Every hair on the human body grows from a follicle, the tiny skin pouch that anchors each strand of hair. Candida folliculitis is the condition caused when the yeast Candida invades the hair follicles. It may be deep in the skin or superficial and localized to the follicle. The infection may be limited to the arm pits, scalp, groin or beard area. At times it can be generalized, invading the hairy areas of the body as well as occluded areas such as under the breasts, and skin folds of obese people. Since Candida folliculitis involves the deeper parts of the skin, there is always a risk of the infection spreading to the internal areas of the body.
The human skin is a host to an assortment of microorganisms including bacteria and fungi. Some are useful to the body; some cause no harm or benefits, and a small number are pathogenic, causing harmful infections. One of them is Candida folliculitis characterized by tender, swollen areas around the hair follicles. It usually looks like red pimples with a hair in the center of each one. They may have pus in them, and often cause itching and burning.
Mild cases of Candida folliculitis sometimes resolve spontaneously, but often return or spread to other areas and get worse. Candida folliculitis may be treated with antifungal medications like fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), or terbinafine (Lamisil). A corticosteroid is normally prescribed to reduce inflammation. A shampoo containing selenium sulfide, selenium, or propylene glycol is also effective. Recalcitrant cases may be treated with laser. It destroys the hair follicle and reduces the scarring from folliculitis. But on the negative side, hair will not grow back in the treated area and its cost is prohibitive. Warm, wet compresses help folliculitis heal faster and ease the itching and burning. White vinegar compress is also very effective.
Prevention of Candida folliculitis is easy and cheap. Avoid sharing towels, washcloths, or other personal items. Do not scratch infected areas. Wash hands and fingernails as frequently as possible. Avoid shaving the infected area, tight clothes, using oils on the skin, and bathe regularly with antibacterial soap.
The etiology of Candida is very complex involving a range of physical, mental, emotional and other factors. To rid the body of Candida folliculitis, a small puzzle in the Candida overgrowth, requires holistic approach. Healthy lifestyle habits, personal hygiene, weight maintenance, choice of food, stress control are all modalities of the holistic treatment. This will create an unfriendly environment for the yeast and other pathogens to proliferate leading to health.