Folliculitis is caused by sitting in a hot tub.

You can damage your hair follicles by:

  • Touching or rubbing your skin frequently
  • Wearing tight clothing
  • Having skin rub against skin
  • Shaving

When your skin is damp and hot, it’s easier to damage your hair follicles and get an infection. This can happen when tight clothing rubs against your skin while you’re bicycling on a hot day.

Many people get folliculitis from hot tubs. This is so common that there’s a condition called “hot tub folliculitis.”

The damage can also happen while you’re using a hot tub or whirlpool. When this occurs, the acne-like breakouts tend to appear on skin that was covered by your bathing suit. Most people see breakouts about 12 to 48 hours after using the hot tub.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is folliculitis?

This is a common skin infection that develops in the hair follicles. Folliculitis can appear anywhere on the skin, except for our palms and soles.

What does folliculitis look like?

It usually looks like a sudden acne breakout. Each spot may have a red ring around it, which is a sign of the infection.

What are the symptoms of folliculitis?

Symptoms can vary. You may not feel anything. Sometimes, the infection causes itchy skin. It’s also possible for your skin to feel painful.

Also called pseudo folliculitis or razor bumps, men often see these on the beard area when they shave.

How did I get folliculitis?

You get folliculitis when you damage your hair follicles. Once damaged, it’s easy for germs to get inside the follicles and cause an infection. A common source of germs is Staph aureus, which is found on our skin. Other organisms on our skin can also cause an infection.

Do I need to see a dermatologist about folliculitis?

It can be helpful to see a dermatologist to make sure you have folliculitis. The infected hair follicles can look like another skin condition, such as acne. A board-certified dermatologist can tell you whether you have folliculitis and give you tips to help clear it. Some people need medication, such as an antibiotic, to clear the folliculitis.

Seeing a dermatologist can also be helpful if you develop razor bumps from shaving and cannot stop shaving. Some men can continue shaving when they apply a medication to their skin. Your dermatologist can also give you tips that can reduce the irritation that shaving causes.