Close look on hot tub folliculitis

Fact Checked

Hot tub folliculitis is a skin condition that arises after a few hours to days after using a poorly maintained hot tub or swimming pool. It is important to note that folliculitis is a rash triggered by inflammation of the hair follicles, usually due to a bacterial or fungal infection.

What are the causes?

Hot tub folliculitis is a bacterial infection of the hair follicles due to the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium.

The rash does not spread via exposure to the infected lesions. The bacteria thrive in warm water, even those that were sufficiently chlorinated. The bacteria are typically found in hot tubs, whirlpools, water slides and even in loofah sponges.

Children are at higher risk for acquiring hot tub folliculitis since they stay longer in the water. It might also develop after using a damp bathing suit that was not carefully washed and dried or using in a moist suit for long periods.


hot tub folliculitis
Rash that is bumpy, itchy and reddened which strikingly resembles acne comprised of several small, red wheals or papules.
  • Rash that is bumpy, itchy and reddened which strikingly resembles acne comprised of several small, red wheals or papules
  • Blisters filled with pus might form around the hair follicles
  • Rashes can form on any part of the body that was exposed to the contaminated water.
  • Lesions typically form on body parts exposed to wet clothing and swimsuits.

Management of hot tub folliculitis

The bacteria could not survive on healthy skin; thus, the rash often settles after 7-10 days. The rash might leave behind hyperpigmented lesions that fade after some time.

Take note that the rashes respond well to home remedies, but a doctor must be consulted first before using any.

  • A warm compress or washcloth can be applied on the infected area several times throughout the day to lessen the pain and allow drainage.
  • Over-the-counter anti-itch medications can lessen the discomfort.

In severe cases, the treatment might include topical or systemic antibiotics.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.