Author Topic: Folliculitis  (Read 658 times)

« on: December 16, 2020, 03:34:05 pm »
Folliculitis is a maddeningly itchy skin complaint which was probably, maybe, possibly  brought on, in my case, by sweating for long periods in tight clothing. That was in 2018 when I was doing a lot of miles on the bike including RRtY and a Super Randonneur series. Cycling for up to 40 hours at a time may be good for your health but wearing the same clothes and not showering for that length of time possibly isn't.

It's made worse for me by being mis-diagnosed as eczema as the treatment for eczema can (and did) make folliculitis much worse. It can only be managed, not cured, so I'm stuck with it.

To experience it, imagine wearing a sandpaper vest stuffed with nettles, iron filings, toast crumbs and burnt currants. It's driving me nuts and it's making cycling very difficult as sweating in tight clothing makes it unbearable.

Not looking for sympathy but would like to hear if anyone else has it and how you're managing it. Currently, I'm using Hibiscrub as a soap and anti histamines for the itching. Neither seem to be doing much good.
Hear all, see all, say nowt

Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2020, 04:43:38 pm »
That sounds utterly grim - you have my sympathies (although you weren't looking for them  :)).

I have nothing to offer I'm afraid, except to comment that I don't think anyone would claim that cycling for up to 40 hours at a time is good for your health. Quite the reverse I think.

I hope you can find a solution, or at least some effective management.


  • Just do it!
Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2020, 05:15:57 pm »
Sounds grim!

I'm a bit surprised this can't be suppressed better. Can you get daylight/UV onto the worst affected areas? Methinks air, sun and frequent bathing would help but I'm no skin specialist (though have completed Super Randonneur series in the past).

I presume you've seen at least one dermatologist and this is their conclusion.

You have my sympathy!


  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2020, 05:32:54 pm »
Is this mostly an undercarriage, torso, thighs or arms problem for you? Depending on location, perhaps dismissing aero clothing and going for loose flappy stuff might be better. I know a couple of people who solved similar ‘issues’ by swapping to ‘normal clothing’ and do (or did) big miles anyway. Wipes carried in the saddlebag and used at controls is something some folk find useful.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...


  • Just do it!
Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2020, 05:51:25 pm »
[Personal history]

I  couldn't tolerate synthetic 'technical' clothing and went for cotton for many garments. I'm a sweaty Betty. I didn't get folliculitis but did carry a flannel to keep my undercarriage tolerable.


  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2020, 10:32:54 am »
Sympathies. My father had all-body uncontrollable itch in the later stages of his diabetes, from neuropathy. He used to scratch chunks out of himself.  Back in the late 70s, that was.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2020, 07:35:10 am »
Couple of quick points.

Hibiscrub is a good antibacterial, but is a harsh soap, when we used it on the wards a number of nurses would have skin issues.

Also when washing/applying creams, do so in the direction the hair grows. This is so you don’t shove creams/soaps etc into the follicle

Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2020, 08:26:08 am »
I had a sudden and inexplicable bout of it aged 25.

I can still feel the ignominy of the GP leafing through my pubes, tutting.

Blodwyn Pig

  • what a nice chap
Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2020, 08:56:22 am »

Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2020, 02:26:19 pm »
Thanks for the replies. Concern over my undercarriage is misplaced - it's fine  :thumbsup:

In the U.S. certain macho types wear a high necked, sleeveless vest type garment know as a 'wifebeater' (no idea why). My folliculitis covers the same part of my body as a wifebeater.

Hibiscrub is a very harsh soap but that is what has been prescribed for now. Dermatology consultant told me to try it for a month. I'm two weeks in but it doesn't seem to be having any effect. It really stings but is weirdly pleasureable as the stinging masks the ithching albeit very briefly.

I'm experimenting with wearing 'normal' clothes for cycling, cycling slowly to reduce sweating (not difficult) and thinking of buying an electric bike so I won't get really sweaty on the hills.
Hear all, see all, say nowt


  • Just do it!
Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2020, 03:14:30 pm »
Suggest close-fitting, pure cotton, T-shirt type vest, changed daily and rinsed very well after every wash, as a base layer.


  • High Priestess of wires
    • redshift home
Re: Folliculitis
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2020, 12:24:15 pm »
Not something I suffer from, but when I was riding the trike all the time I started wearing Keela ADS shirts, as cycling shirts with rear pockets were pointless on a recumbent, and the 'sweaty back' issue can be so bad that other people give you the hairy eyeball when you stop for a break.  They are a looser fit than cycling shirts, and are really a base layer for walking, but I've worn them ever since, even though I nowadays mostly ride my tourer. They still wick, but you may find some other benefit from a loose fit.
Windcheetah No. 176
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