What Causes “Hot Tub Folliculitis”?

Hot Tub Folliculitis

Folliculitis is an infection of the follicles and is usually caused by the hair follicle being blocked or plugged by an ingrown hair or some sort of bacteria. This is usually caused by excessive shaving of an area or if the area is being rubbed constantly by some sort of clothing such as a hat or toque.

A common form of folliculitis is caused by the bacteria pseudomonas aeruginosa. Basically, it is just caused by prolonged exposure to hot tubs or pools that have not been properly cleaned. This is why we recommend that our hair transplant patients avoid swimming or exposure to hot tubs and pools for at least 2 weeks after a hair transplant procedure.

The bacteria that causes this type of folliculitis is most commonly found in hot tubs, especially those that are made with wood. However, it is also commonly found in swimming pools and public water parks.

What Causes Hot Tub Folliculitis

Symptoms Of Hot Tub Folliculitis

The most obvious places where the symptoms of hot tub folliculitis are seen is the areas that are submerged in the water such as legs, hips, thighs, genitals, and buttocks. It is especially noticeable in the areas that wet clothing, such as a bathing suit, has covered. However, hair transplant patients are especially susceptible to the bacteria in the donor area and recipient areas of the hair transplant because of the open wounds and newly transplanted hair follicles.

The symptoms of hot tub folliculitis will start out as a rash that resembles the chicken pox, but will eventually turn into a boil or very large and painful pimple. Although the rash will be quite itchy and painful, if possible, it is best to not scratch this area and to apply medication such as Loprox lotion right away. Scratching the area will only make the bacteria spread. It will be faster and easier to treat too if the affected spots are not irritated. The rash will most times only last 7 to 10 days, but the Loprox lotion that we prescribe to our patients can accelerate the healing time.

If you start to see ingrown hairs or pimples in the areas where the hair has been transplanted, it is very important to get them treated right away. If left unchecked, folliculitis will kill the transplanted follicles, and therefore, new hairs will not grow in that area.

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What Causes Hot Tub Folliculitis


In most cases, apart from a topical antibiotic like the Loprox lotion, no extensive treatment is required, as the condition disappears within a week or so, but in cases of severe infection, an oral antibiotic might be prescribed.

The best option for any patients who have had a recent FUE hair transplant is to avoid swimming in any pools, water parks, ocean, lakes, or hot tubs for the first 10 days or so.

If you have any issues or concerns with your hair transplant post-operative care such as a possible folliculitis infection, the team here at the Toronto Hair Transplant Clinic is always ready to help you.

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