Looks similar to what I have got on my shoulders and chest. I thought it's some type of acne and started treating it with a retinoid. Selftreatment is the only reasonable choice I have. Is there any way to know if it's a bacteria or fungus without culture? Antibiotic and antifungals could exacerbate the situation if used against the wrong one, no?
Yeah, I think many people who get diagnosed with folliculitis mistake it as acne because the red bumps can contain pus and the hair follicle is not always obvious. I would skip the self-help bit and just go straight to a doctor.
The problem with most self-help treatments for this type of condition is that they are usually restrained to topical cremes and ointments. Topical solutions can't fully penetrate the dermis into the hair follicle so you need to take an oral antibiotic or antifungal to completely clear the infection.
Now you could try and cure it yourself by ordering the medications online but you risk making the infection worse (by incorrectly diagnosing yourself) or making yourself sick. I'm providing the following information so that if you go to your doctor, you can ask him about these medications and whether they might resolve your skin problems.
For a fungal infection (such as yeast), a common treatment is:
- Ketoconazole Shampoo - Wash infected areas once daily for two weeks then move to twice weekly treatments
- Nizoral or Diflucan tablets - Use for 1 week. Not sure on the dosage. Oral antifungals, if improperly used, can cause serious liver / kidney damage so only use them under the supervision of a doctor. They are typically safe in healthy adults when used for the correct duration and in the correct amounts.
For a bacterial infection, a common treatment is:
- Bactroban creme - Apply to infected areas the have broken open. Must be used consistently to prevent antibiotic resistance.
- Dicloxacillin tablets - 500mg daily for 2 to 4 weeks depending on severity
In both instances, you'll want to wash your bedding and towells regularly durng the treatment so as not to re-infect yourself.
Unless you have a history of yeast infections (such as the OP) I would surmise you are suffering from some common bacterial overgrowth. Yeast / fungal infections tend to be uncommon in colder temperatures.
As for how much it costs to see a dermatologist, that depends on what clinic you attend and your insurance plan. My insurance covers 100% of a specialist if it is a referral from a general practitioner or only 80% if I go without a referral. That usually amounts to a $50 fee or less.