by Mark Sjöberg.
The best treatment is one that cures and prevents folliculitis.
Finding the right treatment for you is essential if you suffer from folliculitis or related skin problems such as pseudofolliculitis barbae. It can mean the difference between complete recovery or years of misery and scar formation.
Finding the right folliculitis treatment
It is essential to understand the basics of folliculitis in order to find the right folliculitis treatment. So, what is this condition? Folliculitis is when hair follicles become infected by microorganisms or they become inflamed for other reasons. Folliculitis can affect almost every part of your body because hair follicles are a natural part of most of your skin.
If you suffer from “true” folliculitis you may suffer from inflamed hair follicles without the presence of ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs are, however, one of the most typical symptoms of pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB), a condition that is part of the folliculitis family.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae: PFB, or razor bumps, is often seen in facial hair areas that are shaved often but may also arise in a trimmed or full-grown beard. Click here to learn how to get rid of razor bumps.
Pseudofolliculitis usually doesn’t involve the hair follicles but may cause similar symptoms to true folliculitis. Standard treatments may be ineffective because of this variation between folliculitis and pseudofolliculitis. For example, an over-the-counter razor bump treatment product won’t cure folliculitis, just like prescription drugs for folliculitis won’t cure a shaving problem. Such products, whether topical or systemic, may reduce some of your symptoms, but folliculitis is a more serious condition compared to a razor burn or a few razor bumps on your neck caused by ingrown hairs. Finding the right folliculitis treatment is key.
Folliculitis symptoms: The symptoms of inflamed/infected hair follicles, as well as ingrown hair, can be anything from small papules to large boils. Boils may leave scars or cause irregular skin pigmentation if you don’t get proper treatment, so it is important to take action as soon as you are diagnosed with folliculitis. If the infection is merely a secondary infection then you need to treat the underlying disease and associated symptoms as quickly and effectively as possible, otherwise it may return later in life.
Folliculitis vs pseudofolliculitis: It is more likely that you suffer from “true” folliculitis and not just ingrown hairs (pseudofolliculitis) if you suffer from small or large hair bumps on parts of your body that you wouldn’t normally shave or areas that aren‘t affected much by friction from cloth, etc. In our clinic we often see a mixture of inflamed follicles and ingrown hairs – those individuals benefit from following step 1 and 2 in our folliculitis treatment program.
Scars and irregular skin pigmentation caused by folliculitis: Folliculitis, especially deep-seated folliculitis, may cause blemished skin such as irregular skin pigmentation and disfiguring scars. Scars can result in permanent hair loss in the affected area which is a real problem if the affect area is dense in hair such as the beard area or the scalp. Patients who have suffered from deep-seated folliculitis for years often end up with a patchy beard or scalp because of the scar formation.
Scars and wrinkles have one thing in common – they don‘t go away easily! Although it is possible to reduce scars and irregular pigmented skin (follow step 4 in our folliculitis treatment guide) the best thing is of course to prevent such problems from happening in the first place. This is another good reason why it is important to find the right treatment for folliculitis and take action once you find it.
Antibiotics are not always the cure for folliculitis
Traditional folliculitis treatments are not always that effective and may even cause more problems. If you are reading this, chances are you have already consulted your doctor and tried both prescription and over-the-counter medicine to no avail.
Traditional folliculitis treatments: Your physician will most likely try to treat your folliculitis with topical prescription drugs such as antimicrobial creams, gels or lotions. A doctor who specializes in skin conditions, a dermatologist, may even try to cure infected hair follicles with systemic medicine such as oral antimicrobials, usually targeted against bacteria. However, you might find that antibiotics only help a little or not at all. They are certainly not what you would call a permanent cure for folliculitis – not if you suffer from one of the more stubborn, recurrent cases that doesn’t seem to respond to any standard folliculitis treatment.
This condition is usually played down by doctors and dermatologists, who apply the same treatment as they would for acne. However, folliculitis is different from acne, and shaving alone does not cause folliculitis; every person on this planet who shaves would have ingrown hairs and folliculitis, if that were the case! Of course, improper shaving techniques can contribute to folliculitis breakouts, but some men treat their skin poorly and use the worst shaving techniques without experiencing any ingrown hairs and folliculitis whatsoever. So clearly, there is more to the issue.
