Folliculitis - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Folliculitis. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Elle (The Netherlands) on 06/30/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Hi All,

I posted about this issue before. As a sufferer of this condition for 8 years, I feel it is good to give an update because I now finally have it 98% under control. I was (mis) diagnosed with folliculitus decalvans a couple of years ago. The dermatologist prescribed low dose roaccutane. It cleared up the condition until I stopped the medication and the problem came back. So here is what I know, how I control it, and hopefully it can help someone out there.


Hats, stress (especially in situations in which I feel I don't have control, or not feeling good enough), not sleeping enough, not washing my hair EVERY SECOND DAY.

What made it worse/did not help:

Turmeric paste, yogurt, honey, castor oil, tea tree oil, all kinds of anti acne products, zink ointment especially, washing hair with anti dandruff shampoo, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, changes in diet

What helps:

A small dab of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar on the problem spot morning and night. DO NOT douse all surrounding tissues on your scalp with vinegar!

I believe if you treat small pimples like problem skin, the surrounding tissues will start to act like problem skin and so spread the condition. If it is in my hair where it is not visible, I usually just leave it alone, and it will dry out by itself.

For visible hairline problem areas:

  1. Leave a pimple until it forms a yellow head for as long as you can. Otherwise bring it to a head with a warm washcloth.
  2. Dab it with apple cider vinegar once or twice a day, until it pops. Be careful not to spread pus.
  3. Once the lesion is drained and DRY (30 minutes later) cover it with a thin layer of benzoil peroxide. That's it.

Drinking green tea and lemon water and eating lots of vegetables speeds up the healing process too.

Good luck to anyone who struggles with this disease. XXX

Epsom Salt Poultices

Posted by David Simons, M.D. (Boulder, Co 80302) on 04/29/2017 2 posts

Recurrent Staphylococcal Folliculitis and early superficial wound infections (presumably staphylococcal)

The probability is that any person such as myself who gets occasional occurrences of of these conditions is probably a so-called carrier of staphylococcus aureus which means that these bacteria tend to colonize some part of their body surface. The most commonly studied area for this condition has been the mucosa of the anterior nose and it has been well shown that a full course of oral antibiotics for such organisms can be transiently successful but is followed by recurrent colonization in the anterior nose within 1 to 3 months of treatment. This is the so-called carrier state. Inasmuch it is not permanently curable some interest has been shown in the management of people who are staph carriers. The problem in medical research is that most interest for study is often directed at prescription medications.

Treatments which are nonprescription are rarely studied. Such is the case with magnesium sulfate which is otherwise known as Epsom salt.

Personal experience with spraying the skin surface with Listerine mouthwash solution and then applying a dusting of powdered Epsom salts followed by massaging this into the area of where Listerine has been applied on a once daily basis usually results in resolution of folliculitis within 3 to 7 days.

For what it is worth, I have personally had numerous small skin injuries which have resulted in redness and swelling around such injuries within 1 to 3 days. Traditional prescription treatment of this situation is with oral antibiotics. As a nonprescription alternative I have found that a poultice comprised of a gauze pad covered with aquaphor ointment and then dusted with powdered Epsom salts applied to the wound area on a daily basis as a dressing usually results in decreased redness and swelling around the area of the wound within 3-5 days and if continued usually results in total resolution and wound healing. It is well-known that ointment such as Vaseline or Aquaphor are agents which can successfully transfer into the skin, almost any substance which is mixed with these agents. This makes the use of these agents on gauze or non-adherents wound dressings a reasonable medium with which to apply the Epsom salts to an infected wound area.

I have been unable to find any scientific studies of the use of Epsom salts in the early management of wound infection but based on personal experience feel that it is a subject worthy of study.

Inasmuch as it is nonprescription, it will probably never receive financial backing for formal study.


Posted by Tali (Stamford Ct ) on 03/15/2017
5 out of 5 stars

I feel like I need to pay it forward. I found this forum after 3 months of folliculitis on my legs, armpits and occasionally in my nose. It hurt every time I got a new one and the ones that were visible made me feel awful.

When I read this forum about turmeric and black pepper I decided that I'd try it cause nothing else was working. I had heard about lemon ginger honey tea from my sister as a preventative measure for the common cold so I thought why not add fresh turmeric and black pepper to that. I drank a cup of this tea religiously and after 2 weeks I had maybe one left and no new ones appeared. I was overjoyed. I do have to say that if I forget to drink my tea every day I do get one every now and then, but never when I drink my tea every single day. (My husband says I'm addicted to the tea now :)

It's been great for my acne as well and general well being.

