Have you ever experienced having scalp problems like scabs on scalp, dandruff and others? I used to have a serious problem with dandruff before and it has caused me discomfort because of the itchiness associated with it. Sometimes, it has caused me to lose concentration while biking. But I am fortunate enough because dandruff and even scalp scabs are a less serious problem compared to scalp folliculitis. I know of one fellow biker who had this problem and it was totally ugly.
Folliculitis is like pimples because it causes bumps on the skin. But it is an infection affecting the hair follicles. It may affect other parts of the body but is most common in the head, thighs and groin.
There are several factors that can cause this condition which includes bacteria, fungus and yeast. You may also have folliculitis if your follicles are damaged. Wearing clothes that irritate the follicles as well as shaving may also cause it. For boys, folliculitis is commonly caused by follicles becoming irritated or blocked by oils or gel. A person is also more likely to get folliculitis if he or she frequently uses the swimming pool, whirlpool or hut tub, or wears tight clothing. If you are using steroid creams or antibiotics for a long time, you are also more prone to having it.
Folliculitis can be easily managed if treated early while it has not yet spread. It usually heals in about two weeks. What you could do is to apply warm compress containing a small amount of vinegar to stop the itching and promote healing. There are also especially formulated shampoos designed for folliculitis.
But you cannot treat folliculitis unless you know you have it. Symptoms to look for include red bumps with hair growing in the center of each bump. The bumps may have pus and can be itchy. When these bumps are broken, blood, pus or both may drain from them. There is also hot tub folliculitis which commonly appears after 72 hours of using a spa or hot tub.
Generally, you don’t have to seek medical attention for mild folliculitis. However, if the itchiness or pain does not go away after several days or weeks, or if it has spread to other follicles, you may have to consult your doctor for proper treatment. You should also see your doctor if you are already experiencing fever and if the infected area becomes swollen, red, warm and painful. Your doctor may recommend using antifungal pills or antibiotics to get rid of it. In severe cases, laser treatment may be your best option. Laser treatment will destroy your hair follicles so they will no longer be infected.
While folliculitis can be treated, prevention is better than cure. Preventive measures include bathing everyday using mild soap, avoiding the use of oil or gel on the head, and avoiding sharing of towels and other personal items.
If you are into BMX biking and are suffering from any scalp problem, I would recommend solving your scalp problem first so that you will not lose concentration by the pain, itchiness or discomfort caused by your scalp problem.