Inflammation of a follicle, the ‘bulb’ from which a hair grows. It can occur anywhere on the skin where there is hair, in other words anywhere except the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. The condition is caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, which is also responsible for hidradeni-tis (inflammation of the sweat glands). Boils may be considered complications of folliculitis. In the first place a pimple appears, an area of swelling and redness around the hair. This heals spontaneously after a time, as the follicle is forced out with the hair. It does not cause a bald patch, because it affects only a single hair. The condition is not associated with fever or malaise in the patient. A doctor need be consulted only if problems are caused by friction with clothing. Generally the condition needs no treatment; the use of antibiotics neither speeds the healing process nor reduces the chance of a boil forming.