics in Dermatology. In press. Accessed May 5, 2014.
- Mazza J, et al. Pseudomonas folliculitis contracted from rubber gloves: A public health concern. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2013;69:e93.
- Motswaledi MH, et al. The spectrum of HIV-associated infective and inflammatory dermatoses in pigmented skin. Dermatologic Clinics. 2014;32:211.
- Sardana K. Follicular disorders of the face. Clinics in Dermatology. In press. Accessed May 5, 2014.
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