Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicle that can occur anywhere on the body. Scalp folliculitis is usually a staph infection of the hair follicles on your head.
Scalp folliculitis causes small pustules to form around the hair on the scalp that then crust over. They look like tiny pimples with a small red ring around the opening of the hair follicle. The pustules are itchy and uncomfortable. Sometimes the itchiness and soreness leads to scratching, which can cause hair to fall out or bald patches to form.
Mild scalp folliculitis can be treated at home and will generally clear up within two weeks.
In order to heal and prevent recurrences of scalp folliculitis, antibacterial shampoo or soap is helpful. Apply these with a warm cloth and rub gently in order to encourage the infected hair follicles to drain. Then rinse your hair thoroughly.
You can also use a warm compress to drain the pustules and reduce itching. Using saltwater on the compress may be helpful. You might also try a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. Once you have rinsed the scalp with warm water and let it dry, you can apply hydrocortisone cream, which is available over the counter, in a thin layer to help prevent itching. You can also use an anti-fungal cream to help heal the folliculitis.
In cases of severe or recurrent folliculitis, you may want to visit a doctor.
Your health care professional will first perform a visual exam on your scalp and then take a sample to test the type of bacteria on the scalp. Then an antibiotic is usually prescribed based on the results of the bacteria type. Sometimes the antibiotic is a topical one, like clindamycin, or might be in shampoo form. Other times, your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic, or pill, such as a tetracycline. Sometimes folliculitis is caused by a virus, fungus, or yeast. These are treated with different topical and oral medications.
With treatment, folliculitis usually clears up within a few weeks. It can sometimes recur, especially in teens, but it tends to clear up permanently in adulthood. Btw, here is the list of 13 natural remedies for folliculitis that you should know.
Since scalp folliculitis can recur, it’s important to look at how it can be prevented.
Make sure to wash your hair daily with a gentle or anti-dandruff shampoo. Wash your hair after exercising or excess sweating, as well. Avoid sharing razors. Avoid using shampoos combined with conditioners, which often leave a residue on the scalp. Don’t use hair gels or waxes. If you must use a hair styling product, opt for a spray, use it lightly, and shampoo it out often. In addition try not to scratch the scalp so as not to spread any infection.