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Can a Scalp Fungus Cause Hair Loss? Hair Loss From Tinea Capitis

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There are certain types of fungal infections which can target the scalp.

In some cases of scalp fungal infections, the hair can break off at the root from being weakened by the infection. 

Luckily, in most cases, the hair will grow back once the fungus is taken care of. But, for very severe scalp fungus infections that have a lot of inflammation, irritation, blistering, oozing, or swelling, the hair follicles can become too damaged to regrow the hair.

Below, we will cover the most common and not so common scalp fungal infections that can lead to some level of hair loss, as well as what to do if you think you have a scalp fungal infection, review the most common treatment options, and steps you can take to help prevent scalp fungal infections in the first place.

What types of fungal scalp infections can cause hair loss?

Scalp Ringworm

Scalp ringworm is the most common type of scalp fungus by far. Ringworm can occur in a few places on your body including on the rest of your skin, your feet, your nails, or your groin. But, when ringworm is present on your scalp, it is called tinea capitis. 

Ringworm on the scalp may start as what looks like a pimple. But, the pimple then will expand to cover a somewhat round area. The outside may have a more red ring shape, while the inside skin may be more like the color of your skin tone. The ringworm area may be inflamed, red, itchy, flaky, scaly, or ooze and blister. The hairs on the scalp in the ringworm area can also become infected by the fungus which makes the hair shaft brittle and prone to breakage at the root. Tinea capitis tends to lead to patch hair loss in the shape of the ringworm fungus underneath.

Scalp ringworm can develop from coming into contact with a person, animal or object that has the fungus on it. Combs, unwashed clothing, pools, or showers used by others with ringworm may be a source of contamination that can spread to others.

What should you do if you think you have a scalp fungal infection?

If you think you may have a scalp fungal infection, it is important to go see your doctor. They will be able to look at your scalp or take hair and skin samples to test and verify if a fungus is present.

If left untreated, a scalp fungus can spread or become even more severe, increasing the risk of hair loss.

What are the usual treatments for scalp ringworm fungal infections?

If your doctor discovers that you have ringworm on your scalp (tinea capitis), they will likely prescribe a medication for you to use to kill the fungus. 

While some cases of tinea capitis do spontaneously clear up on their own, it is much better to treat the scalp ringworm to avoid risking a worsening of the infection and potential long term hair loss.

Antifungal medications that may be prescribed to treat scalp ringworm infections include griseofulvin, terbinafine, itraconazole, or fluconazole. Your doctor may also recommend the use of shampoos with antifungal properties like selenium sulfide, ciclopirox, or ketoconazole.

What steps can you take to avoid getting fungal scalp infections?

Scalp fungus can be extremely contagious, so the best way to avoid developing or contracting a scalp fungus is to avoid sharing items that have been on or around other people’s heads, as well as taking precautions in public pool or shower areas.

Tips to help avoid getting scalp ringworm (Tinea Capitis):

  • Keep your hair clean
  • Never share headwear or hair care tools with others
  • Avoid head-to-head contact with others (like during sports)
  • Avoid sharing used pillowcases
  • Do not share bed linens or towels with people that are dealing with ringworm
  • Only use disinfected hair cutting equipment if they are used on multiple people
  • Have your pets checked by a veterinarian for ringworm if they are new to the household or have developed skin issues or fur loss (treat the ringworm as directed by the vet, if discovered)
  • Wash your hair and scalp shortly after using public pools, locker rooms, or spas

Strut Health prescription hair loss treatments

Here at Strut, we do not treat scalp fungus infections, but we do treat the most common cause of hair loss -- male pattern hair loss and female pattern hair loss.

Patterned hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia, does not develop from a fungal issue but from a combination of a genetic predisposition to hair loss and a sensitivity to the hormone DHT.

We offer male pattern hair loss treatments in oral and topical formulations. Our innovative formulas utilize active ingredients like Finasteride, Dutasteride, Tretinoin, Minoxidil, and Biotin, and they can be customized to fit your hair loss needs.

For women, we offer an effective topical formulation with Spironolactone, Minoxidil, and Tretinoin.

If you are interested in seeing if a prescription treatment is a good choice for your androgenetic alopecia, you can have a free online questionnaire and image-based telemedicine consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors.

If you are a good candidate for these medications, your order will be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.

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