One of the most common diseases that cause damage or hair loss is a scalp infection of some sort. Most conditions can be treated successfully, and often a significant level of hair re-growth occurs. But, what causes scalp infections in the first place? Most often pathogens such as bacterial, fungal, viral, and/or parasitic conditions affect the scalp or skin.
People with pattern baldness, though, often contract a serious parasite infestation called demodex folluculorum. Symptoms include itching on the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Luckily, this condition can usually be effectively cured.
Often, a particular bacteria, staphylococcus, causes scalp infections known as folliculitus. Common symptoms include pain when brushing hair and tenderness when rubbing the scalp around the infected area. If the condition is merely a surface one, then treatments are quick and effective. However, if the disease runs deep and reaches the hair follicles, this situation will call for long-term treatment that is also time-consuming.
There are three types of fungal folliculitus—tinea capits, sebhorreic dermatitis, and piedra. Each affects the hair and scalp in a unique way.
first, tinea capits occurs almost exclusively in children. It’s a severe scalp infection commonly referred to as ringworm of the scalp. The condition results when a mould-like fungus called dermatophytes arises and grows anywhere on the skin. Symptoms include red circular areas of total hair loss with whitish, scaly flakes or huge blisters that cover the entire head. when the case is mild, hair will regrow; however, if scarred patches appear, it may be considered a case of permanent hair loss.
Second, sebhorreic dermatitis is an inflammation, usually caused by a fungal/yeast infection called malassezia, which affects the head and body where sebaceous glands are. The infection can suddenly increase and trigger skin problems. for this reason, some experts believe this skin problem may be what causes or worsens the malassezia yeasts. Symptoms include mild dandruff to dense flaky and greasy scales. It’s believed that an accumulation of toxins or hair products are involved.
Third, piedra fungal infections can be confused with lice or a bacterial infection. Piedra leads to the manifestation of nodules of varying compacted density. While the piedra fungus can co-exist with bacterial infections, when this occurs, the areas of infections do not occur in the scalp, but rather in armpit and groin areas.
This overview of scalp infection is meant to provide basic information, though there are a wide variety of causes. A careful examination with a medical professional of an individual’s specific problem, its causes, and its best treatment, can resolve many conditions.