Q. I had a bout with folliculitis, an infection that causes inflammation of the hair follicles. My dermatologist prescribed an antibiotic ointment that was messy and hard to use.

I decided that if Listerine killed germs in a person’s mouth, it might kill the germs on my skin. I tried it and the condition cleared up so dramatically that I use only Listerine when it recurs.

A. Folliculitis is usually caused by infection with bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. That’s why an antibiotic lotion or ointment, often clindamycin, is the treatment of choice.

Listerine is certainly a novel way of treating this condition. We’re delighted it has worked so well for you. It is sure to be less expensive than the topical antibiotic.

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  1. KC
    Reply

    Listerine is great for dandruff put it on nightly first thing when you get into the shower. Rinse out and shampoo and condition after about 10 minutes. Do this for one week and then weekly for a month. I know 5 people who have eradicated dandruff by doing this

  2. A.B.
    Reply

    listerine must be applied every 3 days to the scalp and then let dry, the next day or after 24 hours rinse it out with water, JUST WATER and not any form of soap and repeat process every 3 days. You must do this for a month and even before then you will see and feel a difference. I know someone who has a scalp problem which shows as pimple like bumps that at times can be painful and itchy until they relieve them by squeezing out the pus from them and then they don’t hurt any more. They began using Listerine to rid themselves of them and so far its effective. You can also mix with a little peroxide as well to gain on to the desired effect.

  3. Jim S.
    Reply

    I get pimples on my buttocks that never heal and are very painful. I suspect it is folliculitis. I have seen a dermatologist many times and all they offer is the antibiotic cream. I can’t wait to try the listerine. I currently have a sore but can’t tell what it is cause I can’t see it, hahah that is between my buttock cheeks are the very top. It feels like a lump or maybe even a small cut. VERY painful. Can’t sit down without pain. This weekend I will be heading to my friendly store for a bottle of listerine. Wish me luck!
    BTW, I am very cautious with any sort of sore as I was bitten by a brown recluse spider a year ago and ended up in the hospital and surgery to remove a huge pocket of MRSA. Since then, I have had several bouts of MRSA on face, hands, buttocks, and more. I constantly wash my hands, use Hibeclens when I shower, and take antibiotic when I get even the smallest sore.
    Super hygiene and caution is imperative. It seems once the MRSA got in my system, it lingers there.

  4. ZREX
    Reply

    I have this same Folliculitis condition on my scalp for three months. The shampoo the dermatologist subscribed is not working. I just washed my hair with cider vinegar. I poured it right on my head and rubbed it in and let it soak for about five minutes. Right now my head is not itching it just tingles a little. I just read this info. on Listerine and I am going to try it tomorrow. I do feel like the cider vinegar will help also. I will follow up after the Listerine use. This itching is driving me nuts.

  5. Safi
    Reply

    Hi I have a 2 year old son who always scratches his hair. I wash it on the regular I thought he was suffering from dry scalp until I realized his scalp has white bumps which I looked up to be folliculitis I feel so bad for my baby…. I see everyone mentioning Listerine I’m headed to the store to buy some just for him…. I will post later with results….

  6. KS
    Reply

    I just want to say I had a dog who was showing some weird pattern of shedding a lot on her neck and some thinning of her coat on the back of her neck. Someone at a random dog show told me it was the beginning of an infection that could eventually lead to a staph infection in these areas. She wasn’t showing any pain or even itching or anything abnormal in these areas at all except for the weird thinning spots in her coat (neck and between her shoulders). This person recommended I use a diluted solution of vinegar.
    Make a long story short I did a little research on staph infections in dogs and it turns out people have tried using diluted Listerine instead of vinegar as a home remedy to this problem. So I gave it a shot. It’s cleared up completely!!!! Her coat is back to a beautiful pitch black color, no bald spots and it shines like there is no tomorrow.
    For all of you saying Listerine has helped your staph infections I believe you and will add my own success story to the mix!!!

  7. BB
    Reply

    Hi, any improvement?

