Thursday, 17 June 2010

Folliculitis What?

Few months ago, I went to a GP doctor for some medical consultation about some rashes and bumps that is visible on my face and chest.  The doctor gave me an oral antibiotics for acne and a cream (cutivate) for me to apply on the rashes and bumps.  After a month or two, it got worst!

I complained to my husband about it (once again), who had been advising me to go see a specialist (a LICENSED dermatologist) for proper diagnostic, and again he obliged me to consult a dermatologist which I later on heed his advise.

I went to Raffles Skin Center, it may be expensive, but it’s worth the price.  Dr Tan Kian Teo attended to me. Of course I brought every single medicine that the GP doctors prescribed me.  Then without any lab test he diagnosed me of having folliculitis.

folliculitis on my chest

What is Folliculitis? According to and and http:// , Folliculitis is a common skin condition that appears as numerous small red or pink little bumps at hair follicles. It can affect any part of the skin, including the neck, face, chest, back, arms, legs, buttocks, and cheeks. Often, 10-100 very small, slightly smooth bumps are scattered in a body area like the back. Some of the bumps may be slightly red or have an accompanying light-red halo indicating inflammation. Sometimes, scratching off the top reveals a small trapped or coiled hair within. Acne whiteheads, called milia, may also be in the same areas as folliculitis. Although folliculitis is primarily a skin condition of teenagers and younger adults, it is also seen in all ages.”

What had gotten me is called Malassezia folliculitis. These are tiny  dome-shaped pink-red bumps that look like pimples only that it is itchy and that grows in clusters on my chest and back.  Malassezia folliculitis as defined by the (previously called ‘pityrosporum folliculitis’) is due to proliferation of a yeast, called malassezia, within the hair follicles. It presents as an itchy, acne-like eruption and most often affects the trunk.

How did I get it? According to Dr. Teo, the folliculitis I have is caused by the oral antibiotics that I had been taking (which was prescribed to me by a GP doctor) for my acne.  The antibiotics had suppressed skin bacteria allowing yeasts to proliferate, and so goes the folliculitis.    

Based on my research, Malassezia folliculitis may also be caused by contraceptive pills and oral steroids.  It can also be caused by conditions such as :

  • Oily skin (provoked by hormonal influences)
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress or fatigue
  • Systemic illness, including:  Diabetes mellitus & Immune deficiency

 Is it contagious?  Yes it is contagious so I was advised not to share my towels and shirts to anybody.  But once treated, it wont be of course.

What is the treatment?  Dr. Teo first of all advised me to stop taking the antibiotics for my acne and the creams for eczema and steroids that was prescribed to me.  He then prescribed some Topical and oral treatments as follows:

1) Antidandruff shampoo- ketoconazole as a cleanser- selsun shampoo.  I applied it like a cream on the affected areas, leave it there for 10 minutes then I rinsed it well.  I did this for 10 days.  Afterwhich, I have reduce similar application method once a week until it totally cleared out.  

2) Topical antifungal cream – Miconazole cream (miconazole nitrate 2% w/w) which i applied on the areas affected twice a day until the pimple-like postules are gone and I have to continue applying it for 10 days after the lesions are healed

3) I was also given an oral antifungal pill – Sporanox 100 mg capsule (Itraconazole) which I took with food for 7 days at a twice a day dosage .

After 3 to 4 days of treatment I could see some improvement. And by the 10th day, the itchy red bumps are almost gone, except of course for the brown marks they left.

My further research led me to this more holistic treatment for folliculitis which include soaking the affected area in a tub of diluted white vinegar (1 part vinegar to 4 parts of water) or soaking in a bathtub with very diluted Clorox bleach (¼ cup of Clorox bleach in a bathtub full of water).

But for best treatment always consult a SPECIALIST !!! (I need to listen to my husband when it comes to medical thingy)  Oh I have to be back for a follow-up consultation on the 19th.

- Sharosem (16June2010)


  1. hi dear..really helpful post btw :)
    i guess i have some problem like yours. but unfortunately in my country the dermatologist always prescribed an oral steroid cause my pityrsprum in back were just like keloids. now i just take nizoral and ketoconazol topical.. hope it well soon :"(
    you have any other suggestion? thanks

    1. hi, fortunately with the topical and oral meds given to me, it did not recur :-)

    2. oh wow, dinitalk, i got the same condition just like yours
      docs always love to give me steroidly things, oral, high-low potent topical. simply cure the inflammation but not the yeast.

      the biggest success if i use antifungal+steroid combination. prescription all by myself not from doc. depleted in 2-4days
      too bad it keeps coming continously slowly. now my skin look like weird
      ah hope all get better soon
      maybe ill just try myself with oral
      because some paper said 100% success with oral+topical, 75% with oral only, and 10% with topical antifungal only

  2. dear fresha i was the same guy commented above, so i just realized that u live in singapore, thats very close from here.
    im interested to visit raffles skin center too, could you give me the price cost each visit? cause u know, skin center always cost a lot, i should reconsider if the price is quite high.
    thank you

    1. hi. unfortunately i don't remember how much is the exact consultation fee, around SG$ 100 i think. you can call raffles to check and make an appointment. by the way, we left sg already \:-)

  3. thank u for the post, really helpful

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  5. Hi Myfresha! I'm experiencing this one, and im really depress can you please drop me an email? :( I badly need your advice. Thank you in advance.