Most of us already have two big risk factors for developing hair bumps–or “folliculitis”–which is due to irritated hair follicles.
First, we have hair follicles pretty much all over our body.
Second, we have bacteria (staphylococcus aureas, or “staph”) all over our body.
Basically, we’re not only hairy creatures, but we all have cooties, too.
And when bacteria or other germs get into hair follicles, they can become irritated, which leads to hair bumps.
So, since we have plenty of hair and plenty of germs on our skin, how come we don’t all wind up with this troublesome skin condition?
There are lots of different reasons that some of us are more likely to have trouble in this area. One thing we might think about is our risk factors.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common factors that increase our chances for winding up with folliculitis. These risk factors include:
- skin trauma
- certain skin conditions
- certain medical conditions and illnesses
- certain medicines
- humid, warm environments
- being overweight
Skin trauma includes wounds from trauma or surgery; scrapes and scratches; and trauma from shaving (especially if we shave often). Any breaks in our skin might allow bacteria and other types of germs to get inside the hair follicles.
Certain skin conditions–such as acne, eczema and dermatitis–put us at higher risk.
Illnesses that keep our immune system from working properly can make us less able to fight off any infection. Examples of these illnesses include HIV infection, cancer, and diabetes.
Certain medicines also can keep our immune system from working as well as it should, and increase our risk for infection. These medicines include steroids (including ointments and creams), drugs prescribed to patients who have received an organ transplant, and different types of cancer drugs.
Environments that are warm and humid make it harder for our skin to “breathe.” If we sweat a lot, and it doesn’t evaporate as well as it should, bacteria can build up even more on our skin. Examples of warm, humid environments include not only warm locations, but also hot tubs and heated swimming pools.
Our weight plays a role in our risk for developing folliculitis. Overweight or obese people tend to have more problems with this skin condition.
While staphylococcus areus bacteria, or “staph,” is a major cause of folliculitis, other types of germs can cause it, too. Hair bumps can be due to bacterial, viral, parasitic, or fungal infection.
What is bacterial folliculitis?