  8. Vich
    Reply

    Hi, well, instant relief!!! I’m wanting to scratch my head, but it’s not itchy.. Instead of scratching my head and pulling hairs out to stop the itch, I’m actually feeling calm!! I don’t want to jump the barrier, but is Listerine to good to be true??
    Day 2 I’ll keep you posted..

  9. Vich
    Reply

    My neck, back and shoulder folliculitis was diagnosed 12 years ago… Over the years I have been to 21 Doctors, including many skin specialists…
    The medication they prescribed was great at first, but after I finish each course of antibiotics the Folliculitis would come back with a vengeance!!! My last resort was Roacutane, (10mg daily) prescribed to me by the last S/S. It worked wonders, however I did have two courses of it over a period of 18 months.. I was finally rid of this wicked condition.. It’s been 5 years since I’ve had any real problems with my skin…
    I’m now having issues with, what I think is Folliculitis of the head. The irritation drives me crazy!!! So, I thought i will search the Net first for a remedy…. I’ve just discovered Listerine as a remedy! Of course I’m going to try it.!!!!!!
    While I was showering, I rinsed my hair with warm water, then I poured a capful of Listerine over my damp hair, I massaged my head gently, and then I rinsed my hair thoroughly, I repeated the process again, but this time I didn’t rinse the Listerine out, I’ve left it in my hair.. Amazingly my hair doesn’t feel to bad..
    Day 1 I’ll keep you posted!!!!

  10. Maryann
    Reply

    I have a 14 y.o. son with Down Syndrome and have been battling terrible folliculitis. am going to give Listerine a try.

  11. mkyles
    Reply

    My son has this head folliculitis, it’s very shocking to me and him. At first we didn’t know where it came from, and every time I look at it, this make me cry and I feel that I can’t help him. He had went to emergencys and doctors, the medication that they provide for him is not doing anything for it. At one point I had ran out of opinions for him and I feel so hopeless.
    He’s telling me that he has a headache from this and blood and pus is running out he can not sleep. So, I have to do something for my son. Now I had tried Melaleuca oil and mix it with olive oil for a week. That didn’t work, so I had call my sister and told her what was going on with his head. So she told me not to use Melaleuca oil, because it will kept it moist and it won’t heel. She told me to use Listerine, because it has antiseptic in it.
    Right now I will use anything to help him, this infection is all over his head and it looks really bad. It’s been a year without the Listerine, now I’m starting to use it. My question is how often do you use this and how many time a day? I had read some of the other comments about using Listerine on folliculitis. God knows I’m hoping it will work and also wonder will I see the changes or any improvement and how can I tell? Please help us.

  12. Jerry
    Reply

    Try placing listerine in a spray bottle you can buy an empty one fill it. Then spray on affected area. I had eczema over the thigh area saw significant improvement using listerine.

  13. J.M.S
    Reply

    How does the Listerine need to be applied ? I was dabbing in on the area twice a day with a cotton ball. But so far have not noticed an improvement. Should it be regular flavor Listerine as well ?

  14. C.C.
    Reply

    I have an occasional problem with Folliculitis and I have used otc 3% Hydrogen peroxide to some success. It seems to slowly dissolve the infection away to a point where the infected hair follicle can be completely removed without breaking. I would only recommend removing the entire infected hair stem and root if it seems that the hair was growing properly before it had become infected. In the case that the hair is growing sideways into the skin removing the follicle may only worsen the condition by the hair regrowing ingrown but deeper. My method is this:
    At first notice of redness or beginning of infection, I attempt to remove hair follicle slowly as not to tear it and leave the root to become ingrown.
    If follicle tears due to swelling near the root caused by infection, buy a cheap eye dropper and frequently apply 3% Hydrogen peroxide to the area occasionally attempting to drain the area and reapply Peroxide.
    It has been my experience that the peroxide slowly dissolves the infection to the point where the the torn hair follicle can be seen again to be removed in its entirety. After a particularly long time applying peroxide I have removed a infected hair follicle where the infection on the follicle had been dissolved to a point of being watery and transparent by the peroxide. I have no doubt that I would have not been able to heal this Folliculitis without the use of peroxide. Have patience! 3% peroxide is pretty diluted.
    I have not tried Listerine to treat Folliculitis but I will certainly do so upon the next occurrence.

