You may have noticed an itchy, flaky scalp and thought you needed to shampoo more often. But if the itchiness and flakiness don't go away, or if you see redness, sores, or bald patches, it could be a sign of scalp fungus.
Fungal infections of the scalp are relatively common. They're usually not severe and can be treated with anti-fungal creams or shampoos. But if the infection spreads or doesn't go away, it could lead to more severe problems.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your doctor or qualified healthcare professional before beginning any new treatment program.
What Is Scalp Fungus?
Scalp fungus is a fungal infection that can affect the scalp, hair follicles, and skin. It's also called tinea capitis or ringworm of the scalp. Scalp fungus is most common in children, but adults can get it, too.
The fungus that causes scalp fungus lives on the skin and scalp. It's spread through contact with contaminated surfaces or by coming into contact with someone who has the infection.
Scalp fungus can cause an itchy, scaly rash. The rash may be red, flaky, or crusty. In severe cases, the fungus can cause hair loss. Scalp fungus is treated with anti-fungal medications.
Known Causes Of Scalp Fungus
These are a group of fungi that attack the dead cells of hair, nails, and skin. They are the most common cause of ringworm infection, resulting in itchy head patches. In severe cases, they can lead to hair loss. The most common dermatophytes that affect the scalp are Trichophyton Tonsurans and Microsporum canis.
This is a yeast that is found on the skin's surface. It generally does not cause any problems but can overgrow and lead to an infection in people with weak immunity or other underlying health conditions. The most common symptom of this condition is dandruff.
Candida albicans is another type of yeast that is present in the gut. It generally does not cause any problems but can overgrow and lead to an infection in people who are taking antibiotics or have diabetes. The most common symptom of this condition is itchiness and redness on the scalp.
Allergies to Certain Products
Allergic reactions to hair care products, such as shampoo, conditioner, hair dye, etc., can also lead to scalp fungus. People who are hypersensitive to these products may develop an itchy and scaly rash on their scalp.
Not washing the hair regularly or not cleaning the scalp properly can also lead to the overgrowth of fungus. This is because the dirty scalp provides a perfect environment for the fungus to grow and multiply.
Eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can also promote the growth of fungus on the scalp. This is because these foods can upset the delicate balance of bacteria and yeast in the body, leading to an overgrowth of yeast.
Stress can also weaken the immune system, making it more susceptible to fungal infections. When you are under a lot of stress, your body produces more cortisol hormone. Unfortunately, this hormone can interfere with the production of other hormones, such as testosterone, which is vital for maintaining a healthy scalp.
Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, psoriasis, and eczema, can make the scalp more susceptible to fungal infections. This is because these conditions can cause changes in the pH of the skin, which can lead to an overgrowth of yeast.
Signs And Symptoms Of Scalp Fungus
Itchy, Scaly Rash
The most common symptom of scalp fungus is an itchy, scaly rash. The rash may be red, flaky, or crusty. It's often found on the scalp, behind the ears, or back of the neck. The rash can spread to the face, chest, or back. In severe cases, the rash can cover the entire scalp.
Scalp fungus can cause hair loss. The hair may come out in patches or all at once. In severe cases, hair loss, can be permanent.
Scalp fungus can also cause brittle nails. The nails may become yellow, thick, or ragged.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Scalp fungus can cause swollen lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are usually found in the neck or behind the ears.
How Is Scalp Fungus Diagnosed?
You must see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis if you think you may have a scalp fungus. Your doctor will likely perform a physical examination of your scalp and may take a skin or hair sample for laboratory testing.
Scalp fungus can often be confused with other conditions that cause similar symptoms, such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, or eczema. Therefore, getting a proper diagnosis before beginning any treatment is essential.
Does Scalp Fungus Ever Go Away?
Yes, with treatment, scalp fungus can disappear and never return. But it's important to follow your doctor's recommendations for how long to treat the infection. Treatment usually lasts at least two weeks. And even after treatment, you may need to use special shampoos or other products to prevent the fungus from returning.
Scalp Fungus: Top 11 Natural Treatments
Scalp fungus is often worsened by hot, humid weather, sweating, tight hats or helmets, and oily hair products. Fortunately, many natural treatments can effectively clear up a scalp fungus.
1. Castor oil
Castor oil is another effective remedy for scalp fungus. This oil has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat various conditions.
The anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil make it an effective treatment for scalp fungus. In addition, the main component of castor oil, ricinoleic acid, has been shown to kill several types of fungi.
It usually works for most people to apply castor oil directly to the scalp and leave it on for as long as possible, preferably overnight. Then, wash your hair as usual in the morning.
Recommended frequency is 3-4 times per week. You can also add a few drops of castor oil to your shampoo or conditioner and use it every time you wash your hair.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a potent anti-fungal agent used to treat scalp fungus. In addition, tea tree oil's anti- microbial properties help fight the fungus and prevent it from spreading.
Why tea tree works because it contains terpinen-4-ol, this natural compound is proven to be a powerful anti-fungal agent against common fungi, such as candida albicans. To use tea tree oil: add a few drops of tea tree oil to your regular shampoo and massage it into your scalp. Rinse with warm water after leaving it on for 3-5 minutes.
You can also make a more robust tea tree oil solution by mixing 1 part of tea tree oil with a smaller quantity of water. Apply this to your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing.
Garlic is another potent anti-fungal that can be used to treat scalp fungus.
What makes it effective is that it contains a compound called allicin. This natural compound has potent anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that can help to fight the fungus and prevent it from spreading.
To use garlic: add a few minced garlic cloves to your regular shampoo and massage it into your scalp. Rinse with warm water after leaving it on for 3-5 minutes.
Most people can tolerate garlic applied directly to the skin, but if you have sensitive skin, you may want to mix it with a carrier oil such as olive oil before applying.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural disinfectant used to treat scalp fungus.
The key is to use raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar that contains the "mother." This is the cloudy substance at the bottom of the bottle that contains beneficial enzymes and bacteria.
Just mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with two parts water and apply it to your scalp. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then rinse with warm water.
You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to the mixture for added anti-fungal power.
5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a natural anti-fungal agent used to treat scalp fungus.
What makes coconut oil so effective is that it contains lauric acid, which has been shown to kill yeast and fungus. When using it to treat scalp fungus, it's best to apply it before going to bed and leave it on overnight. Then, in the morning, shampoo your hair as usual. Remember, add a few drops of tea tree oil or garlic to the coconut oil for even greater anti- fungal power.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a natural soothing agent used to treat scalp fungus. Aloe Vera is so effective because it contains compounds that can kill fungi. The key is to use pure aloe Vera gel that doesn't contain any added fragrances or chemicals. Just apply the aloe vera gel to your scalp and leave it on for more than 20 minutes, but if you can tolerate it, leave it on overnight.
7. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is a potent anti-fungal agent used to treat scalp fungus. In fact, for many people, oregano oil is even more effective than tea tree oil. The potency of oregano oil comes from its content of carvacrol and thymol, two compounds that
have been shown to kill fungus. These compounds disrupt the fungus's cell membranes, causing them to leak and die.
When using oregano oil, dilute it with a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. Then, apply it to your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
For centuries, people have used lemons to clean and disinfect their homes. But unfortunately, lemons are also a very effective treatment for scalp fungus.
The acidic nature of lemon juice helps to kill the fungus while also helping to reduce inflammation. Apply freshly squeezed lemon juice to your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
You can also add a few drops of lemon essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner to help keep the fungus at bay.
9. Neem oil
Neem oil is another effective remedy for scalp fungus. This oil comes from the neem tree and has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries.
Neem oil contains compounds that have anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties make it an ideal treatment for scalp fungus.
Apply neem oil to your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Then, you can add a few drops of neem oil to your shampoo or conditioner. If you have no idea how often to use neem oil, start with once or twice a week and increase as needed.