The risk of bacterial resistance: As you probably already know it isn’t wise to use antibiotics too often because of the risk of bacterial resistance. Another problem is that antibiotics may actually cause fungal infections in the same way that antifungals may cause bacterial infections – the health of your skin depends on a delicate balance between bacteria and yeast. Make sure you get a proper diagnosis before trying antimicrobials, and be willing to try alternative treatment options if your folliculitis doesn’t go away, or if it returns.
Principles of appropriate antibiotic use for treatment of folliculitis: Please note that we are not against the use of antimicrobials. We don’t warn against antimicrobials, as they certainly have their place in treating folliculitis whenever you are affected by any severe, deep-seated infection. Severe infectious cases caused by microorganisms should be treated with antibiotics – your doctor or dermatologist is the right person to guide you in this regard. We just don’t like the casual use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials on patients who repeatedly suffer from folliculitis. In these cases, the infection is a secondary problem and something deeper needs to be addressed. When problems are recurrent the infection is only a symptom, not the main cause. Antibiotics won’t fix a deranged immune system, and if such problems are not addressed, the problem is likely to return. Antibiotics and antifungals also won’t work if you simply suffer from ingrown hairs triggered by shaving or clogged pores, unless of course it involves infected ingrown hairs. Remember that pus formation is not necessary a sign of an infection. It is, however, always a sign from your immune system that something is wrong. The red skin or boils you see could be a message from your immune system that something else is going on, other than an infection.
Symptom treatments – topical steroids can do more harm than good
Topical steroids, such as hydrocortisone (corticosteroid medication), are sometimes used as a symptom treatment for sterile folliculitis and pseudofolliculitis to soothe and calm down any pain and itching, and to reduce redness and swelling caused by skin inflammation. Folliculitis, ingrown hairs and razor bumps are not always diagnosed correctly, so topical steroids could be the next tool you try when antimicrobials fail. You may already have some kind of topical steroid in your medical cabinet, but you might want to leave it there – corticosteroids can never be considered a cure for folliculitis because the symptoms are very likely to return once you stop using this kind of medication. It may also do more harm than good if used as a treatment for folliculitis.
The problem is that topical steroids can’t be used for long-term treatment because of the risk of irreversible skin damage, such as thin, fragile skin (skin atrophy). Regular use of topical steroids may not only cause the skin to develop a dependency on the topical steroids, but you may also become addicted to the immediate anti-inflammatory effect from this kind of immune suppressant. In that way it may become a vicious cycle where the topical steroids won’t cure your folliculitis but instead affect first your skin, then your whole body in a negative, irreversible way, if misused.
Even low-potency topical steroids can cause problems: Higher potencies increase the risk of side effects, but even low potency preparations can be harmful if used for a prolonged period of time – so be careful. The risk of using topical steroids is also that it can actually help an underlying, hidden infection in spreading, thus making the problem worse. Your immune system defends against invaders such as bacteria and yeast – that is why your skin is hot, red, and itchy when you suffer from folliculitis and why you may experience the formation of pus. When you put a damper on your body’s natural defense system by using topical steroids, you allow invaders such as bacteria and yeast to spread more rapidly.
You need to cure and prevent folliculitis
The prescription medicine licensed medical practitioners use, both antimicrobials and steroids, only treat the acute infection and the related symptoms – they can’t cure chronic folliculitis since they don’t prevent hair follicles from being inflamed/re-infected later on in life. You need a diverse folliculitis treatment that treats more than just the symptoms of the problem. If you don’t see any effect from antimicrobial treatments or if you suffer from recurrent/chronic folliculitis, that would be an indication that you need a treatment that affects your immune system and your skin in a positive way so your hair follicles don’t become easily infected by bacteria or yeast – or become inflamed without a pathogen present. Perhaps you suffer from sterile (non-infectious) folliculitis and your symptoms are caused by an aberrant immune response. In this case, an internal treatment approach would be needed. There could also be an imbalance in your skin’s pH level, microflora or your skin’s ability to shed its dead skin cells or produce enough sebum. If so, an external treatment approach would help you the most. We can help you in both situations.