  15. B.S.R.
    Reply

    I never would have thought to use this for any thing other than for what it was meant to, but I guess if it works, then great. I will definitely keep this mind.

  16. W.A.
    Reply

    Just passed through this website, googling about my case of folliculitis. Of Listerine as a remedy i had never heard. Seems logical enough for me to try. I have had folliculitis for over a year now. Tried mynocyclin, and cleared for some time, then came back, myno. doesnt work anymore. I have it in my scalp, it also made some small hairless spots.
    So, does Listerine work on Scalp Folliculitis too??
    I’m going to try, and post results. Thanks in advance

  17. A.C.
    Reply

    Skin on the bottom of my feet were scaly, skin peeling and small blisters at times. Had used various skin creams (Gold Bond, Cortizone 10, an rx prescribed by doctor). Less than two weeks of massaging with only Listerine after bathing, both feet look really healthy again. No cracks, peeling etc. Continued massaging once a week with Listerine, my feet look and feel the best they have ever felt.

  18. Mary
    Reply

    I am writing again to update you on the progress of my son’s skin condition using Listerine. In January, I shared with you that we’ve had a hard time controlling acute folliculitis on my son who has Down Syndrome. You should see his skin since using Listerine faithfully–his ‘bottom’ looks wonderful!! It’s completely clear!! We’ll likely see the dermatologist later this year and I can’t wait to show him the results. Great thanks for the the forum you provide.

  19. Mary
    Reply

    Tried Listerine on my son’s behind and the backs of his legs. He has Down Syndrome and has been treated for years for acute folliculitis with various prescriptions–very expensively. We are seeing progress. Some outbreaks still occur but his skin is improving. We’ll continue the course.

  20. John
    Reply

    Regarding soaking a foot in Listerine and wondering how it could be done with an entire lower leg.
    Years ago my ex-wife worked in a body wrapping salon. They used ace bandages soaked in a solution. They would wrap the extremities with the ace bandages for 20 minutes or so.
    I see no reason why this wouldn’t work with Listerine around the lower leg. One would not need to wrap the leg too tightly. Once it was wrapped around, then she could spray the bandages with more Lysterine from a spray bottle to keep the leg saturated during the wrap.
    While this may not work as well as soaking the leg, it certainly is better than the alternatives they have now.

  21. Rita
    Reply

    My elderly parents are both diabetic, but Dad especially has lower extremity, complicated by extreme RA, bone spur removals, knee replacements, and obesity. Already they have amputated two toes on one foot. I began “doing their pedicures” with foot & leg massage, lotion and nail trimmings, about 2 years ago, and we have “saved” another toe that showed infection in a bone scan 2 years ago. However I unfortunately have continued to see a slow downward change in skin condition, discoloration, nail fungus, loss of sensation…
    Two months ago, I started adding a generic store brand of the amber mouthwash, like Listerine, to the foot bath, and after only the third pedicure with it (and no other dietary or prescription changes) Dad jerked his foot back and said “that tickled” when I began to buff the under arch of his “bad foot”!!!!! He hadn’t “felt” anything in that foot for years.
    Now his skin color is more normal on the feet (stays more pink and less purple between pedicures), even though the leg below the knee is continuing to worsen. His doctor just gave me a “that’s nice” condescending nod when we told him.
    Is there a physiological or medical explanation for the improvement? And does anyone have a recommendation for application and treatment of the entire leg below the knees like this? They are both obese with limited mobility and neither of them can get into and out of a bathtub any more.
    Thanks!

  22. KATIE
    Reply

    I’ve had rashes on my legs for years and years, and was diagnosed with Nummular Eczema. I saw many doctors and tried many home remedies, and finally saw a new specialist last year. Shot me with Cortisone, and it fixed me right up. It is the only method that has worked, and I would recommend it to anyone going though the pain and aggravation that I went through. Can you wear shorts without feeling embarrassed? Well I can, now.

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