I basically make a concentrate for about a week and just add it to hot water each day.

  • One lemon with the whole outer peel cut off (I don't like the taste) and cut into circles
  • Approximately 1/2 cup chopped or grated with a zester fresh turmeric
  • A piece of ginger about the size of your palm pealed and cut into thin circles
  • 1/2 -3/4 tablespoon honey (more or less to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper anywhere between a tsp and a tbsp

It took me a couple tries to get the taste right but now I love drinking this tea and even my two year old drinks it!

Good luck

And many thanks to this wonderful site

And beautiful people

Posted by Crenshawkid (Los Angeles, Ca) on 05/30/2016
5 out of 5 stars

In mid 2015, I began to feel small bumps on the side of my scalp that I would scratch off. They seemed to be little white heads that bled a little and I never paid much attention to them. I was going through a law enforcement academy at the time, therefore we were thrashed with long workouts followed by very stressful group showers, in which we were given 2 minutes maximum to shower and 2 minutes to dress into our business attire. I chalked it up to a change in my hygiene routine and ignored the bumps (bad idea).

In late 2015, after completing the academy, I began getting a new haircut style with my regular barber. This haircut required a closer shave to the scalp... One day, I saw the small bumps begin to grow on the back of my neck and near my temple area. Since I got haircuts every two weeks, I didn't get to see the progress of the bumps unless my haircut was still fresh. My barber asked me if I was allergic to something and I said no.

To make a very long story short, I began to get new bumps everyday. Some were very very painful cysts, the size of a pea, and some looked like what I would describe as pink, flat bubble gum spread across portions of my scalp. I visited two doctors and was prescribed medication that burned my skin and was given orders not to remain in the sun. Given my job, I have to be in the sun for large portions of the day. All the doctors said was that the symptoms would eventually disappear and that there was nothing they could do. They suggested I shower more often, stress out less, and not get haircuts.

I began to feel depressed and the thought of the bumps gave me indescribable anxiety. My sex drive plummeted, my self esteem plummeted, and I became anti social.

I tried everything from white vinegar hair baths, anti-fungal soaps, Neutrogena T Gel, peppermint oil, hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda (burned a lot and dyed my hair a bit LOL), I even bought the famous Chinese oil called Fulikang and the yellow Chinese cream off eBay... all it did was give me the worst case of dandruff I have ever seen.... NOTHING WORKED. Week after week after week after week and nothing was helping... They were taking over at least 40% of my scalp.

I felt I was losing the war and honestly considered just scraping them off with a tough brush.... Or growing my hair out of shame...

That's when I visited this website and noticed someone's post about mixing one tea spoon of organic turmeric with one tea spoon of coconut oil... This began to work slowly but I noticed that it caused my face to flare up with rashes... I stopped using coconut oil and instead stuck to just black pepper mixed in with turmeric... within one week, ONE WEEK, the folliculitis lost most of the swelling but the cysts were still there...

I kept at it, taking this three times a day for a total of three teaspoons of turmeric mixed in with half a tea spoon of black pepper... It worked miracles...

After almost 10 full months of suffering with this condition, I am happy to say I am 95% cured... Every now and then I will get small bumps and a few white heads, but this is nothing compared to what I had before.... What worked for me was keeping some turmeric in a small jar mixed in with black pepper. I kept one jar at work on my desk and one jar at home. I swished the powder with water in my mouth and swallowed. It worked because I was consistent day in and day out.

If you are feeling depressed, anxious, angry, hopeless, don't give up the fight. I suggest you go to your local market (I went to my local Indian spices store) and purchase turmeric and black pepper.... Make a mixture and drink it with water... Be careful not to inhale the powder as you'll cough up a lung (I learned the hard way).

I currently take 2 turmeric/curcumin pills daily.... I found them on Amazon... you can buy any that have turmeric mixed in with curcumin (black pepper, this is what makes your body absorb the turmeric properly)... and my symptoms continue to be controlled 95% of the time.

I am here to thank the Earth Clinic community for providing me with this cure. I am now back to feeling comfortable about getting nice hair cuts with close to razor shaved fades... Very few bumps and even my barber is surprised to see the significant progress.

Don't give up people, you can do it. Just stay consistent and never give up.