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An inflammation of the hair root can occur wherever there is hair on the body. The hair follicle, also called hair follicle, is located around the hair root. This structure anchors the hair root in the skin. The term folliculitis, i.e. hair follicle or hair follicle inflammation, is equated with the term hair root inflammation.
Causes of hair root inflammation
The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is usually the culprit, which triggers a hair root infection. This pathogen is actually part of the normal, healthy skin flora. However, the bacterium produces exotoxins. These toxins enter the follicles and cause inflammation. However, other bacteria and fungi can also cause folliculitis.
Symptoms of inflammation of the hair follicle
Pathogens that have penetrated the follicle funnel trigger inflammation of the hair roots. There are raised vesicles or nodules, which are usually filled with yellowish-green pus and pierced by a hair in the middle. These areas are usually itchy, but they can also be sensitive to pain.
In areas of the body that do not have hair follicles, such as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, there are no hair root infections. Predilection sites (preferred body regions) are primarily the beard area, the buttocks, chest hair, thighs and the head.
What promotes the development of folliculitis
Sweating promotes the development of folliculitis, since increased sweating can also lead to an increase in bacteria and their toxins. Diabetes mellitus or a weakened immune system promote the occurrence of hair root infections.
Frequent use of fatty ointments or fatty oils can clog the pores of the skin, pathogens that have already penetrated are trapped there and form a breeding ground for the development of hair follicle inflammation. Above all, oil-based ointments can block the natural regulatory mechanisms and in this way facilitate the penetration of the pathogens.
People suffering from acne, eczema or psoriasis are predisposed to folliculitis.
Sometimes injuries to the follicles lead to inflammation. This is often done as part of a shave and affects both men when wet shaving and women when shaving their legs, armpits or pubic area. Folliculitis can also be caused by acidity that has existed for a long time.
The inflammation of the hair root becomes a boil
The hair root inflammation is a superficial inflammation of the hair follicle. If this spreads deeper, it becomes a boil. This creates a larger, up to walnut-sized knot that has a pus collection in the middle. The area is red and warm.
A boil can sometimes cause quite a bit of pain, depending on the degree and location. For example, a boil in the armpit area is usually a very painful affair. Predilection sites for boils are the neck, buttocks, inner thighs and upper lip. If boils spread over an area, this is known as carbuncle.
Conventional medical treatment for folliculitis
The treatment depends on the degree of inflammation of the hair root. Antibiotic ointments are often given by a doctor. In the case of massive inflammation, however, the internal application of a suitable antibiotic can also be the method of choice.
If the triggers are fungi, it is treated with an antifungal. In beard lichen (hair root inflammation in the beard), you should not shave wetly until the inflammation has subsided. Adequate hygiene is particularly important here.
Research into causes comes first. In the case of diabetics, a visit to the doctor should not be missed to determine whether the patient is also correctly medicated. In addition, the nutrition of the person concerned must be questioned. If a weakened immune system is the cause of the hair root inflammation, measures should be taken that strengthen the immune system. Stool renovation, autologous blood therapy, cupping head treatment and a wide variety of plants such as taiga root, echinacea, arnica or propolis are used.
Applied externally, the application of abscess ointments, which contain the active ingredients of the larch and the pine, and promote healing. Warm compresses, enriched with a little chamomile, contribute to the healing. Homeopathic remedies such as Hepar sulfuris, Silicea, Myristica sebifera are also used here.
Silicea is gladly taken if sufferers tend to recurrent suppuration, but also for a thorough healing. Myristica, called the homeopathic knife, helps to open the pus and melt it. Hepar sulfuris is used for unhealthy skin that is suppurative. In the case of recurring, frequent inflammations, the constitutional agent is selected through a detailed and thorough medical history.
An effective home remedy for hair follicle inflammation is a layer of healing earth, since it relieves the itching and promotes healing. To do this, mix the soil with a little water so that a viscous porridge is formed and apply it to the affected skin area about half a centimeter thick. After about 30 minutes, rinse the healing earth with lukewarm water.
The aromatherapy tea tree oil is recommended. Dabbed in the smallest amounts, this has an anti-inflammatory effect. When it comes to inflammation of the hair roots, the Schüssler Salt Therapy relies on the salts No. 11 Silicea, No. 1 Calcium fluoratum and No. 12 Calcium sulfuricum. These are primarily administered internally. However, they can also be mixed with a little water to form a paste and applied externally to the pustules to relieve the itching and pain and to support the healing process.
If patients suffer from recurring hair root infections, the cause must be investigated. Diabetes, acne and other skin conditions can be the reason. Hygiene is generally the order of the day for folliculitis.
In the case of beard lichen, for example, the wet razor should not be used for some time and the dry razor should be disinfected after and before each use. If the small pustules are open, the areas should be cleaned until they have healed. The diluted calendula essence is a great help.
Diet change in case of acidification
Excessive acidity can trigger an inflammation of the hair roots. A change in diet helps here. Above all, it is important to reduce everything that is animal. This primarily includes meat, sausages, fish and dairy products. These foods are all metabolized "acid". In contrast, almost all types of fruit and vegetables are basic foods.
It would be best to eat so that the ratio of basic to acidic is 3: 1. In addition, it is important to ensure that there is sufficient fluid in the form of still water. Of course, changing your diet won't work overnight. A little patience is required here. Naturopathic practice usually also asks about eating habits and recommends a change if necessary.
Frequently recurring inflammation of the hair roots
If a patient is frequently affected by recurrent hair root inflammation, special attention should be paid to the cause of the inflammation. If there is an underlying disease, this should of course be treated first. Under certain circumstances, an additional strengthening of the immune system is recommended. (sw)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Merck and Co., Inc .: Folliculitis and Skin Abscesses (accessed: Aug 5, 2019), msdmanuals.com
- Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer: Folliculitis (overview) L73 / L01 (access: August 5, 2019), enzyklopaedie-dermatologie.de
- Amboss GmbH: soft tissue infection (accessed: August 5, 2019), amboss.com
- Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG): Boils and carbuncles (accessed: August 5, 2019), gesundheitsinformation.de
- Goebeler, Matthias / Hamm, Henning: Basic knowledge of dermatology, Springer, 2017
- Sterry, Wolfram: Short Textbook Dermatology, Thieme, 2nd edition, 2018
- Mayo Clinic: Folliculitis (accessed: August 5, 2019), mayoclinic.org
ICD codes for this disease: L01, L73ICD codes are internationally valid encodings for medical diagnoses. You can find e.g. in doctor's letters or on disability certificates.