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Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles, which are the small pouches in the skin from which hairs grow. Folliculitis can develop on any part of the body that has hair but is most common on the beard area, arms, back, buttocks, and legs.

Folliculitis may be caused by bacteria. It also can be caused by yeast or fungus.

Folliculitis begins as a red, tender area at or near the base of one or more strands of hair. It usually looks like red pimples with a hair in the center of each one. The pimples may have pus in them, and they often itch or burn.

Mild folliculitis usually heals on its own in about 2 weeks. Oral antibiotics or antifungal medicines usually work to clear up deeper, more severe infections.

Current as of: February 20, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology