How to Clean Hair Follicles

by Carolyn Russell-DeLucas ; Updated July 18, 2017

Hair follicles are all over your body, except on your lips, the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. The hair follicle is a small tube underneath the surface of your skin that holds the hair root and oil gland. The hair exits the skin through a pore, which may form a plug from excess oil production, dirt or bacteria. In addition, if the hair follicle becomes infected, a condition known as folliculitis occurs. Hair follicles that remain red, inflamed or irritated might require professional medical care.

Wash your skin up to twice daily with a mild cleanser. Take a warm shower to open up your pores and use a water-based or noncomedogenic cleanser to reduce the oil buildup, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Shampoo your hair daily using coal-tar shampoo. suggests using coal-tar shampoo for its antibacterial properties that may break down buildup and bacteria around the hair follicles.

Apply a lotion that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to cleanse the skin and reduce oil. Follow the manufacturer's labeling instructions and consult with your health-care provider to discuss any potential risks before using.

Take 30 mg of zinc two times daily for a month and then 30 mg per day thereafter. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that studies indicate zinc may reduce the effects of acne. However, you should speak with your doctor prior to starting zinc therapy.

Talk to your doctor about a treatment plan if the hair follicle remains plugged.


  • If acne is present, avoid squeezing or picking at the pimples to prevent infection and scarring. Refrain from using cosmetics or cream that are comedogenic, or oil-containing. Remove makeup each evening to prevent pores from clogging.

Photo Credits

  • Simon Greig/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Massachusetts, Carolyn Russell-DeLucas has been writing since 2007. She specializes in topics related to health, beauty and nutrition. Russell-DeLucas graduated from Brevard Community College with an Associate of Arts.