Does Tanning Help Folliculitis?

Summer is almost here. And it’s time to trade those heavy winter layers for lighter summer fashions.

Your summer preparation most likely includes shaving, tanning and planning those outdoor excursions. But did you know that two of these three things could lead to an annoying rash and put a damper on your summer fun?

As you prepare for those beautiful beach days, and those long lazy afternoons spent floating in the pool, your summer routine may also put you at risk for contracting folliculitis.

But tanning has more benefits then you may think. We all know that tanning gives you that beautiful golden hue that makes you look thinner, healthier and screams to the world that you are full of life and ready for the season, but can tanning also help you get rid of folliculitis?

What is folliculitis?

Folliculitis is a complicated sounding word that simply means inflammation of the hair follicles. If you are one of the thousands of people who get this pesky skin condition every year, then you might want to maximize your tan time and take some extra precautions in order to decrease your chances of getting it.

Although it’s not life-threatening, folliculitis can be annoying, embarrassing and uncomfortable. Mild cases of the skin disorder usually subsided quickly and won’t likely return.

But if you are one of the people who experience an extreme or reoccurring case of folliculitis, you may want to consider tanning as a treatment option.

In fact, studies have shown that ultraviolet light exposure found in tanning beds may help your body’s immune system fight the inflammation that causes folliculitis.

What are inflamed hair follicles?

None of us are immune to folliculitis. If you have hair follicles (which you probably do), then you can get it. These pesky skin rashes are caused by a number of things including bacteria, fungus, and even a hair that grows in instead of out.

When this kind of stuff gets in through your skin, they can infect your hair follicles and cause problems.

What does folliculitis look like?

Checkout folliculitis pictures:

I won’t sugar coat it, folliculitis can be ugly.

About 2-3 days after you’ve been exposed to bacteria or some of the other things we mentioned, you might see a red rash or small, circular bumps filled with pus (ugh) around the affected area.

These bumps are usually itchy and can even become sore. If they stick around for a long period of time, they can leave your skin dry and crusty, or sometimes leave permanent marks especially if you have naturally darker skin.

The ultimate goal is to avoid getting infected, and we’ll talk about some ways to prevent it later in this post.

But if you have already experienced some form of folliculitis, the good news is that there are several treatment options available to you one of those solutions includes your local tanning bed.

But first, let’s talk about the two major types of folliculitis:

Superficial Folliculitis

This type of folliculitis involves only a portion of your hair follicle. It occurs when the millions of staphylococcus that naturally live on your body get inside and become cozy with your hair follicles.

These tiny bacteria can slip into your skin through an opening like a cut from shaving  (“barber’s rash”), because of an ingrown hair (especially if your hair is curly), or some other kind of damage to your skin like a bug bite.

Once your skin is open and vulnerable, the surrounding bacteria, staph or yeast (pityrosporum folliculitis) rushes to set up shop in a warm, cozy place near your hair follicle.

Folliculitis can also get into your body from a dip in a heated pool and even in a hot tub (also known as “hot tub rash”) that doesn’t have sufficient chemicals.

This type of folliculitis usually goes away on its own as long as you keep the area clean and dry.

Deep Folliculitis

On the other hand, deep folliculitis is kind of like a bad relationship. This type of folliculitis involves the entire hair follicle.

It’s a bit more serious, may be difficult to get rid of, and may come back repeatedly.

Deep folliculitis can produce boils (carbuncles), leave scars and even cause hair loss.

Although your doctor can diagnose it, you can be pretty clear that this is what you have when your rash spreads, becomes even more painful or just won’t go away.

If you have these symptoms then the staph or bacteria has gone deeper into your hair follicle and gotten even more comfortable.

This is the type of folliculitis that requires more attention, possibly medication, and a trip to a tanning bed.

Folliculitis is not acne

Although acne can cause a rash on your skin and severe or chronic acne can compromise your immune system and increase your chances of contracting folliculitis, the two are not the same.

A folliculitis rash usually appears after exposure to external bacteria, fungus, or some other irritant, while acne is usually caused by an imbalance of hormones in your our bodies.

The outbreaks that you experience with folliculitis will be filled with pus and have hair in the center of the bumps. Acne bumps are filled with sebum (a fatty substance).

Also, folliculitis can appear on a wide range of areas on our bodies. Basically, wherever we have hair follicles, we can get folliculitis, but it rarely shows up on the palms of our hands, the soles of our feet, our lips or in our mucous membranes.

Acne usually limits its appearance to the face, chest, shoulders, and back.

Why do some people get folliculitis more often than others?

