Folliculitis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 1/15/2021

Folliculitis is a common skin disorder that involves the hair follicles of the skin. It does not involve areas of the body where hair is not present.

Signs and symptoms of folliculitis include

  • clusters of small red bumps or white-headed pimples that develop around hair follicles or
  • pus-filled blisters that break open and crust over.

Associated signs and symptoms can include itchy, burning skin, painful or tender skin, and if areas of folliculitis grow closely together, a large swollen bump or mass.

Causes of folliculitis

Inflammation of the hair follicles causes folliculitis, and it occurs in areas such the face, scalp, chest, back, buttocks, groin, and thighs. Bacteria or irritation such as shaving, chafing, chemicals, ingrown hairs, or drugs can also cause folliculitis.

Other folliculitis symptoms and signs

  • Clusters of Small Red Bumps or White-Headed Pimples That Develop Around Hair Follicles
  • Itchy, Burning Skin, Painful or Tender Skin
  • Large Swollen Bump or Mass
  • Pus-Filled Blisters That Break Open and Crust Over


Eczema Browse our medical image collection of allergic skin disorders such as psoriasis and dermatitis and more caused by allergies See Images

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.