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Different Types of Folliculitis

folliculitis bump with pus

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  • To diagnose folliculitis better, the different bacterial strains correspond to different types of folliculitis
  • Knowing the specific type is especially important to get the necessary treatment, as some types do not respond to a generalized treatment

There are different possible causes for folliculitis, including infection, chemical exposure or simply too much friction. Because of the wide array of possible triggers, folliculitis can be divided into different types and subtypes. Knowing the specific type is especially important to get the necessary treatment, as some types do not respond to a generalized treatment.

What Are the Types of Folliculitis?

Folliculitis may develop when the follicles become infected by viruses, bacteria or fungi. However, bacterial infections are the most common cause. To diagnose folliculitis better, the different bacterial strains correspond to different types of folliculitis. Some of these types are:

  • Bacterial folliculitis. This type of folliculitis happens when the hair follicles become infected by some kind of bacteria, which is commonly the staphylococcus aureus bacteria, aka staph. It is commonly characterized by small red bumps filled with pus.1 This type of bacteria is commonly found on the surface of the skin, but may only cause problems when they find their way into the follicle opening.2
  • Pseudomonas folliculitis. Commonly known as hot tub folliculitis, this is usually caught from hot tubs and heated pools with unregulated pH balance, which is where the pseudomonas bacteria usually thrive. The bumps develop one to two days from the day of exposure and go away after about seven days.3
  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae. Also called razor bumps, this skin irritation is caused by ingrown hair, especially in men who shave too close to the skin. This type is usually seen on the neck or the face.4
  • Pityrosporum folliculitis. This type of folliculitis is commonly caused by a yeast infection. It is normally seen on the back and chest, but may also develop on the neck, shoulders and upper arms.5
  • Folliculitis decalvans. A type of alopecia, folliculitis decalvans refers to folliculitis found on the scalp. This widespread infection of the hair follicles on the head can cause permanent hair loss due to deep scarring.6

What Is Deep Folliculitis?

Patients with superficial folliculitis also have the risk of developing deep folliculitis, a more severe and painful type of this skin condition. In most cases, deep folliculitis may require a longer time to heal and cause scarring. Some of the types of deep folliculitis are:

  • Sycosis barbae. Common folliculitis normally affects the upper part of the hair follicle, but it is possible that a more severe infection can take place. When a deeper part of the hair follicle becomes infected, this is what’s called sycosis barbae. It is one of the most common causes of scarring when it comes to folliculitis.7
  • Gram-negative folliculitis. Often mistaken for acne, gram-negative folliculitis is characterized by flare ups of pustules and lesions. When suspected acne patients do not respond to treatment, there is a high chance that it’s this kind of folliculitis.8

Types of Eosinophilic Pustular Folliculitis (EPF)

Eosinophilic pustular folliculitis refers to a type of skin condition that is caused by an unknown factor. This term was first coined in 1965, when a research team observed follicular pustules on a woman’s back, face and chest. One of the proposed causes of this type of folliculitis is a disorganized immune system, which may cause hyperreactivity of saprophytes.9 Eosinophilic pustular folliculitis can be divided into subtypes, depending on the possible triggers. These include:

  • Infantile eosinophilic folliculitis. This type of EPF develops within the first 24 hours after being born to about three years of life. Parents of infants who suffer from this condition will notice recurrent pustules on the scalp, face, neck and trunk.10
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus-associated. HIV-positive patients usually have a higher risk of getting skin disorders, including folliculitis.  However, the exact reason for this is still unknown.11
  • Medication-associated. Follicular eruptions may happen to patients who are under medication with antibiotics, steroids, hormones and anticonvulsants, but only about 1 percent of patients suffer from this side effect.12
  • Cancer-associated. Folliculitis may be triggered by immune suppression caused by cancer.13
  • Classic type. The classic type of EPF is generally observed in the Japanese population alone. It’s characterized by the recurrent relapses patients suffer throughout their life.14 However, the exact reason why this only happens in Japan are still unclear.


Folliculitis: Introduction

What Is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis Symptoms

Folliculitis Causes

Folliculitis Types

Folliculitis Treatment

Folliculitis Prevention

Folliculitis Diet

Folliculitis FAQ

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