What is scalp folliculitis?
Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicle, a small pouch from where hair grows. It means that it can occur everywhere on every part of your body where the hair grows, especially the scalp. This infection develops some itchy pustules on the scalp which may become painful sores.
What are the causes of scalp folliculitis?
The first thing we should know about folliculitis is its causes, since by knowing the causes, we can give the scalp a proper treatment.
Folliculitis is a bacterial or fungal infection, so the main cause is bacteria such as propionibacterium acnes or staphylococcusaureus, but some viruses, fungus, even yeasts and mites also can be the culprits. Tight braids, using a hot tub or swimming pool without chlorine also may be the causes.
What are the symptoms?
Usually, your health provider will easily identify this scalp infection by checking the visible symptoms on the scalp. The common symptoms of this folliculitis are an itchy sensation and the development of pimples with pus on the scalp. But, scalp folliculitis can develop into deep infections, and each of these severe infections has its own symptoms. The following are the most severe ones.
- Acne necrotica
This infection is one of the severe scalp folliculitis, where the larger follicular spots are inflamed then some blackened crusts are developed.
- Perifolliculitis capitis abscedens et suffodiens (PCAS)
This infection is the deeper infection of folliculitis on the scalp, which along with acne conglobata, hidrenitis suppurativa and pilonidal cyst may cause development of pustules, nodules and abscesses with a purulent material in them. Bald patches, permanent scars, and temporary hair loss may occur in the spot where those pustules and others are developed.
After knowing the causes and symptoms of scalp folliculitis, we need to know how to treat this scalp infection. There are two ways to get rid of this scalp problem :
The first thing you should do is taking it medically.
Since one of the main cause of the infection is bacteria, you can take any recommended antibiotics such as mupirocin, dicloxacillin, penicillin, methicillin, fusidic acid gel, or clindamycin solution.
- Oral isotretinoin to fight the acnes.
- Oral antihistamines to relieve from itching sensation and preventing from scratching the scalp.
- Mild steroid lotions
Some hair products, such as shampoo can lessen the irritation. Use an anti-dandruff or antibacterial shampoo which contains selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione or salicylic acid. If you are confused, ask your dermatologist for any recommendation.
Another way to treat the scalp folliculitis is by applying home remedies (you can choose to use one of them based on your preference) such as :
- Coconut oil
Coconut oil with its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties can lessen the infection. Directly apply some drops of coconut oil to your scalp and give it a gentle massage. Repeat this for several times a day.
- Aloe vera gel
You also can apply the aloe vera gel onto the affected area on the scalp. Leave it stays for a while, do this for three times a day.
- Vinegar compress
You can soak a clean towel in a vinegar solution (by adding 4 tablespoons of vinegar to water) and compress it on the scalp for about twenty minutes. Repeat this for three times a day.
This kitchen’s ingredient with its curcumin-rich in anti-inflammatory. You can use a bit of turmeric powder to be applied over the affected areas on the scalp.
- Garlic juice
Garlic can act as natural antibiotic to fight the bacteria on the scalp. Take enough amount of fresh garlic and make them into juice. Apply the juice onto the affected area on your scalp then leave it stays for a while. Repeat this as often as necessary.
One of the medical treatment is by draining the pustules or boils which are developed on the scalp. The physician will do this by making a small incision to the pustules and boils.
- Laser hair removal
This is done if the infection is getting worse and seems like will not stop or it always comes back. The laser destroys infected hair follicles.
Preventing scalp folliculitis
The key to preventing hair follicle infection is keeping a good hygiene :
- Avoid sharing towels.
- Bathe and shower daily with mild soaps.
- Keep your hair and scalp clean.
- Wash your hair and scalp after working with any oil or chemicals.
- If there is any bump on the scalp, do not scratch, it will worsen the infection.