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Laser Hair Removal For Folliculitis

laser hair removal on a woman's underarm

Laser hair removal can be an effective treatment for folliculitis in both men and women. However, it is important to understand what the symptoms are, the types of bacteria and how to prevent this from happening. Read more in our guide to folliculitis.

Table of contents

What is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is a common skin condition that can be uncomfortable and irritating. It causes inflamed hair follicles (it can be one or more) as a result of, a blockage, bacteria, or infection of one or more hair follicles when it becomes in-grown. The follicles are the tiny pockets from which each hair grows and where the name folliculitis derives. It can develop on anyone and any skin type, although certain factors can make some people more likely to get it.

What Are The Symptoms Of Folliculitis?

Initially, it may appear around the hair follicle as small red bumps or white-headed pimples. You may also experience itching, a burning sensation, sore or irritated skin.

Often, it can clear up in a few days but in more serious cases the follicles can become infected. The infection can then spread and turn into non-healing, crusty sores, leaving scarring on the affected area.

What Causes Folliculitis?

Certain skin or existing medical conditions can increase the risk of getting folliculitis. These include:

  1. Ingrown Hairs
  2. Existing acne or dermatitis
  3. Having a medical condition (diabetes, leukemia and HIV/AIDS)
  4. Medications including steroid cream or antibiotics for acne
  5. Clothing such as rubber gloves or high boots which are poorly ventilated
  6. Excessive sweating
  7. Using poorly maintained hot tubs
  8. Damaged hair follicles via shaving or waxing
  9. Wearing tight clothing
  10. Men with curly hair

Types Of Folliculitis

Folliculitis can be either superficial or deep. Superficial folliculitis involves part of the follicle. Deep folliculitis involves the whole follicle and is usually more problematic and severe.

Superficial Types Of Folliculitis

Bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus

The most common types include that which is caused by infection of the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus and that which is caused by many ingrown hairs. The appearance of both kinds of folliculitis is very similar with red inflamed pimples appearing on the area of each hair follicle, sometimes with a yellow head present which can be itchy and pus-filled.

Staphylococcus infection is often transmitted from the sufferer’s own nose where these bacteria are usually present; generally, the bacteria are completely harmless until it colonises areas it’s not meant to be like the hair follicles!


The other kind of folliculitis, sometimes called razor burns, is caused by in-growing hairs that become twisted within the follicle and cause a nasty pimple; this is usually found in men with curly hair.

It is more common in Asian, African and Caribbean men. The friction caused by shaving can damage the follicle and that’s when folliculitis occurs.

Hot Tub Folliculitis (Pseudomonas Folliculitis)

It is caused by pseudomonas bacteria, which is found in many places, including hot tubs and heated pools, in which the chlorine and pH levels aren’t well-regulated.

The risk factors for folliculitis don’t only include shaving.  If you spend a lot of time in public baths or hot tubs then you’re at increased risk as bacteria thrive in warm, wet places and this is a common way for people to pick up the bacterial strain of folliculitis.

Pityrosporum Folliculitis

This creates chronic, red, itchy pustules on the back and chest and sometimes on the neck, shoulders, upper arms and face. This type is caused by a yeast infection.

Forms of deep folliculitis include:

Sycosis barbae: Affecting men who have started to shave.

Gram-negative folliculitis: Develop if you’re receiving long-term antibiotic therapy for acne.

Boils (furuncles): These occur when hair follicles become deeply infected with staph bacteria. A red or pink bump or boil usually appears and can be painful.

Eosinophilic folliculitis: Mainly affecting people with HIV/AIDS.

Prevent Folliculitis From Ingrown Hairs

If possible, prevention is better than the cure. Tips for avoiding folliculitis include avoiding shaving if you don’t need to be clean-shaven, as this is the most common cause of ingrown hairs. Alternatives such as waxing and threading can also contribute to folliculitis.

This will lower the risks, but of course, is not an option for everyone.

Shaving Tips To Prevent Ingrown Hairs

If you must shave, do it with care and if you can less frequently. Try and adopt good shaving habits such as washing with warm water using antibacterial soap before you start. Raise embedded hairs with a soft pad by or flannel and apply generous amounts of lotion before you start.

Other tips include:

  • Shave in either direction. There is not one rule for everyone. Do what works for you
  • Try not to shave too close, either by stretching the skin or using an electric razor
  • If you are shaving manually, take care to rinse the blade after each stroke with warm water
  • Exfoliate your skin
  • Applying moisturising lotion after you shave
  • Try not to share razors, towels and flannels

How To Get Rid Of Folliculitis

Folliculitis can be prevented by scrupulous bathing, exfoliation and regular shaving breaks. For some men, however, they find that recurrent infection is so regular that the best course of action is to have the hair in the problem area permanently removed with such treatments as laser hair removal.

Will Laser Hair Removal Help folliculitis?

Yes, it can be the short answer, however, there are a number of factors that are specific to the individual and its effectiveness. These include the cause of your folliculitis and your suitability for laser hair removal treatment.

Find out more in our ultimate guide to laser hair removal.

Laser Treatment For Folliculitis Scars

Laser hair removal will destroy the problem hair follicle safely without damaging any surrounding skin tissue, as well as being able to diminish the appearance of any scarring that may have resulted from folliculitis.

In addition to helping treat folliculitis, it will also reduce your chances of developing the skin problem in the future. For severe scarring, we have several advanced options to reduce their appearance. Get in touch with our specialist team for further information.

folliculitis through shaving


Laser hair removal for folliculitis before and after picture

folliculitis before and after picture


Book Laser Hair Removal For Folliculitis

We offer expert laser hair removal services across our clinics in London and Surrey. Our flexible and free consultations are available to book online in person or virtual, or call us at 0203 871 8218 for further advice. Prices for our laser hair removal start from £22 with special offers available. Our advanced laser technology works on all skin types and tones and can bring you excellent results and an end to painful folliculitis.

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