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Hot tub rash (folliculitis)

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Dr Roger HendersonReviewed on 13.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Although most bathers enjoy and use hot tubs without encountering any problems many people experience an itchy and painful skin condition called hot tub rash or folliculitis.

Folliculitis is when the hair follicles that cover all areas of our surface skin become inflamed or infected. In day to day life, the most common occurrence of this is in relation to shaving, affecting men most often on the face and women in areas they wish to have hair removed from especially around the bikini line. Another cause is prolonged submersion in jacuzzis or hot tubs. The warmth coupled with high oxygen contents of the water creates optimum conditions for bacteria and funguses to grow, furthermore the frequent change of visitors into the tubs and relatively infrequent changing of the water leads to a hot tub that is teaming with bacteria.

Healthwords pharmacists' top tips

Avoid hot tubs if you do not know that they are having regular cleaning or if they do not any tangible method of chemical anti-bacterial measures such as chlorine or an anti-bacterial emitting device visible.

If you do enter these hot tubs then limit your time to 30 mins and shower and remove your swimming costume directly afterwards. Wash with an antibacterial body wash in the days afterwards.

If you develop symptoms of folliculitis try an anti-bacterial body wash called Chlorohexidine 5%. Apply to the body twice daily and leave on the skin for 5 mins before washing off. Continue this for 7 days.

Am I fit for work?

You are fit for work if you have hot tub rash or folliculitis.

When should I see my doctor?

If the red spots are worsening and continuing to spread despite the above measures or you are developing a fever, consider discussing with your doctor whether you would benefit from oral antibiotic tablets. The lesions themselves can take up to 3 weeks to fully heal and can scar for up to 4 weeks afterwards.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 13.10.2023