It can often feel that keeping a full head of healthy hair is more difficult than it needs to be, especially for men. Between genetically induced male pattern baldness and immune system malfunctions or medical issues resulting in various forms of alopecia, there seem to be many factors that work against the average man. 

Today we’re looking at the common, but thankfully, preventable matter of folliculitis in men. We want to understand the causes and best treatments in order to avoid the potential for scarring and hair loss.

Folliculitis results from inflamed hair follicles, which appear as small, swollen bumps in the affected area looking much like a pimple, although mild or early stages of folliculitis can appear as tender, swollen or itchy areas. These small infected areas can spread and turn into crusty and unsightly sores if left untreated. While folliculitis can affect any area of the body with hair, it is most likely to cause distress when it appears on the head and face where it can result in permanent scarring and hair loss. 

The good news is that it can be treated effectively, especially when it’s caught early, and while it can feel embarrassing and uncomfortable, it’s not life-threatening.

What Causes Folliculitis in Men?

Folliculitis is most commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that is normally found on the skin but only becomes problematic when they enter the body, and can cause a range of illnesses. This bacterial folliculitis displays as raised and itchy bumps on the skin, often painful and pus-filled, and they can turn into boils or carbuncles if the infection progresses deeper. 

Other forms of folliculitis include:

  • Pseudomonas folliculitis, also known as hot tub folliculitis, results in round, itchy bumps on the skin after using unsanitary hot tubs, swimming pools, or even ponds and lakes.
  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae is also referred to as razor or shaving bumps. This can occur in sensitive areas after shaving or waxing and appears as inflamed bumps. Men with curly hair are particularly susceptible to razor bumps on the face and neck after shaving as they are prone to ingrowing hairs and the uncomfortable infections that can follow.
  • Pityrosporum folliculitis is also referred to as fungal acne, and is characterised by inflamed, itchy pustules. These commonly appear on the neck, shoulders and back, but can also affect the face and upper arms. It is caused by a proliferation of yeast that forms part of our natural skin flora, but causes issues when it infects the follicles and produces an acne-like appearance.
  • Sycosis barbae is an uncomfortable and painful condition caused by shaving, which most commonly affects men. The hair follicles become infected, leading to large, inflamed pustules on the skin, often resulting in scarring. 

Anyone can develop folliculitis, but some are more likely to suffer than others. For example, people who:

  • Are dealing with a medical issue that affects their immune system;
  • Are predisposed toward acne;
  • Cause damage to hair follicles through overly tight-fitting clothing or clothing that does not allow for adequate ventilation;
  • Shave frequently, especially men with curly hair who are more likely to suffer from ingrowing hairs;
  • Have been exposed to bacteria in poorly maintained swimming pools or hot tubs;
  • Share a razor with others.

While folliculitis is seldom caused by poor personal care, it’s good to know that it can be rectified by good hygiene and, if necessary, medicated hair care products from a trichologist.

What Treatments are Available?

As with most ailments, prevention is certainly better than cure – and of course, catching an infection early is key! 

Therefore, if you are experiencing itching, burning, or swollen areas of skin and you suspect folliculitis, it’s a good idea to book a visit with a qualified trichologist who will be able to quickly ascertain the exact cause and suggest treatment immediately to prevent any further damage to the hair follicle. 

Common treatments include:

  • Oral or topical antibiotics
  • Antifungal creams or shampoos
  • Medicated hair care products
  • Anti-bacterial soaps
  • A program of careful skin and scalp care 

It’s likely that your treatment program will include lifestyle suggestions such as wearing loose, comfortable clothing, washing the face or other affected areas regularly to maintain disinfection and keeping bed sheets, pillowcases, hats and hoods, combs, brushes and clippers clean. 

It is vital to not squeeze or pick at pustules as this can spread the infection to neighbouring follicles and injure the skin resulting in scarring.

What Next?

While some instances of folliculitis can resolve on their own with minor discomfort, others can cause permanent damage to the skin resulting in scarring and hair loss. Deep infections can result in painful abscesses and other serious conditions. We may not be able to avoid all fungal and bacterial infections in today’s polluted world, but we can be aware of how they impact our bodies and what we can do about them. 

Folliculitis in men may be common, but it doesn’t have to be a problem for you. If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing early symptoms or even have a recurring skin issue that you’re worried about, we invite you to book a consultation. Our professional, highly skilled trichologists are keenly interested in your unique needs, and you can trust them to find the best solution.

