Folliculitis Pictures

What is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles, the tiny tunnels in the skin from which hair grows. It occurs when the hair follicles become irritated and an infection then sets in. This may be seen with damage to the follicle as a result of shaving, friction with clothing, scratching, or an obstruction of a pore. An infected hair follicle appears as a red bump or white pustule which may crust over at a later stage (Picture 1). Infectious folliculitis which arises with a Staphylococcus aureus (bacteria) infection is discussed in detail within this article. Read about other types of folliculitis.

Folliculitis Pictures

Pictures in this article show staphylococcal folliculitis. Links to pictures of other types of folliculitis.

Staph Folliculitis

Picture 1: Staphylococcal folliculitis with red bumps and pus-filled white centers.
(source: Samuel Freire da Silva, M.D., Atlasdermatologico)

Folliculitis on the Chest

Picture 2: Staphylococcal folliculitis on the woman’s chest
Click to enlarge >> © Dermnet

Folliculitis on Thighs

Picture 3:Staphylococcal folliculitis on thighs
Click to enlarge >> © Dermnet

Folliculitis Pictures on the Web

Folliculitis Pictures on Dermnet
Folliculitis Pictures on Dermnetnz
Folliculitis Pictures on Visualdxhealth

Folliculitis and Acne

Folliculitis and acne are two different skin conditions although gram-negative folliculitis may be seen in certain cases of severe acne. Acne primarily involves the oil-producing glands (sebaceous glands) of the skin which are clogged with excess oil (sebum) and shed skin cells. It may lead to localized inflammatio which may then develop into folliculitis (Picture 5). Due to the similarity of the lesions, it may sometimes difficult to differentiate between acne and folliculitis only by visual examination. Some key points to bear in mind though is that acne occurs mainly on the face, neck and upper trunk, more often in teenagers, and may last for months or years. Folliculitis on the other hand may occur anywhere on the body, can affect at any age group, and it usually lasts only for a few days or weeks.


Picture 5:Infected acne plus non-infected comedones
Click to enlarge >> © Dermnet

Symptoms of Staphylococcal Folliculitis

Staphylococcal folliculitis usually appears as clusters of red bumps surrounding hair follicles (with or without the hair). It varies between 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter, often with a white blister in the center (Pictures 1-3). Inflamed follicles may burst, release pus and crust over. The skin in superficial folliculitis is itchy and tender while in  deep folliculitis it may be painful.

Folliculitis most commonly occurs on the :

  • Beard area in men
  • Scalp
  • Upper trunk (chest, under breasts, in armpits)
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs
  • Groin

Folliculitis never appears in areas without hair follicles such as the palms, soles, or mucous membranes. Superficial folliculitis affects only upper parts of a hair follicle, while deep folliculitis affects the whole hair follicle.

Folliculitis Barbae

Folliculitis barbae is a superficial folliculitis of the bearded area in men, caused by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria. It often appears on the skin around the nose or mouth when hair follicles that are damaged during shaving become infected, especially in those who are nasal staph carriers.


Picture 6:Folliculitis barbae
(source: Samuel Freire da Silva, M.D., Atlasdermatologico)

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (Ingrown Hair)

An ingrown hair is a curly hair that curves or twists on the surface and then re-enters the hair follicle opening again. This causes inflammation of the follicle (folliculitis). It may resemble bacterial folliculitis but pseudofolliculitis barbae this is not an infection and tends to occur in those who shave with a razor blade. The use of an electric razor may be one of the preventative measures that may be employed, along with shaving every second day or resorting to not shaving and letting the beard grow (3).

Pictures of Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (Shaving Bumps)

Sycosis Barbae

Sycosis barbae is deep folliculitis of the bearded area in men and involves the deeper parts of hair follicles. Sycosis barbae may leave scars.

Picture of Sycosis Barbae


A stye is an inflammation or infection of a hair follicle on the eyelid.

Folliculitis, Stye

Picture 7:Stye (staphylococcal folliculitis) on the lower eyelid
Click to enlarge >> © Dermnet

Risk Factors for Folliculitis

Folliculitis is more likely to occur in:

  • Nasal staph carriers
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Dermatitis
  • Obesity
  • Topical steroid treatment
  • Lowered immunity (leukemia, AIDS)
  • Acne treatment with tetracycline
  • Infants with tight clothes
  • Athletes
  • Hot humid climates

Folliculitis Diagnosis

Folliculitis may be diagnosed by a medical doctor without any further tests. However, if there is doubt about the diagnosis, then swabs or biopsies of the skin lesions are collected and sent for laboratory testing.  In recurrent folliculitis, diabetes and HIV tests should be considered.

