Folliculitisaccording to TCM

What is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is a common skin condition where hair follicles become inflamed and infected, often appearing as small, red, pus-filled bumps. It can be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection and is frequently seen in areas prone to friction or sweating.

Folliculitis can affect any part of the body with hair, including the scalp, legs, and underarms. While it's generally mild and self-resolving, severe or recurring cases may require medical attention. Understanding its causes and treatment options is crucial for managing this often uncomfortable condition.

How Does TCM View Folliculitis?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches folliculitis differently than Western medicine, focusing on internal disharmony that manifests as skin problems. TCM believes that skin conditions like folliculitis are external symptoms of an imbalance in the body’s Qi (vital energy), Blood, and Bodily Fluids.

Factors like Heat, Dampness, and Toxins are often implicated in TCM diagnoses. Treatment in TCM aims to correct these imbalances, often using a combination of herbal medicine, acupuncture, and dietary modifications, offering a holistic approach to healing and prevention.

Causes of Folliculitis According to TCM

In TCM, folliculitis is often attributed to a combination of internal imbalances and external factors. One common cause is the accumulation of Heat and Toxins, which can manifest as skin inflammation and infection.

Another TCM perspective sees Damp-Heat, which combines excessive moisture with internal Heat, leading to inflamed hair follicles. These TCM patterns illustrate the principle that skin health is deeply connected to internal organ systems, and treating folliculitis effectively requires addressing these underlying imbalances.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Folliculitis

To treat folliculitis, TCM recommends specific herbal formulas tailored to the underlying pattern of disharmony. For conditions marked by Blood Stagnation and Heat, Da Huang Mu Dan Pi Tang, which contains Rhubarb (Da Huang), is often used. This formula helps to clear Heat and invigorate Blood circulation, addressing the root cause of the inflammation.

In cases where Heart or Liver Fire contributes to folliculitis, Zi Xue Dan, with its key herb Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao), can be effective. This formula is designed to clear Heat and open sensory orifices, promoting healing of the skin. These treatments underscore TCM's holistic approach, targeting both the symptoms and the underlying imbalances.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address folliculitis, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that clear internal abscesses and sores
  • Formulas that clear heat and open sensory orifices

TCM Herbs for Folliculitis

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address folliculitis, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Purgative herbs that drain downward
  • Herbs that cool the blood
  • Herbs that pacify internal liver wind and stop tremors
  • Herbs that open the orifices