Chinese Medicine Differential Diagnosis of Folliculitis

This is a page for Chinese medicine professionals who are interested in the traditional disease diagnosis and differentiation of folliculitis. If you are a patient, and would like to know more about the way I use acupuncture and herbal medicine to treat folliculitis, please visit the Folliculitis Page.

In Chinese, folliculitis is called mao nang yan. Chinese medicine further classifies folliculitis in 2 ways: hairline sores (fa ji chuang) and sores 0n the face (yan wo chuang or yang hu zi chuang).

It is important to differentiate folliculitis from other skin conditions. Folliculitis affects only the opening to the hair follicle. Furuncles and carbuncles affect the entire follicle to the root. Furthermore, furuncles and carbuncles are contagious when hygiene is poor, and are troublesome for those who are immuno-compromised. To differentiate folliculitis from acne, we use the presence of whiteheads (pimples, pustules) with blackheads.

Chinese medicine and acupuncture have 2 main patterns of disease to describe folliculitis:

  1. Damp-Heat accumulation with External Wind attack – In this pattern, we see short-duration folliculitis with lesions that are swollen and either red or moist. Application of pressure will cause the pustule to be expressed, releasing pus. Pain and scarring are common. Acupuncture treatment focus on transforming dampness and clear heat. The guiding herb formulas are Feng Fang San and Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin.
  2. Dual deficiency of Qi and Blood – In this pattern, there are chronic and mild lesions. Swelling is non-distinct. When pus is expressed from a lesion it will be clear of opaque-white. Lesions will be painful with pain increasing upon pressure. Acupuncture will focus on tonifying Qi and Blood. The guiding herbal formula is Huang Qi Zao Xiu Yin.

In addition to acupuncture and internal herbal medicine, Chinese medicine has a few external washes which may prove very helpful in the treatment of folliculitis. Examples are Cang Fu Shui Xi Ji and Ru Yi Jin Huang San.

Acupuncture treatments like Surrounding the Dragon and acupuncture point selection to clear Damp-Heat or tonifiy deficiency will be helpful.

Picking and squeezing of folliculitis lesions should be strictly avoided to reduce the spread of infection and chances of scarring. Also, remember to change your razor frequently.