Follicular occlusion syndrome is a group of skin diseases that affect the hair follicles, which are the places where hair grows from the skin. Specifically, in this condition, the hair follicles become blocked by a protein called keratin, leading them to rupture and causing inflammation. There are four subtypes that make up the syndrome: hidradenitis suppurativa (boil-like lumps and scars on the skin), acne conglobate (thick and thin acne scars and cysts), dissecting cellulitis (itchy, sore spots on the scalp), and pilonidal sinus (a cavity filled with hair at the base of the skull). Often, these disorders occur together as follicular occlusion syndrome.
There is no specific known cause for the condition, but contributing factors include genetics, hormones, and environmental factors like smoking, diet, and humidity. Diagnosis of this disorder may come from a combination of blood tests, physical exams, family histories, skin exams, and skin biopsies, in which pieces of skin are examined under a microscope. Treatment depends on the condition type and the severity of the case. Many times, topical applications, oral medications, and antibiotics will be used to try to better the symptoms.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with follicular occlusion syndrome, talk with your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also good resources of support and information.
Description Last Updated: Jan 27, 2018