Folliculitis is a superficial inflammation of the hair follicles, and can be observed in individuals of any age or race. The incidence of folliculitis is unknown because most patients only consult a doctor in cases of increasing lesions. There are various infectious and non-infectious causes of folliculitis, and the most common causative agent is Staphylococcus aureus. In addition, several Gram-negative bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and viral pathogens can cause follicular papules and pustules. In routine practice, however, these lesions are usually thought to be bacterial. Therefore, topical and/or systemic antibacterial treatment is recommended, but this involves the risk of being misused for months or even years. Cytology, a simple, rapid, inexpensive, and repeatable diagnostic method, can reveal various bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic pathogens. This review discusses the use of clinical sampling and staining of cytologic samples for the differential diagnosis of folliculitis, cytologic findings, and the frequency with which dermatologists use cytology to diagnose folliculitis, particularly in the age of molecular biology and more expensive, sophisticated investigations.