#AskID : Prof Ryan about Acne

We asked Prof Caitriona Ryan:
‘There are several causes of spots or pimples of the chest and back, the most common being folliculitis and truncal acne.

Folliculitis is a group of conditions which cause inflammation of the hair follicles. It typically presents as small red bumps or white-headed pimples around hair follicles. It can be itchy, painful or asymptomatic. It can affect anywhere there are hairs, including the chest, back, buttocks, arms and legs. Patients often feel self-conscious of their appearance which can affect clothing choices.

Folliculitis can be due to infection, particularly bacterial or yeast infections, occlusion (blockage), or irritation of the skin. Typically the hair follicle is damaged or irritated which allows entry of infection. Bacterial folliculitis causes itchy white pus filled spots, and typically occurs when hair follicles become infected with Staphylococcus aureus. Staph bacteria colonises the skin in healthy individuals but can cause problems when the skin or hair follicle becomes inflamed. Pityrosporum folliculitis is a very common yeast folliculitis which produces red, itchy pustules on the back and chest and sometimes on the neck, shoulders and upper arms.

The treatment of folliculitis depends on the causes. For those with bacterial folliculitis topical or oral antibiotics are often required. For those with pityosporum folliculitis topical or oral anti-yeast medications are required. The anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties of sodium hypochlorite have proven useful in the management of folliculitis by reducing the colonisation of bacterial, yeast and viruses without breeding antibiotic resistance. For this reason @ @clnskincare CLN Bodywash is a big favourite of dermatologists in the treatment of patients and sports athletes who have a tendency to chronic folliculitis and truncal acne.
Tips to reduce the risk of developing folliculitis:
• Wear loose clothing when it’s hot and humid. The friction caused by tight clothing can injure your hair follicles, causing folliculitis.
• Change out of your workout clothes and shower immediately after exercise
• Wash your swimsuit or wetsuit after each use and let it dry completely before wearing it again
Truncal acne is simply acne that affects the chest, back and shoulder and is treated in the same way as facial acne with topical retinoids, topical antibiotics, topical benzoyl peroxide, oral antibiotics and isotretinoin in more severe cases.
Contact your GP or dermatologist if your folliculitis or truncal acne is widespread and lasts for more than a few weeks. You may need topical or oral medication.