Anyone ever had folliculitis?! Please help!

I'm 18 years old and have been natural since 13/14. I've never had any major hair health problems or sensitivity to things, however beginning in September 2014 I noticed my hair just wasn't acting the same. My scalp became sensitive, tender and itchy in some spots. I thought that it was simply due to lack of maintenance/stress, but the problem just didn't seem to let up. My hair was dry, my scalp was dry and it was shedding, not breaking, like crazy. Around the month of May, I found two small red bumps on my scalp. I went to the doctor, was told I had mild folliculitis and given oral clindamycin (antibiotics) for a week and a topical ointment. It started to get a little better, but recently my hair has just been a mess. It's so dry that it tangles like crazy and sheds a lot more than usual. I'm so upset because this is a major setback. I just found three other small bumps on my scalp again and my scalp is just dry, itchy and tender. I plan on going to the doctor again, but I would like to know if any of you have also had this problem. I've been doing ACV rinses, deep treatments, and washing with TGEL AND TSAL, but I can't nurse my hair back to health until I help my scalp first. Below is a picture of one of the small red dots on my scalp currently. :(

2 Answers

Some people have this problem if they're not properly cleansing their scalp or have a sensitivity to an ingredient.  It sounds like you're using a lot of different products on your hair right now, so if I were you, I'd pare that list down a bit--pick a mild cleanser and on wash day you need to really massage the cleanser into your scalp for a couple of minutes, before making sure you rinse everything completely out.If you've developed a sensitivity to something, it's easiest to start by eliminating the common allergens--wheat, dairy, soy, and corn.  So make sure none of your products have any of those proteins in them.  Most companies are good about labeling whether gluten (wheat) is in a product, but for the others you just have to read labels carefully (protip: vegetable protein usually means soy).  Whatever products you end up using, use them consistently for a few weeks to give your scalp time to adjust.Obviously, go back to your doctor and see what he/she recommends, and maybe also ask about some recommendations for a diet to help fight inflammation or even allergy testing.  Hopefully you and your doctor can work together to figure out something that works for you.It turns out that I'm allergic to soy, but before I figured that out I lost a lot of hair and my scalp was so itchy and inflamed all the time and my hair broke like mad...and then the same thing happened to my mom. The good news is that the hair has all grown back and my scalp is fine, so I hope that gives you a little peace!Good luck!
Folliculitis is actually a fairly common problem and is a superficial infection of the hair follicles. We have noninfectious bacteria and fungal organisms all over our scalp and skin anyway. Occassionally  they can get down into the follicles and produce the red bumps and pustules your seeing. If your scalp is very itchy and you're scratching it's possible to  introduce bacteria/fungus into other follicles as well. Since you improved with oral antibiotics you most likely had a bacterial folliculitis.You may want to consider using a shampoo which has some Tea Tree Oil as it has some antibacterial properties and find products or shampoos with peppermint that soothe and cool the scalp reducing the itchiness you may be experiencing. Unfortunately, folliculitis is often recurrent.  I would definitely suggest seeing your Doctor again for more treatment options. While you may not want to continue oral antibiotics for a long duration, your doctor can probably prescribe a  liquid topical antibiotic to help clear up the pustules/bumps or other topical medications that can help with the itching if the over the counter medications don't help. Many of the shampoos made for dandruff like Tgel, or Selsun can be really harsh and strip your hair of it's moisture. I would alternate using these products with your regular shampoo or only as needed if your hair is really beginning to get dry. Hope this helps some and best of luck to you.