Folliculitis home remedies are very important to help treat the irritating bacterial skin infection. Folliculitis is actually a type of acne breakout, or skin abscess. In particular, it is the inflammation of hair follicles and it appears as a rash or tiny, red bumps.
You can have the condition anywhere on the body where there is hair, but it is most common on the face, scalp, armpits, back, chest, neck, thighs, and buttocks. The infection could affect just one hair follicle or multiple follicles.
Folliculitis can be considered superficial or deep. The types of superficial folliculitis include bacterial folliculitis, hot tub folliculitis, Barber’s itch, and pityrosporum folliculitis. Folliculitis can also be classified as a deep skin condition. Deep folliculitis will affect the entire hair follicle. Forms of deep folliculitis include boils, carbuncles, eosinophilic folliculitis, gram-negative folliculitis, and sycosis barbae.
What Causes Folliculitis?
The bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus often causes bacterial folliculitis. Inadequate water treatment with chlorine or bromine will also lead to the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa that leads to hot tub folliculitis. Pseudofolliculitis barbae and ingrown hairs will cause Barber’s itch. Pityrosporum folliculitis is caused by a yeast infection. There are also other common causes of folliculitis:
- A weakened immune system
- Skin injuries caused by shaving
- Tight clothing that irritate the skin
- Not showering after excessive sweating from hot yoga or an intense workout
- Heat and sweat from wearing rubber gloves
- Skin conditions like acne and dermatitis
- Obese people are also at a higher risk of folliculitis
Signs and Symptoms of Folliculitis
What are the most common signs and symptoms of folliculitis? When the signs and symptoms don’t disappear after a few days it is a good time to see your doctor. Here are a few symptoms and signs you may notice with folliculitis:
- Pimples or pus-filled bumps that crust over; they can be yellow, white, and red
- A large swollen mass or bump
- Inflamed and red skin
- Pain or tenderness
- Burning, swelling, soreness, or itchy skin
In acute cases, treatment of folliculitis may not be necessary. Other times, antibiotics or antibacterial drugs with benzoyl peroxide may be given. There are also several natural home remedies that can help treat the condition:
1. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is more than just a healthy fat for cooking. Coconut oil contains several important compounds that are useful for the skin, including the fatty acids capric acid and lauric acid. Both lauric acid and capric acid are later converted to monocaprin and monolaurin that help protect the skin.
The antibacterial effects of capric acid and lauric acid were displayed in a 2014 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science. Use virgin coconut oil and apply it to your infected area daily.
Neem leaves or neem oil is credited to contain antiseptic and antifungal properties. Neem oil is made from the seeds and fruit of an evergreen tree called Azadirachta indica. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, neem is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including folliculitis.
What is an effective natural folliculitis treatment with neem? You can either use neem oil or boil some neem leaves. Both natural home remedies can be rubbed on your area infected with folliculitis. It is a good idea to apply neem treatment two to three times daily for the fastest results.
3. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is another natural folliculitis treatment home remedy due to its potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve the burning and itching associated with folliculitis. It also allows your skin to heal naturally.
Aloe vera gel or juice from the inner fillet is the option to treat skin conditions, and it should be applied on your infected skin for about 15 minutes. Aloe vera can also effectively treat skin conditions when combined with coconut oil and jojoba oil.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is considered one of the better antibacterial natural home remedies. Garlic contains sulfur compounds called allicin that have potent antiviral and antibacterial properties that help treat various skin conditions, including folliculitis.
Garlic also contains vitamin C and other anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit the enzymes cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase, which contribute to inflammation. To help treat folliculitis, eat three or four garlic cloves daily, or use garlic supplementation capsules for a higher potency.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one of the most famous natural home remedies used in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. It contains the potent anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin that has been demonstrated to treat skin disorders like folliculitis. To use turmeric for folliculitis, simply dissolve one teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of water, and consume twice daily for fast results.
Vinegar is used to decrease the occurrence of rashes from folliculitis. Both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are often used to help relieve folliculitis. Apple cider vinegar in particular contains antibacterial, antiseptic, and antiviral properties.
To treat the condition, combine one part of either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in two parts of water (the water should be at room temperature). Use a clean cloth and apply it to your irritated skin for five to 10 minutes.
7. Witch hazel
Witch hazel is also a natural folliculitis treatment. Native Americans have long recognized witch hazel as a treatment for skin irritations. Witch hazel contains astringent properties like tannins that help alleviate the pain and itching associated with folliculitis.
Witch hazel also helps treat other skin conditions like chest acne and varicose veins. Dab a cotton ball with witch hazel on the areas of your skin that are infected with folliculitis. It is a good idea to choose an unscented and alcohol-free witch hazel.
8. Oil of oregano
Oil of oregano (Origanum vulgare) is also among the natural home remedies for folliculitis, and other skin problems. Oil of oregano contains potent antibacterial properties such as carvacrol and terpenes. It also has thymol, which works as a natural fungicide with antiseptic properties.
Oil of oregano is best used on the skin when combined with carrier oils like sweet almond, jojoba, or grapeseed oil. It is important to note that oil of oregano should be avoided on sensitive or broken skin since it can cause irritation.
9. Treat with essential oils
Another effective and natural folliculitis treatment is essential oils. The antibacterial and antiseptic properties in some essential oils help rashes clear up faster when used on a regular basis.
Mix a few drops on essential oils in an equal amount of water. When you apply the essential oil combination three to four times daily, you will likely see folliculitis disappear in less than a week. Natural essential oils include thyme, lavender, tea tree oil, lemon, geranium, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, cinnamon, and bergamot.
10. Homeopathic remedies
Homeopathic remedies are also considered effective for folliculitis. Certain homeopathic remedies that you should include in your home kit for folliculitis include pyrogenium, graphites, thuja, sulphur iodatum, hydrastis, arsenicum album, sulphuricum acidum, anthracinum, erysipelas, hepar sulphuris, lachesis, carbo vegetabilis, secale cornutum, and tarantula cubensis.
It is a good idea to consult with a homeopath that will help select the most appropriate remedy for you.
Bonus folliculitis home remedies include:
- Increasing your water intake: You should aim to drink eight to 10 glasses of filtered water daily. Drinking water helps to stimulate the immune system and prevent further infection.
- Traditional Chinese medicine: In traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus root is used in combination with other herbs for spleen insufficiency, especially when diarrhea is also present during folliculitis. Other effective remedies include Echinacea, goldenseal, and cleavers.
- Hot water compress: A hot water compress will also ease itching and reduce inflammation linked with folliculitis.
- Change bed sheets: It is also a good idea to change your bed sheets often—daily if you can.
Do you want to avoid folliculitis altogether? How can you prevent or keep the folliculitis from spreading? Here are several ways you can prevent folliculitis:
- Avoid wearing tight clothing: This method will decrease friction between your clothing and skin.
- Avoid shaving over bumps on your skin: If you have to shave then change your razor blade every time, or use an electric razor.
- Wash with warm water: When you shower or bathe, wash your skin with warm water and mild soap.
- Avoid using oils on your skin: Using oils on your skin should be avoided since oils can trap bacteria in your skin pores, and folliculitis can develop.
- Use clean towels: If you already have folliculitis make sure you use a clean towel and washcloth. Also, never scratch your bumps.
- Utilize clean tubs: Only use clean heated pools and hot tubs.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Sherwood, C., “13 Home Remedies for Folliculitis,” Home Remedy Shop web site, July 21, 2015; http://www.homeremedyshop.com/13-home-remedies-for-folliculitis/.
“Folliculitis Prevention,” Mayo Clinic web site; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/folliculitis/basics/prevention/con-20025909, last accessed January 12, 2016.
“Treating folliculitis with homeopathy,” Homeopathy Natural Therapeutic Methods web site; http://www.homeopathyguide.net/pathologies/folliculitis/, last accessed January 12, 2016.
Fischer, K., “Folliculitis,” Healthline web site, January 7, 2014; http://www.healthline.com/health/folliculitis#Overview1.
“Folliculitis,” MedicineNet.com; http://www.medicinenet.com/folliculitis/page2.htm, last accessed January 12, 2016.
“Folliculitis – Topic Overview,” WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/folliculitis-topic-overview?page=2, last accessed January 12, 2016.
“Folliculitis,” Mayo Clinic web site; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/folliculitis/basics/symptoms/con-20025909, last accessed January 12, 2016.
Huang, W.C., et al., “Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of capric acid against Propioniberterium acnes: a comparative study with lauric acid,” Journal of Dermatological Science, 2014; 73(3): 323-240, doi: 10.1016/j.dermsci.2013.10.010. Epub, Nov. 7, 2013.