Hair root inflammation is a very unpleasant but common inflammation of the hair follicles. Small knots of pus form around the hair at the root of the hair.
What is hair root inflammation?
Hair root inflammation describes an inflammation of one or more hair follicles. Hair roots are surrounded by hair follicles all over the body. These are responsible for anchoring the hair in the skin. Only the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands are hairless.
Therefore, folliculitis can occur anywhere on the body. Frequently affected parts of the body are the scalp, beard hair, chest hair and leg hair. The inflammation causes whitish-yellow pustules to form. The affected areas often hurt or itch. Depending on the severity of the inflammation, a doctor’s visit makes sense.
Inflammation of the hair roots occurs, for example, through wet shaving, since the hair follicles can be injured. Legs and armpits are often affected in women and the beard area in men. The intimate area is also vulnerable. Even minor injuries can allow germs to penetrate the skin and multiply there. Regardless of shaving, folliculitis can also occur on the scalp and men’s chests.
Hair root inflammation is a bacterial infection. The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is usually responsible for this type of inflammation. This is part of the physiological human skin flora and is therefore omnipresent. If the bacterium has the opportunity to penetrate the body through injuries, inflammation occurs. Stapylococcus aureus finds suitable living conditions in the body. These are intensified by warm, humid conditions, such as those that occur when you sweat.
As a result, all types of skin folds are at risk. A weak immune system can also contribute to the development of hair root inflammation. Chronic hair root inflammation is common as a result of diabetes. A weakened immune system increases the risk of inflammation. Oil-based care products also clog the sebum glands that end in the hair follicles. As a result, toxins can no longer be released to the outside. In some cases, this can lead to inflammation of the affected tissue.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
A hair root infection is a small knot pierced in the middle by a hair. Such pustules are often filled with greenish-yellow pus. Severe itching usually occurs in the affected area. In some cases, hair root infections can be painful.
They are often a purely cosmetic problem and do not cause any symptoms. A typical symptom is a clearly visible reddening of the skin. In many cases, the focus of inflammation is severely swollen. In the case of an untreated hair root inflammation, such knots can also occur over a large area. An abscess can develop.
The pustules are typically about the size of a pinhead. However, if the inflammation spreads deeper, it can grow into a boil or even a carbuncle, which can be the size of a walnut. As a rule, hair root inflammation only occurs in parts of the body that have hair follicles.
This is particularly the case on the buttocks, chest, face, chin or neck, scalp, intimate area, arms, legs and thighs. In most cases, hair root infections heal on their own. Rarely does scarring and hair loss occur.
Diagnosis & History
The diagnosis of hair root inflammation is made by examining the affected area for characteristic features.
These include swelling and redness around the hair follicle and lumps of pus the size of a pinhead. Normally, patients complain of itching. Basically, hair root inflammation is harmless and heals without any problems under the right conditions.
Inflammation at the hair root usually affects several follicles and can spread over a large area. If inflammation occurs again and again, the doctor treating you will carry out a detailed examination. In this case, hair root inflammation can be an accompanying symptom of other diseases. This includes, for example, diabetes mellitus.
The hair root inflammation leads to the formation of pus knots on the hair. These knots in the hair can also spread to the beard, resulting in so-called beard braids. Severe redness and swelling continue to occur, which can lead to pain. The patient’s aesthetics are also greatly reduced by the hair root inflammation, so that many sufferers are ashamed of the symptoms and suffer from inferiority complexes.
There is also itching on the scalp. In most cases, this disease does not lead to any special complications. It can be limited and combated relatively well with the help of adequate hygiene. In most cases, medical treatment is only necessary if the hair root inflammation occurs again and again in the patient and cannot be completely combated.
Drugs are used to reduce inflammation and thus alleviate the symptoms. There are no further complications. However, it may be necessary to shave the hair to completely remove the hair root inflammation. Life expectancy is not restricted or reduced by this inflammation. However, it cannot be predicted whether the disease will recur in the patient later in life.
When should you go to the doctor?
Hair root inflammation should always be treated by a doctor. As a rule, self-healing does not occur. If the hair root inflammation is left untreated, it can lead to hair loss. At that point, a doctor should be consulted.
However, it makes sense to consult a doctor if pustules form on the hair roots. Small lumps of pus can also form and also be associated with pain. Furuncles on the scalp also indicate hair root inflammation and must be examined by a doctor.
The inflammation can spread from the scalp hair into the beard and cause the same symptoms there. First and foremost, a dermatologist or a general practitioner should be consulted in the event of hair root inflammation. Both doctors can treat this inflammation. There are no particular complications and the course of the disease is always positive if the inflammation is treated correctly.