Prescribed drugs such as topical or oral antimicrobials will help if you suffer from infected hair follicles but are ineffective if your problem is caused by a derailed immune system. It will be a waste of time and costly medicine if that is the case, and it may even make your problem worse. Inflamed hair follicles caused by a wrong immune response are not the same as infected hair follicles – there is a difference. However, both conditions would benefit from a treatment that supports the immune system in the right way. It is possible to be cured from folliculitis once and for all, but you need the right treatment – one that cures and prevents folliculitis.
Alternative treatments – is there a natural cure for folliculitis?
Folliculitis medicine vs natural remedies: Many people search for a natural treatment for folliculitis before they try prescription drugs. Some people tend to think that natural treatments are safe, but perhaps also not that effective. In fact, both opinions are not true because some of the strongest poisons come from nature and so do some of the most effective medicines. However, the only true treatment for recurrent folliculitis is one that works with your body, not against it – natural remedies can do this in a holistic way while most synthetic drugs only treat the symptoms instead of the root cause. Supplements, such as vitamins, minerals and herbs, can make a real difference. However, you have to be careful with supplements—even if they are natural—because the wrong supplements can trigger and exacerbate folliculitis, but so can folliculitis medicine. Accurate diagnosis is the key.
Folliculitis exacerbators: One important note to natural folliculitis remedies is that if you stimulate your immune system the wrong way you will exacerbate the symptoms of folliculitis, so you have to be careful. Our treatment guide contains examples of some of the possible folliculitis exacerbators that you should avoid. That includes internal exacerbators, such as certain foods and supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs), but also external exacerbators such as certain additives and active ingredients found in common skin care products. Maybe your symptoms are caused or aggravated by something that you ingest or apply to your skin? Our folliculitis treatment guide explains more about this subject and provides knowledge about the most effective natural remedies for folliculitis. While some of the remedies work from the inside out, others work directly on the affected area. The fast acting topicals provide quick relief, while the internal remedies address the root cause of recurrent folliculitis.
When standard folliculitis treatments fail – try a new approach
Has your doctor given up on you and said that you have to live with your persistent folliculitis or grow a beard to prevent razor bumps? A different, more natural treatment approach could be the answer to your skin problems. Once again, you have to cure the cause, not the symptoms. Suppressing your body‘s reaction with medicine won’t solve your problem. Your body’s self-healing abilities are more powerful than anything else, but this complicated system will fail if you don’t supply it with the right building-blocks. Sometimes it also needs a helping hand to get back on track – not by synthetic one-bullet solutions, but by natural substances that benefit and strengthen your skin and body.
Recurring infections and excess inflammation is not a normal reaction in your body – it is often caused by an aberrant response produced by the immune system. You need to correct that if you want to be fully cured. The best thing is that it is not even that difficult to correct once you know how to do it – it is actually relatively simple and inexpensive. Once you affect the right systems in your body, you will experience a rapid recovery. You should visit a doctor or dermatologist first and see what they have to offer because serious infections need to be treated with antibiotics. However, you might want to listen to us if you suffer from recurring/chronic folliculitis and see little to no effect from antibiotic treatments. Be aware that doctors heavily rely on symptom-treatment and often treat recurrent folliculitis the same way they treat acne. Prescribing one antibiotic after another is not going to cure you if the infection is just a symptom from a failing immune system. Antibiotics are also not going to cure you if your problems are caused by unhealthy skin or a wrong shaving technique. You might want to consider a new approach if you already tried standard folliculitis treatments but still suffers from folliculitis.
Natural based, fast-acting folliculitis treatment program: “Folliculitis: A New Approach” shows you, step-by-step, how you get rid of recurrent folliculitis, ingrown hairs, razor bumps and folliculitis related problems such as scars and irregular skin pigmentation. You can learn more about our natural based, fast-acting folliculitis treatment program here. It is a home treatment that works on both folliculitis and pseudofolliculitis. In addition to the step-by-step illustrated guide, you also get access to our online diagnostic tool that probes for hidden causes of folliculitis. You can start your treatment today – simply follow the instructions on this page.