Scalp Folliculitis

Scalp folliculitis – also known as “acne necrotica miliaris” or “Propionibacterium folliculitis” is an inflammatory skin condition that affects the hair follicles in the scalp. It is characterised by tiny, irritable pustules on the scalp, which can cause issues to the frontal hairline. They can be small or a large number of lesions, but they are hard to leave alone as they are very itchy.

Causes and Treatment

Everybody has hair follicles all over their body except for the lips, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet. When damage occurs to a hair follicle it is more susceptible to infection. Damage can occur in many ways but most commonly is caused by frequently scratching or rubbing your head. When a hair follicle becomes inflamed this is called folliculitis and can be itchy, red, and painful. 

Common Scalp Folliculitis symptoms include:

  • clusters of small, red bumps on your scalp which may be itchy/tender 
  • sores with yellowish-brown scabs
  • sores that drain pus
  • burning or stinging sensation
  • pain or tenderness

When folliculitis occurs in the scalp it can result in permanent hair loss unless treated appropriately. If left untreated, these bumps can form scars which can cause permanent damage to the hair follicle and hair will cease to grow. The condition can be caused by a number of factors including an overabundance of oil on the scalp, bacteria, or staphylococcus aureus, but if you notice the condition early enough and commence treatment the prognosis is good and permanent hair loss should not occur.

At Home Treatment for Scalp Folliculitis

Mild/moderate Scalp Folliculitis can be treated with an array of at-home treatments. These include:

Antibacterial Soap

Ideal if your scalp folliculitis is present around the hairline, washing with an antibacterial soap twice a day and gently drying with a clean town is a good way to reduce the likelihood of the infection spreading. Ensure you wash with lukewarm water as hot water can cause further irritation. Antidandruff shampoos containing antifungal agents such as ketoconazole or ciclopirox can sometimes also be helpful.

Soothing Creams and Antibacterial Ointments 

Using Cortisone cream on the affected area can help to soothe inflammation and itch of scalp folliculitis. To help target the bacteria, topical antibiotic ointments are ideal and are easily available at pharmacies and supermarkets. Using a warm compress on the affected area is also a good way to relieve discomfort and assist with draining any pus from sores.

Scalp Hygiene 

Due to Scalp Folliculitis being a bacterial based infection, good scalp hygiene is essential in preventing it’s spread and recurring flare-ups. Washing hats, headscarves and other garments which come in regular contact with your scalp will limit your chance of the infection returning. Once the infection has subsided, it is essential to wash your scalp regularly to prevent the build-up of products and oils which can commonly irritate hair follicles.

When to seek medical advice and treatment for Scalp Folliculitis

If you are having on-going, recurring flare-ups, it is important to seek medical advice to avoid scarring and permanent hair loss. Booking an appointment with our hair loss experts will help you to treat and maintain your scalp health. 

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