Compare Pictures of Folliculitis with Other Types of Rash

Folliculitis Treatment

  • Superficial folliculitis may heal on its own within 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Applying over the counter (OTC) antibiotic ointments like Bacitracin, Mycitracin (bacitracin + neomycin + polymyxin B), or Bactrobam (mupirocin), or washing with antibacterial soaps may help in more resistant cases (2).
  • In a deep folliculitis and recurrent cases, oral antibiotics (dicloxacillin, cephalosporins) may be needed.
  • Folliculitis caused by MRSA requires treatment by antibiotics chosen on the basis of antibiotic sensitivity test (1).

During acute stages, electric razors should be used or shaving should be temporarily avoided in this time. S. aureus carriers may be treated with mupirocin ointment in the nasal vestibule twice a day for 5 days (1). Family members may be also treated by mupirocin to eliminate the carrier state and prevent re-infection.

Is Folliculitis Contagious?

Staphylococcal folliculitis is very contagious. It spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact, or by sharing razors, towels, clothes or other personal items.

Prevention of Folliculitis

The following measures may help to prevent folliculitis :

  • Wear comfortable airy clothes.
  • Wash and dry swimming suits and sport apparel after each use.
  • Eradicate nasal staphylococci.
  • Laser depilation for hair removal.
  • Disinfect of a sport equipment and hot tubs.
  • Do not share razors and towels.
  • Apply a disinfectant on any break in the skin with shaving.

Folliculitis Complications

Folliculitis may result in :

  • Furuncles
  • Cellulitis – inflammation of deeper layers of the skin
  • Scars or hyper-pigmentation
  • Permanent hair loss (alopecia)

Pictures of Other Types of Folliculitis

Several other types of folliculitis beside staphylococcal folliculitis are known:

Related Articles:


  1. Antibiotics for staphylococcal folliculitis (
  2. Antibiotic ointments for folliculitis (
  3. Ingrown hair – shaving bumps (
About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
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  • Jan Modric


    if he gets better, he should continue with the antibiotics, as prescribed. If there will be no signs of improvement in few days, the liquid from the bumps should be probably tested for exact type of bacteria to see if some other antibiotic would be necessary.

  • Dalton O

    I often shave in my lower region, completely shaving any hair around there. However, a couple months ago I started noticing small red bumps, around my pubic region. I didnt think much of it because they looked identicle to an ingrown hair. However, about a month or so ago, i noticed a small bump on the bottom of my shaft. I went to the doctors that morning, where they told me it was an infected hair follicle, which relieved a lot of my stress.. The doctor gave me Cephalexin, and it did not work. About 7 days ago i went to the doctors again, because i started feeling stressed thinking the first doctor was wrong and it may be an std. The other doctor also told me that it was an ingrown hair. But, this stubborn thing wont go away, im sick of having this on my shaft, its rather embarrassing and im starting to worry. Any idea would really help! Thank you

  • Jan Modric

    Dalton O,

    I can’t say is it an ingrown hair or staphylococcal folliculitis. If it is a staph infection, it would be possible that it is caused by a strain of bacteria that are resistant to cephalexin and a different type of antibiotic would be needed. To confirm/exclude staph infection and to find the appropriate antibiotic, a sample of excretion from the rash would be required.

  • Jason

    Hi guys,

    I’d like to share my experience about my hair folliculitis. I’m 26 years old. I smoke around 10-15 sticks a day get drunk at least 2 times a week, and sleep around 4am till 11am in the morning. As you can see, I’m not really living a very healthy lifestyle. I tried to understand the causes and remedies of folliculitis. I have been under heavy oral medication before and have tried other methods in dealing with my problem – such as applying baking soda, manuka honey, vinegar, anti folliculitis shampoos, anti bacterial ointments and the likes. But unfortunately, it keeps coming back and back (prolly 30 times already for me within the span of 5 years)

    I got so fed up using a lot of “unnatural” medication that i decided to just really find out about this sickness and try to come up with my own natural way of fighting it.

    If you ever come across recurring folliculitis and or are tired of using oral medication then i think my advice might help you eradicate or at least contain the problem indefinitely.

    Lets go back to the causes of folliculitis as shown on the article above and how it may have contributed to my having this sickness:

    Folliculitis is more likely to occur in:

    * Nasal staph carriers
    – probably from excessive smoking
    * Diabetes
    – my mom has it but so far i’m no sweet tooth
    * Dermatitis
    – don’t really have this
    * Obesity
    – i was really obese before, i had around 28 percent body fat and was having bad palpitations at night that would wake me up
    * Topical steroid treatment
    -i never had this kind of treatment
    * Lowered immunity (leukemia, AIDS)
    -this is the main culprit as i will mention later on
    * Acne treatment with tetracycline
    -never head this kind of treatment
    * Infants with tight clothes
    -i rarely wear hats
    * Athletes
    -probably not hygenic (not taking a bath right after etc… so they tend to get folliculitis
    * Hot humid climates
    – i live in the philippines. Weather here is about 26-32 degrees. Quite hot.

