9 Reasons for Clogged Hair Follicles

Written by andy

Find out what’s causing the problem!

Each of the hairs on your body grows out of a tiny pouch, which is known as a hair follicle. These follicles cover almost your entire body (aside from the palms of your hands and the bottom of your feet). If these hair follicles become clogged, you may develop folliculitis, basically inflammation in the follicles. But do you know what’s causing the clogs? Here are a few reasons for clogged hair follicles:

  • Bacterial infections — If bacteria infects your skin, it may burrow into the hair follicles and cause infection. These bacterial infections may be small or large, and they can range from minor to fairly serious.
  • Fungal infections –– Fungi and yeast can infect your skin, and they, too, will try to burrow beneath the surface of your skin. If the infections spread to your hair follicles, the result may be clogs and infections.
  • Shaving –– When you shave, you are basically running a sharp blade along the surface of your skin. If the friction of the blade damages your skin, it may cause inflammation and infection in your follicles. That’s why it’s so important to shave the right way, using the right shaving creams/lotions to reduce friction.
  • Clothes –– Yes, even your clothes can be one of the reasons for clogged hair follicles! If your clothes are tight, they can rub against your skin and cause friction that will damage the hair follicles. The result is infection and clogs, and may even lead to folliculitis.
  • Substances –– If you are working with substances that can clog the hair follicles, you will essentially be cutting off all oxygen for the important cells. Makeup is one of the most common clogging substances, but motor oil, creosote, machine oils, and even cocoa butter can cause clogged follicles.

READ MORE: 5 Air Pollution Effects on Skin

  • Sweat –– When you do exercise, your body perspires heavily. The perspiration is salty, and if that salt gets into your hair follicles, it can cause irritation and inflammation. Sweat is one of the most common causes of clogged pores, especially if you wipe it away with a dirty towel or cloth.
  • Wounds –– If you have an infected wound (such as a cut, a scrape, or a wound from a surgery), the bacteria or fungi that are infecting your wound may spread to the hair follicles around the injury site. The result may be clogged follicles and more infected skin!
  • Reduced immunity –– If your body is unable to fight disease, bacterial and fungal infections are able to run rampant. People with diabetes, HIV, and other immune-compromising diseases are more susceptible to developing infections like folliculitis.
  • Swimming and bathing –– If you spend a lot of time in a swimming pool, a hot tub, or a bathtub, you are putting yourself at risk of developing bacterial folliculitis. These places are all breeding grounds for bacteria, which is why it’s so important that you disinfect your pool or hot tub with chlorine regularly in order to kill off the bacteria and reduce your risk of infection.

Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to reduce your risk of clogged hair follicles! All you have to do is take care of your skin, avoid any substances that could lead to clogs, and avoid injuries and infections on your skin. A few simple remedies can help you to treat clogged hair follicles, which basically look like pimples filled with both pus and blood. The good news: most of the time, folliculitis will go away on its own without your needing treatment.

About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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