Dear Eleanor, Teresa and Ashley, I just wanted to thank you all first and foremost for the hospitality. The warmth from the moment one walks in to meet Ashley to then commencing the treatments with Eleanor and Teresa is unmatched. Eleanor and Teresa, I can't thank you enough for the confidence you instilled in me. I came to you when I was at my wit's end. But gently and slowly, you educated me about my hair and treated me back to a place where I started wearing my hair out for first time in over 10yrs, I can wear it out. Thank you for the treatments Thank you for the care Thank you for the education Thank you for the words of encouragement
Whitney Koranteng
Whitney Koranteng
Hi came across Fulham and scalp through a talk they did. My hair was in desperate need as it was dry with patches. I had a consultation and I found out that along with my dry hair I had traction alopecia due to back to back braiding styles along with CCA due to PCOS. The consultation was amazing. I did not realised how inflamed my scalp was due to hair practices but my lifestyle. I was recommended treatment in the clinic and a treatment to take home. I have been coming back for the past 8 months to receive treatment and trims and I have seen such an improvement in my hair. They have helped me with having a consistent hair routine. I would highly recommend as I was losing hair foicles and had no reason why.
Trichologist’s Teresa and Eleanore are absolutely lovely, friendly and approachable. Super lucky to have found this Clinic, especially one that specialises in my Afro hair. I’ve taken on all the advice that they’ve given me and my hair has been improving in under 2 months. Naturally, I am feeling 100% confident with my hair. I’m still going on the journey. Their products are absolutely stimulating, and my hair loves it! Ashley is a star. The GREATEST compliments cannot even define the magic these ladies have worked so hard to help me accomplish. Thank you!🌟 Looking forward to my next appointment.✨
Swiss Note
Swiss Note
Unbelievable place, Magical, I’m so thankful for YOU “Hair & Scalp clinics” work‼️‼️ The treatments you can purchase have worked wonders daily, weekly or monthly use depending on preference, what you can offer, scheduling. It has been so beneficial for me, I can’t lie I came into this unassuming and sceptical as I had scalp issue all my life now it’s all CLEAR UP FROM ME. THANKs to this amazing family run Afro all sorts of hair treated establishments
Ifẹ A
Ifẹ A
This place has genuinely changed my life! I went from relying on the daily use of wigs to finally being able to understand and appreciate my natural coils. I would never have been able to wear my natural hair out a year ago (mostly due to the fact that I had so many bald spots and basically no hairline!) so I am shocked daily at how far I’ve come in such a short space of time. If you decide to visit, please do listen to the advice of these wonderful experts, it really does work! I’ve also realised how much we over complicate black hair, healthy black hair is actually super simple to achieve. Thank you everyone at Fulham Scalp & Hair Clinic! Each day I wear my hair out, I’m appreciative of the day I discovered this wonderful place!
Beth L
Beth L
I’ve been getting desperate with my 4C hair situation, so I’m so glad I found this clinic. Eleanore and Ashley were so accommodating and nice! I learned a lot of new things. Now, my hair has improved a LOT after following Eleanore's advice. Highly recommend.
Judith Worrell
Judith Worrell
I feel and look confident after my treatment and trim from Fulham Scalp and Hair Clinic and recommend anyone struggling with traction alopecia to confront the issue and contact the clinic as I did I have no regrets just new hair growth and a great look.
Booked a consultation and the information I received was life changing. Didn't realise how badly I was maintaining my hair. Since getting my hair treated and trimmed, I have been given a healthy hair routine that has given me confidence and happiness. For anyone thinking about it definitely do it. Your not just paying for the treatment but also the knowledge. Customer service and attention to detail was 5*
Cabir TOPO
Cabir TOPO
My hair was damaged from keratin treatments. After doing some research I found this place online. I was nervous about contacting them for fear of judgement and blame. In May 2022 I got in touch. Even before I arrived the receptionist really reassured me and was very kind. Eleanor did my consultation. Her and Teresa are professional, empathetic, warm, supportive and knowledgeable. I didn't really know how to look after natural hair. However this has revolutionised things for me. My hairs unrecognisable to before. Its grown a lot and is the healthiest it's ever been. I'm so glad I found this place. I attend regularly for treatments. I can't recommend this place enough!!
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