    As i mentioned earlier, i think my immunity is the real cause of the problem. One day, i just decided to really change my lifestyle. I smoke about 2 sticks a day, don’t drink anymore, sleep at around 10pm (wake up 7-8 hours after for work) and do cardio and lifting weights almost everyday (5-6 days alternate routines, soaking up 2 shirts with my sweat for every workout day). Another bad habits i changed was not smoking anymore after brushing my teeth. I think this contributes a lot especially when you drool in bed and all those chemicals left on your mouth sticks into your hair thru the drool.

    Do you know those games wherein you upgrade your character to combat enemies with ease. Well i basically did that to help me combat this irritating problem.
    Before, i probably had around 10 big bumps on my head and probably 30-40 pus along with it. Now i have around 1-2 bumps and no pus at all.

    Smoking- this is very obvious. All those chemicals that go to your body really kills those good cells and poisons your body. Minimizing or better yet, quitting smoking helps your immunity and helps you intensify your workouts by giving you more energy to do it.

    Alcohol- a few alcohol is ok (1 glass of wine a day as they say). But if you drink a lot, you also poison your liver and lower your immunity since you weaken yourself by excessive drinking.

    Water- Lots of water (1 once per pound of body weight, or 2/3 ounce if your athletic) also helps in combating this problem. Do not take this for granted. Dehydration may contribute to dryness of skin while dryness of skin can also contributes to skin folliculitis. Moreover, you can’t allow all those toxins you ingested to be excreted if your body won’t allow you to perspire much. Your body is smart. Drink too little and it would save all that water. Drink too much and it’ll tell itself to excrete all that water. If you don’t drink enough, you won’t find yourself perspiring much when you workout – which is also important

    Exercising – i remember telling all these to my dad and recall him saying ” well its the natural salt that comes out of your body that kills all those bacteria.” He had a point and my dermatologist had that look where a light bulb could be seen above her head. You not only excrete all those bad toxins you ingested by sweating, but you also kill the bacteria found on your head with your body’s salt.

    Right eating- all my food now is boiled. I don’t drink colas or softdrinks and don’t eat food with sugar and too much sodium. A few drops of salt won’t hurt you’re diet as salt is still necessary for us. I not only lost weight but i also helped my body strengthen with all those veggies and clean meat i ingest.

    Sleeping early- ok theres a clear difference when you sleep early and late even if the number of hours used to sleep is the same. Just notice how your mind and body reacts to those two scenarios. If i sleep early, i feel like brand new the next day, if i sleep late (even with the same amount of sleep) and wake up late, i feel weak and groggy the whole day. One of the reason is (from what i remember on the article i read) because you have hormonal imbalance. Remember how kids get their first pimple and we say its just your hormones. The same thing applies to us. The necessary hormones needed by our body for recovery are being made around 10pm-2am of our sleeping time. In short, your messing with your immune system again when you don’t sleep early.

    Stress- i’m also a hot headed guy. But one thing i do to relieve myself of stress is to just take a moment and breathe. As much as possible, don’t use smoking as an excuse. I only smoke when i’m really REALLY really dying to have one. Get used to this practice and you will find yourself being able to be more patient in a lot of circumstances.

    Hygiene- Always take a bath right after a workout. Don’t wait until 3 hours after to take a bath. If you think your heart has rested enough (around 20 mins after cooldown) then your ready to go. Flush out all those bacteria right away and don’t give them a chance to get into your pores. Remember, after your workout your pores are all open.

    Cut your nails regularly to avoid getting germs and bacteria on it. This will even be more horrible if you use your long nails to scratch your head.

  • john

    hello, an follucitis be also in the hair, and what is a good medication for that,and to stop the itching?

  • Dr. Chris

    Hi John

    Yes, tufted folliculitis occurs on the scalp. You should speak to your doctor about the appropriate treatment. The infection will first need to be treated followed by topical applications to ease the other symptoms like itching.

  • Stephanie

    I was told I have folliculitis and its been 5 days that I am on Cephalexin 4 times a day and I am still bad and itchy. Should I stop and get another antibiotic?

  • Hi Stephanie. Hopefully the condition has resolved by now. As a general rule of thumb, NEVER stop an antibiotic before the course is complete. This applies to an bacterial infectio. It is these incomplete courses of antibiotics that in part contributes to drug resistant bacteria. You may find that the bacteria may be difficult to treat with future courses if you do not complete the current course. The only time that you should consider doing so is if advised by a doctor.