What do you know about scalp folliculitis? Precious little, is probably the answer most of you will give to that question. And that’s a good thing. It means you haven’t experienced the misery caused by this nasty little skin disorder. But while ignorance is bliss in that sense, ignorance is also dangerous in that it leaves you ill-prepared to deal with the condition should you encounter it at some future point.
Forewarned is forearmed, so they say. That’s why we’re going to spend a bit of time looking at the symptoms and causes of folliculitis together with some of the treatments for it. Read on!
What is Folliculitis?
In short, folliculitis is an inflammatory condition that attacks the hair follicles all over the body. The inflammation results in itchy, angry-looking pustules forming on the hair follicle. When these break or burst, you’re likely to see blood or pus coming from the pustule. This can be an irritating and distressing condition, therefore.
While folliculitis can attack hair follicles anywhere on the body, it is perhaps most distressing when it appears on the head. Scalp folliculitis, also known as acne necrotica or proprionibacterium folliculitis, appears right across the scalp but is most visible on the hairline. It can lead to hair loss, as follicles that are infected and inflamed are unable to produce new, healthy hair. Additionally, the scratching associated with folliculitis can also lead to hair fall by damaging the roots of your strands.
What Causes it?
Folliculitis can arise for several reasons. On the body, it can be due to friction between hair follicles and your clothing, particularly in the groin or thigh areas. Tight clothing can be particularly problematic. Dry skin is another cause if it is accompanied by constant scratching, as this can give rise to inflammation. Folliculitis on the face is often caused by poor shaving habits. Using a blunt razor, not using sufficient shaving lotion or cream and failing to slap on some post-shave balm can all cause the hair follicles to become inflamed.
People who shave their heads are also vulnerable to scalp folliculitis for these reasons, but scalp folliculitis is more likely to be brought on by bacterial, viral or yeast infections which attack the hair follicle and cause it to become inflamed. Allowing your pores to become blocked through excessive product use or inadequate skin cleaning can also lead to folliculitis.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of folliculitis are hard to miss. If you discover that you’re breaking out in a mass of red, itchy pimples, there’s a good chance you have the condition. You should see your doctor as soon as possible. Scalp folliculitis tends to show as white-headed pimples or as small red lumps. The bumps may be painful to the touch and will itch like mad. Doing nothing is not an option, as folliculitis can spread if not treated. This can result in your hair starting to fall out.
How is it Treated?
In most cases, scalp folliculitis can be treated at home. Your doctor or pharmacist should be able to advise you on the use of a medicated shampoo and possibly antibiotic lotions to treat the infected areas. You may be prescribed steroid creams such as hydrocortisone to apply after showering. Topical antifungal creams may also prove effective. Good hygiene habits are crucial at this time. Make sure you do not share a towel while you are treating the condition. Be careful how you dry your hair; pat and dab your strands dry and refrain from any vigorous towelling.
Other useful tips include cutting right back on your use of haircare products. If you’re in the habit of shaving your head, take a break until the condition has eased. Avoid tight hairstyles like braids and ponytails for a while and try and avoid scratching, difficult though that is.
As the spots heal, apply some essential oils. Tea tree, eucalyptus and chamomile oils are good, as they have antibacterial and antifungal properties. They will help soothe the infected area.
Scalp folliculitis isn’t going to make you seriously ill, but it’s one of those skin conditions that can provide you with an unpleasant few weeks. It can also damage your strands and cause hair loss. That should provide you with enough motivation to tackle the condition as soon as you notice it developing. Applying the treatments outlined in this article should help heal your scalp and provide a healthy environment in which your hair can flourish.
If you’re concerned about the condition of your hair or are experiencing greater than normal levels of hair loss, don’t keep your worries to yourself. The earlier you seek advice about hair loss, the more effective any treatment is likely to be. Vinci Hair Clinic is one of the world’s leading hair restoration organisations. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients. What’s not to like about that? Get in touch and book your appointment today!