Can bathtubs cause skin infections?

Your skin is subjected to the elements and might be impacted by a variety of activities. One question we hear at the Dermatology Treatment and Research Center in Dallas, TX is, “can bathtubs cause skin infections?” In essence, they can, especially a condition commonly referred to as “hot tub folliculitis.”

What is hot tub folliculitis?

Hot tub folliculitis, or “hot tub rash,” is a skin infection caused by bacteria that often occurs after using an improperly maintained public or private water area, such as a hot tub or a swimming pool. This condition is caused by a bacteria called “pseudomonas aeruginosa.” This bacteria infects the hair follicles, commonly in areas where the swimwear touches the skin.

What does hot tub folliculitis look like?

This condition is a rash-like infection that might resemble acne. It is often red, itchy, and bumpy. In the earlier stages, the rash might appear as small bumps known as pustules, and as it progresses, these become larger and more tender. They can range up to three centimeters in diameter and are pus-filled around hair follicles. In some cases, patients might have other signs of infection along with this rash, including fever, headaches, sore throats, and nausea. With a thorough evaluation, patients can get a proper diagnosis and work with their doctor to treat the infection.

How is hot tub folliculitis treated?

This infection often resolves on its own, and many patients will just treat the symptoms until they clear. This includes using over-the-counter itch medications such as hydrocortisone to relieve itching, and using a warm compress to the affected area several times a day. If the infection does not resolve on its own, or if the rash is severe, patients may be prescribed a topical or oral antibiotic to address the infection.

Do you suspect hot tub folliculitis or other conditions?

Connect with the Dermatology Treatment and Research Center of Dallas, TX to learn more about the treatment of this and other skin disorders that can impact your skin’s health and appearance. Our team is located at 5310 Harvest Hill Road, Suite #160 and can be reached by phone to book an appointment at (972) 661-2729. We welcome new and existing patients into our facility for comprehensive care by our team, including Dr. Clay Cockerell.