Scalp Infection and Hair Loss

It is not always heredity and hormones that cause hair loss and hair thinning. There are numerous other factors as well that contribute to hair shedding. Fungal infections are among the common hair loss triggers. But the good news about scalp infection-induced hair loss is that it is mostly temporary and stops automatically as soon as the underlying cause is addressed. Some common scalp infections that can trigger hair fall are described here:

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Ringworm:

This fungal infection, which has nothing to do with worms, can affect almost any part of the body, including your scalp. Known to doctors as “tinea capitis”, it is a skin condition that causes itchy, red, inflamed, scaly patches. At times the affected areas develop blisters as well and ooze. When develops on the scalp, it starts as a small pimple which grows in size quickly, leaving behind scaly hairless patches in the affected area. The fungus also enters into the hair fibers, causing the shafts to become fragile and prone to breakage.

Treatment of ringworm-induced hair loss:

Since there are different types of fungus that cause ringworm, treatment also varies depending on which particular fungus is involved. Some types of infection go away on their own, without needing any treatment. But most of the times an anti-fungal ointment is needed to treat the infection, and hair loss stops automatically as soon as the infection is under control.

Folliculitis

It is a term used to describe inflammation of hair follicles. The infection resembles acne, with small rings of inflammation surrounding the area from where hair sprouts. Initially the hair fiber is mostly present at the site, but as the infection progresses, the hair often sheds out. In case of severe infection, hair follicles may get permanently damaged, leaving behind small hairless patches. Sometimes folliculitis is non-infectious and is caused by the oily products applied to the skin, which ultimately clog the pores. But most of the time, folliculitis is caused by bacteria.

Treatment of Folliculitis-induced hair loss:

Several non-prescription antibiotics are used to treat mild to moderate folliculitis. But if it is serious, oral antibiotics may also be prescribed along with topical applications.

Piedra:

It is another type of fungal infection, but like folliculitis, it also affects hair fibers and not the skin. One visible sign of piedra (trichomycosis nodularis) is formation of hard nodules on hair fibers. These nodules are concentration of hyphae from which fungal spores are released. Piedra infection can affect hair on any part of the body. Initially the infection is relatively harmless, but when it is severe, hair shafts become weak and prone to breakage. This can lead to patchy hair loss.

Treatment of Piedra-induced hair loss:

Minor piedra is generally treated by simply shaving the affected areas. For more serious infection, anti-fungal applications may be prescribed.

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