If your case of folliculitis is mild, you could try to cure your rash at home. A combination of over-the-counter products and home remedies might be able to clear up a mild infection and save you a trip to the doctor.
To start, cleanse the affected area at least twice daily with a mild antibacterial soap to avoid other contaminants compounding your infection. Then you can use a warm compress to reduce swelling, promote drainage and help ease itching. To make a warm compress, simply run a washcloth under warm water and squeeze out the excess water and apply it directly to your rash. You can also try to relieve any itching and inflammation by applying an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.
You may choose to modify your warm compresses if your folliculitis is a bit more severe. Burow's solution (a combination of water and aluminum acetate), which is available over the counter and functions as a type of astringent, can be added to the compress to help clear up the skin [source: WebMD]. For folliculitis of the scalp, Dr. Andrew Weil recommends shampooing with a product made with tea tree oil, which is a natural germicide and antibacterial agent [source: Weil].
While these home treatments are useful, call a doctor if your rash spreads or if fever, warmth at the rash site or increased swelling occurs. This may mean you have a more serious infection and will need to use antibiotics or antifungals instead.
Let's say you've had folliculitis in the past but it's gone now. If you're hoping to avoid another outbreak, there are several things you can do at home to prevent folliculitis. Bathe daily with mild antibacterial soap to avoid any buildup of follicle-clogging substances. It also helps to wear loose-fitting clothing if you are prone to folliculitis, to avoid any irritation. Naturally, shaving is also an irritant as it pulls at hairs and can disrupt the follicles. If you already have folliculitis, try to avoid shaving until it clears up. If that isn't an option for you, at least change blades every time you shave for a cleaner, more exact shave [source: WebMD].
While you can treat this pesky infection at home, your humble abode could be the site of one common cause of folliculitis: the hot tub. Read on to learn how your hot tub could be a hotbed of infection.