Who doesn’t hate unwanted body hair. Women in particular spend a lot of time shaving and waxing in order to remove unwanted body hair. Not only is the process time consuming, taxing and sometimes expensive, it can also lead to complications and medical issues. One of the side effects commonly seen as a result of waxing in people with sensitive hair is Folliculitis. Just after waxing, or shaving, it is not uncommon to see the incidence or painful acne or a body rash with itching in the treated area. Also known as folliculitis, it is basically the inflammation hair follicles and may occur anywhere on the skin.
As a result of waxing, hair follicles can get damaged by friction or also cause blockage of the follicle after repeated shaving. This damaged or blocked follicle, then gets infected with the bacteria that are always present on our skin no matter how clean you may want to keep it. The most common bacteria that are seen in such cases is Staphylococcus aureus. The same can also occur from an exposure to hot tubs or saunas. It is also reffered to as the hot tub folliculitis or the barber’s itch. For instance, barber’s itch is an infection by a staph bacterium in the beard area and upper lip caused by repeated shaving. Excessive perspiration or injury to the skin can also trigger folliculitis.
Symptoms can vary but may include itching, rashes, acne, pimples that get postulated and even crusted. In cases of severe infection, permanent hair loss or scarring can occur as well.
They are easy to identify by a visual examination and usually a detailed history can confirm the diagnosis by identifying the possible source. Laboratory tests may be further required to confirm the pathogen and identify the bacterium or the fungi in order to start the appropriate antibiotic or antifungal medication.
In most cases, the infection is minor, presenting as white-headed pimples that clear up by themselves in a few days. Postulated pimples or recurring folliculitis often needs further treatment. Treatment options include common class of oral antibiotics such as doxycyclin or antibiotics that can be applied directly to the skin. Antihistamines are often prescribed to relieve the itching as well. In most cases, patients respond well to the treatment and it clears up in 2-3 weeks. In rare circumstnces, folliculitis can return after the treatment or may even spread to other parts of the body.
Home care or first line of treatment that a patient should practice carefully includes, avoid possible friction from clothing, and avoid shaving, waxing etc in the affected area at all cost till the symptoms get better. Also, try keeping the area clean and avoid contact with contaminated clothes and hands. Avoiding scratching is also advised to prevent contact with the pimples that can also lead to the bacteria spreading to other parts of the skin.
Contact your health care provider if the acne and symptoms don’t get better in 2-3 days. Deep or severe cases of folliculitis often need medical treatment which is straightforward but should be started at the earliest in order to avoid possible spread of infection.