Each hair on your body grows out of a small cavity or pouch called a follicle. On average, the human body has about 5 million hair follicles that function normally, giving you both wanted and unwanted hair.

But, just to remind you of their presence, a few of the follicles decide to malfunction and rise and shine as red bumps.


When hair follicles get inflamed or infected, the condition is called folliculitis.

It can affect a single follicle or a cluster of follicles, appearing as a rash, small red bumps or white-headed pimples. It commonly occurs on the scalp, groin, beard area or armpits.

how to treat folliculitis

Causes of Folliculitis

Folliculitis can be caused by a bacterial, yeast or fungal infection. It can be classified as superficial folliculitis or deep folliculitis, depending on how much of the follicle is infected. While a superficial condition may heal up on its own in a week, deep folliculitis is more severe and may require your doctor’s intervention and antibiotics.


Some conditions that give way to folliculitis and factors that can contribute to it are:

  • Friction from shaving.
  • Wearing tight clothes.
  • Heat and sweat that block or irritate the follicles.
  • Acne or dermatitis.
  • Excessive use of makeup.
  • Using a hot tub or swimming pool that is not clean or treated with chlorine.
  • An infected cut or wound from which the bacteria spread to the nearby hair follicles.
  • Medical conditions like diabetes or HIV that make you more prone to folliculitis, as it’s harder for your body to fight the infection.

Symptoms of Folliculitis

  • Small, red bumps, which may form singly or in clusters of hair follicles.
  • Burning or itching on the bumps.
  • Tenderness or pain.
  • Blisters that break open, draining out pus and/or blood.

Preventing Folliculitis

  • Shave in the direction of your hair growth. Also, either use an electric shaver or a clean blade for each shaving session.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitted clothes that can irritate your skin.
  • Don’t share personal grooming products and equipment with others.
  • Use skin products that keep your skin moisturized without clogging the pores.
  • Take a shower after heavy sweating.
  • Wash your towels and washcloths frequently to maintain hygiene.
  • If you use rubber gloves frequently, wash them often with soap and water and let them dry completely before using again.

Home Treatment to Cure Folliculitis

Here are 7 simple home remedies to help you manage folliculitis.

Method 1: Turmeric

Turmeric is an excellent cure for folliculitis. Its active compound called curcumin is both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It helps reduce the itching, pain, and inflammation and also fights the bacteria or fungi causing the infection. It is also an effective remedy for treating boils.

Turmeric should be used both internally and externally to treat folliculitis.

# Topical Treatment

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need

  • Turmeric powder (antibacterial and anti-inflammatory) – ½ tablespoon
  • Olive oil (anti-inflammatory and acts as an adhesive) – 1 tablespoon
Step 1. Make a paste of turmeric powder and olive oil

make a paste of turmeric powder and olive oil

  • Put a ½ tablespoon of turmeric powder in a bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Mix them well to form a paste.
Step 2. Apply the paste on the infected area once daily

apply paste on infected area

  • Apply the paste on the infected follicles.
  • Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Since turmeric can stain your clothes, you can cover the area with a bandage during this time.
  • Rinse it off with water.
  • Apply once daily to treat folliculitis. Along with oral consumption of turmeric, the problem should be gone in 1 week.

# Oral Consumption

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need

  • Turmeric powder (antibacterial and anti-inflammatory) – 1 teaspoon
  • Milk (cow, soy or almond milk) – 1 glass
Step 1. Cook the milk and turmeric powder

cook milk and turmeric powder

  • Pour 1 glass of milk into a pan.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to the milk.
  • Stir and let it cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil, then take it off the heat.
Step 2. Drink the turmeric milk twice daily

pour and drink turmeric milk

  • Transfer the turmeric drink to a glass and drink up.
  • Drink turmeric milk twice every day, along with the topical application, to treat folliculitis in 1 week.

Method 2: Tea Tree Oil

If you’re suffering from folliculitis on your scalp, tea tree oil can bring quick relief and cure it completely within a few days. Tea tree oil is an antifungal agent that can treat a number of skin problems, including folliculitis. It is also a popular remedy for treating ringworms, impetigo, itchy scalp, and vaginal odor.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need

  • Tea tree oil (antifungal) – 10 to 15 drops
  • Olive oil (nourishes skin and scalp) – ½ cup

Step 1. Mix tea tree oil and olive oil in a spray bottle

mix tea tree oil and olive oil in spray bottle

  • Pour ½ cup of olive oil into a spray bottle.
  • Add 10 to 15 drops of tea tree oil to it.
  • Put the cap on and shake the bottle well to mix the oils.

