National Skin Care Institute

Your information resource about natural skin care and dermatology

Medical Encyclopedia Medical Dictionary Glossary Resources

Look up the word:

Dictionary Images

SKIN DISEASES: Folliculitis and related conditions (boils and carbuncles)

Dermatlas: Boils

Dermatlas: Folliculitis

All images are
© 2001-05, Dermatlas

Location: The condition may occur anywhere on the skin, particularly on the scalp, back, legs and arms.

Symptoms: Folliculitis – is an inflammation of one or more hair follicles, caused by hair follicles either being blocked or damaged by friction from clothing or shaving. In most cases of folliculitis, the damaged follicles are then infected with the bacteria Staphylococcus. Barber's itch is a staph infection of the hair follicles in the bearded area of the face, usually the upper lip, the condition is frequently aggravated by shaving. Boils are tender, painful, often fluctuant swelling in a non weight-bearing area (most commonly in the areas of friction) that form around hair follicles often occurs on the neck, breasts, buttocks, face, the nasal area or the external ear. Carbuncles are clusters of boils.

The most frequent symptoms for folliculitis are: pus in the hair follicle, irritated and red follicles, damaged hair. Symptoms for boils may include: pus in the center of the boil, whitish, bloody discharge from the boil. Clusters have similar symptoms with the boils, but patient may experience fever and fatigue.

Treatments: Frequent use of soap and water and the use of topical antibiotic agents, such as mupirocin or bacitracin (Neosporin, Polysporin), generally clear the lesions. Occasionally, the addition of a systemic antistaphylococcal agent is required. Treatment often requires moist heat to help drain a boil. Use of oral antibiotics should be considered if the furuncle is not yet fluctuant, if there is evidence of surrounding cellulitis or lymphadenitis, or if the lesion is on the face. Keeping the skin clean helps to prevent these conditions from occurring.

Note: Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should carefully read all product packaging. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

Statements and information regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Please consult your healthcare provider before beginning any course of supplementation or treatment.