What Are The Causes Of Underarm Folliculitis? How To Treat It?

Folliculitis is a skin condition which is associated with inflammation of the hair follicles. In general folliculitis is a self-limiting disorder and tends to get resolved without any treatment; however the condition may be occasionally associated with distressing symptoms like pain, swelling, etc which make its treatment imperative.

Folliculitis is characterized by presence of inflammatory cells in the walls and the ostia (opening) of the hair follicle.

Occasionally, the inflamed follicle may get infected which may result in formation of pus cells. At the initial stages the infundibulum of the follicle gets inflamed. As the condition progresses, the inflammation spreads to deeper tissue and can lead to scarring of the skin.

Folliculitis can affect any part of the body, but is more common under the arms, chest, buttocks and cheeks. Folliculitis is associated with appearance of smooth bumps, which are surrounded by redness, indicating active inflammation. This skin is also referred to as the “chicken skin” appearance. Invariably folliculitis is associated with other skin ailments like milia or acne.

Underarm Folliculitis Causes

Reports suggest that folliculitis is more frequently observed in Japanese and Afro-Americans, though it can affect any race and at any age of individuals.

Folliculitis is caused by various bacteria with Staphylococcus aureus being the most common causative bacteria. Other bacteria include pseudomonas and gram negative bacteria like E coli. Other causes of folliculitis include fungal infection caused due to Malassezia furfur or due to parasitic infection by Tinea barbae.

While underarm folliculitis can affect any individual, there are certain risk factors that are associated with the condition,

  • Decreased immunity due to debilitating disease or viral infection can increase the risk of folliculitis.
  • Diabetes mellitus is a common predisposing factor for development of this condition.
  • Frequent and close shaving of the skin can increase the risk of developing underarm folliculitis.
  • Poor hygiene is also an important contributing factor for development of folliculitis.
  • Occasionally underarm folliculitis may be triggered by chemicals present in skin applications or deodorants. Allergic reaction to certain allergens may also trigger underarm folliculitis.

Home Remedies To Treat Folliculitis Underarm

  • Maintaining good underarm skin hygiene is an important factor. Wash your underarms regularly with soap and water. Shave your underarms to avoid excessive hair growth, however be cautious and avoid a very close skin shave.
  • Local application of tea tree oil is considered very potent in management of folliculitis. Tea tree oil has anti-microbial properties which help prevent growth and spread of bacteria causing folliculitis. Apply tea tree oil on the site of the bumps in order to avoid their spread.
  • Turmeric is a strong anti-microbial and local application of turmeric paste is also very useful to prevent spread of folliculitis.
  • Try to keep your underarms dry. Use talcum powder if you are prone to sweat a lot. Avoid using deodorants directly on the skin, as this may trigger an allergic response and lead to folliculitis.
  • Maintain a healthy diet with foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Avoid dairy products, as they are known to alter hormonal balance and trigger skin ailments. Vitamin C supplements are considered very useful to boost your immunity and prevent skin ailments

When folliculitis is linked with underlying ailment like diabetes mellitus, it is important to treat the condition promptly in order to prevent recurrence of folliculitis.

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