Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles.

It appears as a rash or white-headed pimples or pustules near hair follicles. Folliculitis usually affects hairy areas of the body, such as the back and chest. Hair follicles may become damaged from repeated friction (such as the rubbing of tight clothes) or a blockage of the hair follicle (for instance, from shaving).

There are two types of folliculitis:

Superficial Folliculitis affects the upper area of the hair follicle and causes red, inflamed skin, small clusters of red bumps, blisters that break open and crust over, and/or itchiness and tenderness. When the infection occurs in men’s beards, it is called Barber’s Itch. When it is caused by a fungal infection, it is known as Tinea Barbae (ringworm).

Deep Folliculitis affects the entire hair follicle from its root of the hair to the surface of the skin. This less-common form of folliculitis is seen in those who are undergoing chronic acne antibiotic treatment, those with HIV, or those with boils and carbuncles.