Causes and Treatments of Folliculitis in Children | Dermatology

Folliculitis in children

What is folliculitis in children?

Folliculitis in children is an infection of the hair follicle. A hair follicle is a small pocket in which hair grows from the skin. Bacteria live naturally on the skin. But sometimes bacteria can get trapped in a follicle and cause inflammation or infection. This causes a bumpy rash. The area over the follicles is red and raised. It may be painful or itchy. The bumps may have fluid (pus) inside. Pus may leak and then crusts. The sores can spread to other areas of the body. Once it disappears, folliculitis can return at any time.

Folliculitis in children can occur anywhere in a child’s body where hair grows. It can occur due to friction from tight clothing. It may also occur if hair follicles are blocked by a bandage. Shaving the legs or face may also cause folliculitis.

The sores often disappear within a few days without treatment. In some cases, medication may be given. A little bit of skin or discharge might be taken to discover the sort of microorganisms causing the contamination.

Who’s at risk?

In infants, the following risk factors increase the likelihood of developing folliculitis in children:

  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Prolonged use of antibiotics or steroids
  • Impaired flexibility due to diseases such as AIDS
  • An infected wound or surgical incision

Signs and symptoms of folliculitis in children

The most common sites for folliculitis in children include:

  • Face
  • Arms and legs
  • Buttocks
  • Scalp

Single lesions of folliculitis are pus-filled bumps (pustules) centred around hair follicles. These pimples can be penetrated by ingrown hairs, and their size can vary from 2-5 mm, and they are often surrounded by a rim of inflamed skin from pink to red. Sometimes a folliculitis lesion can break (tear) to form a crust on the surface of the skin.

Mild to moderate folliculitis is often painful or itchy. More severe folliculitis, which may be deeper and affect the entire hair follicle, may be painful.

Mild to moderate folliculitis usually resolves quickly with treatment and does not leave scars. However, more severe folliculitis in children may lead to more serious complications such as deep skin tissue injury (called cellulitis), scarring, or permanent hair loss.

Causes of folliculitis in children

There are many reasons that hair follicle may become inflamed (red or irritated):

  • Bacterial infections: Infection with common or natural bacteria on the surface of the skin is the most common cause of folliculitis. It can also come from bacteria that thrive in hot tubs.
  • Ingrown hairs: This may happen after shaving hair anywhere on the body. As hair grows back, it can curl into the skin, causing irritation.
  • Friction(Rub): tight clothing or sports equipment.
  • Blocked follicles: Thick moisturizers, medications, tight dressings, sports equipment, and casts or clips can block hair follicles.
  • Excessive sweating

How is folliculitis in children diagnosed?

Your doctor will examine your skin and ask about your health and activities. He or she may run tests to find the cause of folliculitis in children and to make sure there is a no different problem, such as impetigo or heat rash. Testing a sample of the fluid in a blister or a sample of tissue can help your doctor find the cause of the infection.

How is folliculitis in children treated?

Mild folliculitis in children usually resolves on its own within about two weeks. You can take care of yourself at home with:

  • A warm compress: This may ease itching and aid healing. To make a warm pack, splash a hand towel in warm water. Squeeze out the excess water and place the towel on the affected skin.
  • Medicated shampoo: It can be used to treat folliculitis of the scalp or beard.

If the infection gets worse or does not go away, you may need to see your doctor. He or she may prescribe medication, such as an antibiotic.

Call your doctor if you have folliculitis in children and:

  • It spreads or keeps coming back.
  • You have a fever over 38 °
  • The affected area becomes red, swollen, warm, or more painful.

If the inflammation does not go away or continues to return, laser hair removal may be an option. The laser treatment destroys the hair follicles, so they don’t become infected.


To help prevent this folliculitis in children:

  • Make sure to clean and protect against any skin injuries.
  • Make sure your child washes his hands often.
  • Keep your child’s nails cut short.
  • Encourage older children and teens to keep their faces clean, to use clean razors, not to share razors, and to shower often.
  • Use only spas or well-maintained hot tubs.
  • Try to get your child to stay away from others who have this infection.


Folliculitis in children may include possible complications:

  • The infection spreads to other parts of the body
  • The infection returns
  • Scarring

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