10. Baking soda
Baking soda is another common household item used to treat scalp fungus. The anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties of baking soda make it an effective treatment. To use, mix baking soda with water to form a paste. Apply the paste to your scalp; then, you can leave it on for more than half an hour before rinsing with warm water.
Or, add a cup of baking soda to your bathtub and soak it for 20-30 minutes. This will help kill the fungus while also helping to relieve any itchiness or irritation associated with the infection.
You can also add a few tablespoons of baking soda to your shampoo or conditioner. Use this method once or twice a week until the fungus is gone.
Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin, a compound with potent anti-inflammatory and anti- fungal properties. These properties make turmeric an effective treatment for scalp fungus.
A published study found that curcumin could kill several types of fungi, including the type that causes athlete's foot.
The best way to prepare a turmeric treatment is to make a paste using spice and water. Once the paste is ready, apply it to the affected area, then let it sit for a few minutes. Finally, rinse it off with warm water.
On Preventing Scalp Fungus
Preventing scalp fungus can be difficult because the fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. However, some things that you can do to prevent scalp fungus include: Wash your hair regularly with a shampoo that contains anti-fungal properties. This is quite important, as washing your hair on a regular basis will help to remove any fungus that may be present on your scalp. Be sure to choose a shampoo that contains ingredients such as ketoconazole or selenium sulfide. Another really good product that can help prevent and even help eliminate scalp fungus is "Fight Fungal" antifungal scalp oil made by Zentrio Naturals.
Keep your scalp clean and dry.
This means you should avoid using oily hair products and hairstyles that trap moisture on your scalp. If you sweat a lot, wash your hair immediately after sweating. Avoid sharing hats, towels, or brushes with someone with scalp fungus. If you must use these items, be sure to disinfect them afterward.
Don't scratch your scalp.
Scratching can irritate your skin and make it more susceptible to fungal infections. If you have an itch, try using a soft brush to scratch the area gently.
If you swim in public pools, wear a swimming cap. Swimming caps help to protect your scalp from the chlorine in the water, which can dry out your skin and make it more susceptible to fungal infections.
Pets can carry the fungus that causes scalp fungus, so keeping them clean and well-groomed is essential. Be sure to wash your hands after petting them, and avoid sharing hats or brushes with them.
See your doctor if you think you have scalp fungus.
If home remedies don't seem to be working, or if you have severe symptoms, it's essential to see your doctor. They can prescribe anti-fungal medications that will clear up the infection.
If you have open wounds on your scalp, it's essential to keep them clean and covered to prevent infection. Fungal infections can be challenging to treat, so it's best to take preventive measures.
See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan if you suspect a fungal infection. In the meantime, some home remedies may help relieve symptoms and speed up the healing process.
Q: Is scalp fungus contagious?
A: Scalp fungus is not contagious. However, it can be spread by sharing hats, towels, or brushes with someone who has the infection.
Q: Can scalp fungus cause hair loss?
A: Scalp fungus can cause hair loss in severe cases. This is because the fungus can damage the hair follicles, leading to hair loss.
Q: How long does it take for scalp fungus to go away?
A: Scalp fungus can take weeks or even months to go away. Be patient and continue to use home remedies or anti-fungal medications as prescribed by your doctor.
Q: Can vinegar kill scalp fungus?
A: Yes, vinegar can help to kill scalp fungus. The acidic nature of vinegar helps to kill the fungus while also helping to remove any oils or dirt that may be trapping moisture on your scalp.
Q: What is the best shampoo for scalp fungus?
A: The best shampoo for scalp fungus contains ingredients such as ketoconazole or selenium sulfide. These ingredients help to kill the fungus while also helping to remove any oils or dirt that may be trapping moisture on your scalp.
The Bottom Line About Scalp Fungus
Scalp fungus is a common problem caused by several different factors. Fortunately, there are several home remedies and over-the-counter treatments that can help to clear up the infection and even help prevent it. A popular product that helps eliminate and prevent scalp fungus is "Fight Fungal" anti -fungal scalp oil, made by Zentrio Naturals. However, talk to your doctor if home remedies don't seem to be working or if you have severe symptoms.