Step 2. Spray the oil mix on your scalp and hair 2 or 3 times a week

spray oil blend on your scalp and hair

  • Spray the oil mix on your scalp and hair.
  • Massage it for a few minutes to help the oil penetrate the scalp. It may give a slight tingling sensation, which is normal.
  • Leave it in your hair overnight.
  • The next morning, wash your hair with a mild shampoo followed by a conditioner.
  • Repeat this remedy 2 or 3 times a week to cure folliculitis in 2 weeks.

Method 3: Apple Cider Vinegar

Being the panacea for a number of health issues, apple cider vinegar is also an effective remedy to treat folliculitis. It has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that banish the bacteria causing the infection. It also restores the pH level of the scalp when used as a hair rinse.

Note: Undiluted apple cider vinegar can irritate the skin. So, always dilute it first and also do a patch test to check your skin’s sensitivity.

Single-Step Treatment: Use diluted apple cider vinegar as a hair rinse

use diluted apple cider vinegar as hair rinse

  • Mix ½ cup of apple cider vinegar with ½ cup of water.
  • Use the diluted apple cider vinegar as a rinse after washing your hair.
  • Wait 5 minutes, then rinse your hair again with water.
  • Do this daily to treat folliculitis in 2 weeks.

For use on the skin, soak a cotton ball in diluted apple cider vinegar and apply it on the infected area. Let it dry on its own. Repeat twice daily to get noticeable results in 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.

Method 4: Coconut Oil

There is little doubt that coconut oil is a heal-all, cure-all oil. The fatty acids present in virgin coconut oil are both antibacterial and antifungal, which can successfully cure skin problems and also keep your skin well-moisturized.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply virgin coconut oil on the infected follicles

apply virgin coconut oil

  • Apply coconut oil directly on the infected areas of your skin and scalp.
  • Massage it gently, so that it is absorbed well into the skin.
  • Apply coconut oil 3 times every day to treat folliculitis in 2 to 3 weeks.

Method 5: Sea Salt

Sea salt is another effective remedy that can come handy for treating folliculitis. Sea salt is rich in minerals that replenish the skin. It also acts as a disinfectant to clean the infected site.

Single-Step Treatment: Mix sea salt in warm water and apply

mix sea salt with warm water

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of sea salt in 1 cup of warm water.
  • Stir well until the salt is completely dissolved in the water.
  • Soak the infected site in the salt solution for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • If that's not possible, soak a cotton ball in the salt solution and use it to administer saline compress over the affected area.
  • If the infection is on several parts of your body, fill your bathtub with water and add 1 cup of sea salt to it. Soak in it for 30 minutes.
  • Apply it on your skin or soak in a salt bath twice daily to treat folliculitis in 3 weeks.

Method 6: Listerine

Almost every household has a bottle of Listerine. Its antibacterial and antiseptic qualities make it an effective and inexpensive solution to treat folliculitis on the scalp. Listerine helps to disinfect the area and dries out the bumps, thus speeding up the healing process.

Note: Use amber-colored Listerine only for this remedy.

Step 1. Dilute Listerine with water

dilute listerine with water

  • Fill a spray bottle halfway with water.
  • Fill the remaining half with Listerine.
  • Put the cap on the bottle, shake it well and your Listerine spray is ready to use.

Step 2. Use it to treat your scalp once every 3 days

use it to treat your scalp

  • Shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
  • Spray the diluted Listerine all over your scalp.
  • Massage it into your scalp for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Leave it in for 5 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water.
  • Do this once every third day to heal folliculitis completely in 3 to 4 weeks.

Method 7: Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can also turn out to be a savior when dealing with frequent bouts of minor folliculitis. It works by zapping the bacteria in one clean swipe and prevents the infection from spreading.

Note: It can sting a little when you apply rubbing alcohol directly on the infected follicles, but the sensation should subside soon.

Things you’ll need:


things you'll need

  • Rubbing alcohol (bactericidal agent)
  • Cotton swabs

Single-Step Treatment: Apply rubbing alcohol on the infected area

apply rubbing alcohol on infected area

  • Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol.
  • Apply it on the infected follicles.
  • Let the rubbing alcohol dry out on its own.
  • Apply it twice every day until the infection clears up.

Summary of How to Get Rid of Folliculitis

Summary of How to Get Rid of Folliculitis

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