We already know that you can get folliculitis from bacteria, but some of us are more susceptible than others which leads to reoccurrence.

If you already have a weakened immune system or a pre-existing condition like chronic acne, then you can experience folliculitis more than once.

Some other that may increase your vulnerability are autoimmune diseases like Lupus, being on antibiotics for a long period of time, and even having a chronic condition like diabetes, leukemia, or HIV/AIDS.

Is it contagious?

Although folliculitis is not easily transmitted from person to person, you can put yourself at risk of getting it if your skin has a tear or is damaged, and you use something that someone who has the infection has previously used (like a razor).

How do you treat folliculitis?

We mentioned earlier that mild cases of folliculitis should go away on its own after a few days. But for more severe or reoccurring bouts of the infection, you want to see your doctor who may prescribe oral antibiotics, antifungal creams, antibacterial medications, or light therapy.

There are also over the counter antiseptic washes (Tanoholic’s Choice is Band-Aid Brand First Aid Antiseptic Wash) and shampoos (Tanoholic Strongly Recommend Nizoral, Check price on Amazon) that may help. These usually contain ketoconazole to help treat the affected areas.


Using a tanning bed to help treat folliculitis

Because of the ultraviolet rays (UVB and UVA) found in tanning beds, tanning may be a viable option to alleviate the inflammation caused by folliculitis.

Studies show that light therapy or phototherapy treatments have been successful in treating other skin conditions such as dermatitis and psoriasis and may also be effective in the treatment of folliculitis because of the light waves and their effect of decreasing inflammation in the body.

Reasons to try a tanning facility for treatment of folliculitis

While light therapy or phototherapy treatments can be performed in your doctor’s office, these treatments often require that you make the trip to the office several times a week for appointments, which can be time consuming and inconvenient.

Using a trusted, well-established tanning facility, like Tanoholic, can provide you with the same benefits.

Studies also show that tanning may also help jump-start your body’s immune system by activating the HO-1 enzyme that helps your body fight infection.

Decreasing your chances of getting folliculitis

Although there are several ways you can treat folliculitis, the best thing to do is try to prevent it from attacking your body in the first place.

Here are some precautions you can take that can decrease the chances of becoming infected with the bacteria:

  • Avoid shaving altogether if you can. Think about the areas of your body that you can put off shaving and leave them alone. But if shaving is absolutely necessary, try some other methods to remove hair, like depilatory or laser treatments. But keep in mind that these treatments work by destroying the entire hair follicle, so only use these methods in the places you never want the hair to grow back.
  • If you must shave, make sure that you clean the area well before putting a razor or clipper on your skin. Use an antibacterial or antiseptic soap (Tanoholic’s Pick is Dettol Soap) beforehand, and apply shaving cream (Tanoholic’s Pick is Pacific Natural Shaving Cream) liberally. This can soften the skin and hair and decrease friction caused by shaving.
  • Avoid wearing clothes that are too tight, especially in warmer weather. Instead, wear comfortable clothing and natural material so air can circulate.
  • Be careful about wearing wet rubber gloves, and make sure that you dry the inside thoroughly between uses.
  • Keep areas of your skin that is damaged skin or cut, dry and clean. Wash these areas more frequently to make sure that there isn’t an excess of bacteria present on your skin.
  • Avoid hot tubs and heated pools that aren’t well maintained. Don’t hesitate to ask the owner how often the fixture is maintained, what types of chemicals that are being used, and when the last time that maintenance was performed. Remember your health could be at risk.

Just to recap

Folliculitis is common and normally subsides after a few days. For superficial folliculitis keeping the area clean should be enough to clear up the rash.

Although it can be uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing, folliculitis is not life-threatening and can usually be easily taken care of.

If the affected area doesn’t clear within a few days, you may have a more severe form of the skin disorder.

A compromised immune system or chronic illness can contribute to reoccurring folliculitis.

Talk to your doctor about the treatment options that are best for you. This may include oral antibiotics, antifungal creams (Tanoholic Strongly Recommend Family Care Cream) or light therapy from a tanning bed.

Keep in mind that tanning is a viable option when treating folliculitis. Tanning delivers ultraviolet rays that can be beneficial for decreasing the inflammation that causes the skin disorder.

Always use a tanning facility that is well-established like, they offer a wide range of tanning options and have been delivering beautiful tans for more than 15 years.


Any damage to your skin can expose you to folliculitis. You can reduce your risk of exposure by taking a few simple precautions.

Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any medical treatments.

We hope that this article was helpful. We’d like to hear your thoughts and we welcome any questions you have

If you found this article helpful, please share it with others through your social media outlets.



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