How does Staph cause pimples?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Staph, short for Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, is the most common cause of the condition called folliculitis. In folliculitis, small white-headed pimples develop when bacteria infect the hair follicles. Folliculitis caused by staph is marked by itchy, white, pus-filled bumps (pimples) that can occur anywhere on the body where hair follicles grow.

Bacteria infect hair follicles when the follicles become damaged. Common causes of follicle damage include friction or irritation from shaving and acne, among others.

When the skin around follicles becomes damaged, follicles are exposed to bacteria, such as staph, that normally live harmlessly on the outside of your skin. When the bacteria get inside the damaged follicle, they multiply and cause an infection, which results in a pimple.

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