ExitCare ImageFolliculitis is inflammation of the hair follicle gland in the skin, out of which hair grows. It is often caused by a bacterial infection. Folliculitis may occur on any skin surface of the body, but the bacteria that cause folliculitis survive best in warm, moist environments. For this reason, folliculitis is most common on the back.


  • Red bumps on skin (papules).

  • White bumps on skin (pustules).

  • Itchy rash.

  • Painful rash.

  • Fever.

  • Swollen lymph glands.


  • Poor hygiene.

  • Excessive or prolonged sweating.

  • Irritation from clothing or athletic gear.

  • Tendency toward a type of bacteria (Staphylococcus) infections.


  • Not using antibacterial soap.

  • Remaining in sweaty or damp clothing.

  • Poor immunity.


  • Remove sweaty clothing as soon as possible after activity.

  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after a workout.

  • Use antibacterial soap.

  • Pay special attention to your back when cleansing.


Bacterial folliculitis responds well to oral antibiotics and antibiotics applied to the skin. Treatment first involves cleansing the affected area with antibacterial soap. Warm compression coverings to the area can help large follicles to drain. After washing, applying dressings that contain drying agents will help diminish bacteria in follicles, and help the rash go away more quickly. If the condition does not seem to go away with changes in hygiene alone, antibiotic creams and ointments can be applied. For more serious cases, when the infection extends into the soft tissues (cellulitis), oral antibiotics can be given. Finally, on rare occasions, incision and drainage of the follicles may be needed for the infection to be cured.