Folliculitis or Herpes worried

Folliculitis or Herpes?

June 05, 2018

There is no doubt in my mind that waking up to a cluster of abnormal growths on the skin, such as blisters, warts, and lesions don’t set the day well, not for anyone. If found around genitalia or the oral cavity, this usually triggers paranoia, and the first thing that comes to mind is HERPES. Herpes, as most of us know, is a viral infection that reveals itself in the form of blisters and sores. It’s not a pretty sight, and what’s worse is that sh*t sticks. It’s incurable. However, if you are in this situation and you may think you have herpes, don’t jump to conclusions! It could be folliculitis.

Herpes and Folliculitis are commonly interchangeable, and one can easily be mistaken for the other. Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair producing follicles on the skin. Generally, folliculitis develops around regions where hair growth is dense, e.g. the chest, face and genital areas resulting from damaged hair follicles caused by friction, waxing and shaving. These damaged hair follicles then become infected with several organisms, commonly either bacteria, fungus or viruses.

When comparing the appearance of herpes and folliculitis, you will see that herpes comes in the form of small individual or clustered blisters that contain clear or yellow liquid, whereas folliculitis comes in the form of pus-filled papules. Herpes, on the one hand, is painful, where recovery leaves no scaring, unlike folliculitis, which tends to be itchy and leave scarring. It is important to note that herpes is a highly contagious virus, which can be sexually transmitted, whereas in most cases folliculitis is not infectious.

If you do end up being diagnosed with folliculitis, what can you do?

  1. Wear loose clothing to prevent friction from agitating the papules.
  2. Wash the infected area with antiseptic soap.
  3. Stop shaving the infected area until it has healed, and maintain hygiene through regularly changing the blades you use to shave your pubic area.

Did you know that many STI's don't have symptoms? If left untreated they can seriously damage your fertility, health and life.

If you’re unsure what to do or if you’re worried about an STI, we’re here to help with safe and easy tests you can do at home.

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