Treatment & Therapy
However, treatment of hair root inflammation is rarely necessary. However, in chronic or severe cases, a dermatologist should be consulted. They will resort to an antiseptic for disinfection and an antibiotic ointment to be applied to the inflamed areas. The doctor only prescribes oral antibiotics for advanced inflammation. These relieve the inflammation from within and kill the bacteria.
If the cause of the hair follicle inflammation is wet shaving, it is advisable not to shave – at least until the inflammation has subsided. This applies to the woman’s legs and armpits and the man’s beard hair. When dry shaving, it is important to pay attention to hygiene. This includes in particular cleaning the shaver after each use. At best, the razor should be disinfected after each use.
With inflammation of the hair follicles, it is important to pay attention to the right personal care products. Natural and non-irritating substances are the first choice. Products containing tea tree oil are recommended. Tea tree oil gently cares for the skin, has an antibacterial effect and does not clog the sebaceous glands. In acute cases, it is beneficial to dab the oil directly onto the affected area.
Outlook & Forecast
Hair root inflammation has a good prognosis. In most cases, no medical care is required from the patient. The use of other healing methods or therapies is also not necessary. In the case of hair root inflammation, spontaneous healing occurs within a few days.
Consequences or diseases are not to be expected in most cases of hair root inflammation. The inflamed parts of the body heal within a few hours of their occurrence. A freedom from symptoms is normally achieved within three days at the latest.
Despite the good prospects of healing, hair root inflammation can develop again in the course of life. If the causes of the inflammation are not found and prevented, the symptoms can develop again at any time. The good prognosis does not change when the symptoms return. The affected person can also count on a good chance of healing if the hair root becomes inflamed again.
A deterioration in health is given only in very rare cases. As soon as the inflammation causes other pathogens to penetrate inside the body or open wounds form, the prognosis changes. The germs, viruses or bacteria increase the risk of developing blood poisoning. This can lead to a life-threatening condition for the patient. Only quick and good medical care can alleviate the symptoms.
There are various measures to prevent inflammation of the hair follicles. Proper hygiene and personal hygiene is the first step in preventing folliculitis. Suitable razors and their meticulous cleaning after use are essential. Care products that clog the pores should be avoided. After shaving, only products that are neither pro-inflammatory nor highly stressful or irritating should be used.
Cleaning and disinfecting the blades is just as important when shaving wet as it is when shaving dry. Another pole of danger is blunt razor blades. These pull on the hair when shaving and thus lead to small injuries, which again provide an opportunity for bacteria to enter.
Immune system strengthening measures are useful for prevention. This includes, for example, a healthy diet and the cessation of alcohol and cigarette consumption.
In the case of hair root inflammation, the affected person has some options for aftercare, but the disease itself should be treated first and foremost so that no further complications or symptoms occur. The earlier this inflammation is recognized and treated by a doctor, the better the further course of this disease is in most cases.
The affected person should therefore contact a doctor as soon as the first symptoms and signs of the disease appear in order to prevent further deterioration. The treatment itself is carried out using various creams and other care products that are intended to alleviate the symptoms. The person concerned should always ensure correct application with the prescribed dosage.
If you have any questions or are unclear, you should always contact a doctor. It should also be noted that the hair must be dried completely after washing so that the hair root inflammation cannot spread further. In many cases, tea tree oil can also relieve the symptoms and accelerate healing. Likewise, high standards of hygiene must be observed to prevent renewed hair root inflammation. This disease does not usually have a negative impact on the life expectancy of the person affected.
You can do that yourself
Hair root inflammation is often caused by using an incorrect shaving technique. This can be quickly corrected with simple movements and little effort in everyday life. The direction of shaving and the pressure exerted on the skin must be optimized. Hectic should be avoided when shaving. The razor blades must always be kept clean and should be replaced regularly. Changing razors or shaving methods can help reduce discomfort.
In addition, the use of care products before and after shaving should be adapted to the needs of the skin. In the case of hair root inflammation, it is important that no open wounds develop, as germs can get into the organism via these. Often there are small swellings on the skin that are filled with pus fluid. Using sterile materials, anyone affected can remove the liquid themselves by gently squeezing the affected areas of skin.
If the hair root inflammation occurs more often on the head, the use of combs or brushes should be checked and optimized if possible. Frequent scratching of the head should be avoided. The use of hair care products should also be checked. In particular, people who tend to have scaly or dry skin need moisturizing care. Oily skin, on the other hand, should be treated with degreasing products.