Bacterial Skin Infections

Author: Anne D. Walling
Date: March 15, 2001

(Great Britain--The Practitioner, October 2000, p. 836.) Infections involving hair follicles can be caused by different organisms and may result in different clinical presentations. Acute folliculitis, which usually occurs on the neck, beard area, buttocks or thighs, often follows abrasion or chemical injury that has allowed infection by Staphylococcus aureus. Topical antiseptic treatment is adequate for most cases, although some patients may benefit from systemic flucloxacillin or topical antibiotics such as mupirocin ointment. Severe cases of folliculitis can progress to form furuncles or carbuncles in which there are necrosis and deep infection of the follicle that spreads to surrounding tissue. These conditions require systemic antibiotic therapy as well as local management plus a search for underlying predisposing causes, such as diabetes. In sycosis, the beard area can become studded with pustules caused by subacute or chronic infection of hair follicles by S. aureus. While severe cases require systemic antibiotic therapy, most cases respond to treatment with a chlorhexidine wash.

COPYRIGHT 2001 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

© 2006,, All Rights Reserved.