What Is Folliculitis?
Folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicles due to infection, occurring anywhere on the skin. It will appear as a small red tender bump, sometimes with a dot of pus surrounding a hair. When the hair follicles get damaged, it is easy for the microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and viruses to enter and cause infection. Folliculitis is common in areas of the body where the hair is rough and frequently shaved. The skin which does not have hair will not have hair follicles. Folliculitis can be somewhat similar to acne, but the only difference is the presence of a hair follicle in the middle of the folliculitis bump. The organisms that can cause folliculitis are Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida species.
What Is Vaginal Folliculitis?
The inflammation of the hair follicles in the vagina due to infection is called vaginal folliculitis. It is also called genital folliculitis. Vaginal folliculitis may be slightly painful, but it can be easily prevented and treated at home. An infected follicle, when not taken good care can develop into a genital abscess which may need medical attention.
When Do You Get Vaginal Folliculitis?
The damage of the hair follicle will cause folliculitis. It can occur due to the following factors:
Shaving, plucking, or waxing.
Wearing tight clothing or equipment.
Hot tub (improperly chlorinated).
Medication applied to the skin, like coal tar.
Touching or rubbing your skin frequently.
Vaginal secretions that contain inflammatory agents.
When the follicles get blocked by sweat and dead skin cells, it can result in ingrown hair and lead to infection. Since the skin around the vagina is thinner and more sensitive, the risk of bacterial infection from razors or other hair removal products is higher. Tight clothing and sweat from walking and exercise can cause excess friction and create an ideal environment for folliculitis. When tight clothing is worn, the follicles can be blocked with sweat and oils that result in folliculitis. Hot tub folliculitis can occur when a person uses hot tubs and heated pools where the chlorine and pH levels are not well balanced.
What Can the Patient Expect While Having Vaginal Folliculitis?
Patients with vaginal folliculitis can have:
Small red bumps.
Pain and tenderness.
Inflamed hair follicles.
How to Diagnose Vaginal Folliculitis?
If you notice a bump or acne when it is painful or infected or cannot be treated by home remedies, it is better to see a dermatologist and make sure you have folliculitis.
When to Consult a Dermatologist for Folliculitis?
A dermatologist will give you tips to help clear it. Some may need medication, like an antibiotic, to remove the folliculitis. Suppose, if the folliculitis is due to shaving, you can consult the dermatologist to get the medication to reduce irritation during shaving.
How to Get Rid of Vaginal Folliculitis?
The folliculitis is treated with medications or lasers. Even after treatment, the infection may recur. Be cautious while treating folliculitis in the vaginal region to prevent the transformation of the infection and scarring.
1. Warm Compress:
Warm compresses can be used to treat mild cases involving just a few infected hair follicles. It will allow the skin to heal. Avoid shaving, plucking, or waxing treatments for 30 days if they are the cause of genital folliculitis.
2. Medications for Genital Folliculitis:
a) Folliculitis Due to Bacteria - Creams or pills can be used to control infection. The health care provider may prescribe topical antibiotic creams for mild cases and oral antibiotics for severe or recurrent infection.
b) Folliculitis Due to Fungus - Folliculitis caused due to fungal infection will be treated with antifungal creams, shampoos, or pills. Antibiotics will not help treat fungal infections.
3. Minor Surgery:
The folliculitis, which turns into a large boil or carbuncle, will be treated by the health care provider. They will make a small incision to drain the pus which relieves pain and aids in quick recovery.
4. Laser Hair Removal:
Laser hair removal techniques permanently remove the hair follicles in the treated area. In laser techniques, the light energy is converted into heat, which will damage hair follicles that produce hairs. This will inhibit or delay future hair growth. But this too will cause adverse effects, like blistering and scarring.
In Which Method Should We Apply Medication to Prevent Folliculitis?
A few people may develop folliculitis due to applying medication like coal tar to their skin. Apply the medication in the following way to avoid folliculitis:
How to Prevent Vaginal Folliculitis?
To avoid vaginal folliculitis, follow the instructions below:
Wear Loose Clothing:
During the humid climate, it is best to wear clothes that are breathable as wearing tight clothing leads to suffocation on the skin. This may also affect the hair follicles. Constant rubbing of the skin can also serve as a causative factor. Wearing tight clothing during workouts may flare up, therefore change your clothes immediately after working out and take a shower.
2. Use Clean Hot Tubs:
Avoid hot tubs or whirlpools if you feel that the acid and chlorine levels are not adequately controlled. Suppose you have a hot tub; clean it and add chlorine regularly. This can help you avoid getting hot tub folliculitis.
3. Wash Your Bathing Suit:
After each use, wash your bathing suit and let it dry. This can help to reduce the exposure to bacteria that can cause folliculitis.
4.Shave With Care:
Shaving is a common cause of folliculitis. Avoid shaving, if possible, consider hair-removing products (depilatories) or other hair removal methods. But they too, may sometimes irritate the skin. If you want to shave, then follow the below instructions to avoid razor bumps:
Wash the skin with warm water and antibacterial soap before shaving.
Applying a good amount of shaving lotion or soap before shaving.
Shave less frequently.
Use a washcloth or a cleansing pad gently in a circular motion to raise embedded hairs before shaving.
Use a sharp blade and rinse it regularly with warm water after each stroke.
Shave in the direction in which the hair grows.
Avoid using an electric razor or guarded blade too close to the hair follicles and do not stretch the skin.
Apply moisturizing lotion aftershave.
Avoid sharing razors, towels, and washcloths.
Vaginal folliculitis may not be a severe condition, but the discomfort you experience from it may spoil your day. Therefore, it is advisable to take proper care of the more sensitive areas of the body to avoid such circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions