Have you ever noticed red (sometimes painful) bumps on the skin, usually a few days after shaving? If you answered yes, you’ve most likely experienced ‘folliculitis’! Folliculitis is a skin condition caused by an inflammation of the hair follicle. It’s often confused with ingrown hairs and keratosis pilaris, however differs in cause & biology.
The most common areas to experience folliculitis is on the underarms, legs, pubic area, and arms. This is because the hair is generally thicker and therefore causes more irritation when the hair is removed. It’s a common occurance in both men & women, at any age. ‘Shaving bumps’ on the face, neck, and scalp are similar in appearance, however are referred to as ‘Pseudofolliculitis‘.
Folliculitis isn’t dangerous. However it can be extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing – especially if it’s on your arms or legs! Regardless of its appearance, we recommend treating it ASAP to prevent it from spreading and developing into a more severe infection.
Why am I getting folliculitis?
Folliculitis is caused by bacteria entering damaged follicles. Therefore it usually occurs after hair removal procedures. Regardless of whether you are waxing, shaving, or epilating, you’re still damaging the follicle. Consequently, you are still at risk of getting this bothersome condition.
Whilst not as common, it can also be caused by the friction of your clothing. If the friction is strong enough to damage your hair follicles, it can then cause the infection.
This skin condition is not usually contagious, however some forms of it can be. So we recommend avoiding skin to skin contact or sharing towels until it has completely cleared.
Try not to worry – mild cases will alleviate on their own!
How can I treat it?
There’s no such thing as ‘folliculitis removal’, however it will generally clear by itself (assuming you have a mild case). However if it’s developed into a severe condition, we recommend visiting your GP who will prescribe you with relevant medication.
To speed up recovery of mild cases and to prevent future folliculitis, Laser Hair Removal is the answer!
The laser beam generated by the Candela GentleLase travels to the infected follicle, destroying the bacteria causing the skin condition. By destroying the bacteria, your symptoms should relieve within just a few days post-treatment!
Will it come back after laser hair removal treatments?
You’re likely to experience folliculitis even after laser treatments, if you do not complete your course of treatments. Laser hair removal (LHR) works by damaging your hair follicle until it is damaged enough to stop hair production. Although you’ll notice thinner regrowth after your first few treatments, it will return to its original state if left untreated.
The recommended course of treatments for each folliculitis-prone areas are:
- Pubic hair folliculitis (including folliculitis on anus) – 9-12 treatments
- Underarm folliculitis – 9-12 treatments
- Folliculitis on arms or legs – 6-9 treatments
- Folliculitis on face, neck, or cranium (scalp) – 20+ treatments
In your LHR consultation, your skin therapist will assess your suitability for treatment and explain the treatment process. If you’re not suitable for LHR, your therapist will provide alternative hair removal procedures and preventive measures.
How else can I prevent folliculitis?
Whilst this condition is sometimes inevitable, there are some things that you can do to prevent future folliculitis infections:
- Don’t touch the area after your hair removal procedure with unclean hands. As folliculitis is a bacterial infection, it’s very important to keep your skin as clean as possible.
- Shower after the gym. Sweat build up may cause folliculitis if your sweat sits on the skin for too long.
- Avoid tight clothing. As mentioned above, the irritation of your tight clothing may damage your hair follicles.
- Shave less. Shaving is a common irritant to the skin, even if you don’t suffer from folliculitis. The less you shave, the better.
- Wash your clothes and bath towels frequently. Wearing clean clothes and using clean bath towels will help prevent any damaged follicles become infected.
- Use an antibacterial soap. Particularly within two weeks after any hair removal procedure (including shaving).
- Laser Hair Removal. Laser is the only hair removal method that will not only prevent but also treat folliculitis.
Where do I start?
If you’ve followed our recommendations and are still suffering from folliculitis, it’s time to have a chat with us!
Our skin therapists are available for skin consultations Tuesday-Saturday. In the consultation, we will assess your skin and discuss your current skin and hair regime. We will then be able to advise product and treatment recommendations to further assist your condition.
Our skin therapy consultations are $50. This fee is deducted from any treatment or product or is refunded if you are not suitable for treatment.
To book your initial consultation online, click here, or call us on (02) 9232 8090.