Scalp Fungus and Hair Loss

12 October, 2021 | Hair Loss | Author : Shveta Virmani

Hair is one of the most important aspects of one's overall look. In general, a good hair day can either make or break a person's appearance. Long, lustrous hair are perceived as a sign of excellent health. A full head of hair is frequently linked with youth and attractiveness too. However, hair loss is a very common issue that both men and women encounter. An average person loses around 100 strands of hair every day while performing routine tasks such as hair brushing or bathing. However, some circumstances, such as fungal infections or a hereditary predisposition, might exacerbate hair loss.

A scalp fungus infection is one such cause that contributes to hair loss. A fungal infection on the scalp can cause dryness, itchy scalp with hair loss and can be extremely difficult to deal with. But there are various medications and treatments available.

Read below to learn everything there is to know about the scalp fungal infection that causes hair loss and how to cure it.

Table of Contents

Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:

  1. What is Scalp Fungal Infection?
  2. Different Types of Scalp Fungal Infection
  3. Can a scalp fungal infection cause Hair Loss?
  4. Treatment of Scalp Fungus Infection
  5. Will the lost hair grow back?


1. What is Scalp Fungal Infection?

A fungal infection of the scalp is a frequently caused hair infection. Fungi are minuscule organisms that feed on the dead and rotting matter and thrive in damp and warm environments. The scalp's epidermis contains hair follicles from which hair develops, and the fungus on the head scalp infects those hair follicles and penetrates them. This infection can cause a variety of skin problems, including rashes on the scalp, itchy scalp with hair loss.

What does scalp fungus look like?

Inflammation and discomfort are the most typical symptoms of scalp fungus. There may be rashes, lumps, and swelling, as well as fever and swollen glands in severe instances. Hair loss happens in patches, and when there is a fungal infection, the hair in that region is lost, resulting in baldness in patches.

How does one get scalp fungus infection?

  • The likelihood of a scalp fungus infection increases under wet and humid circumstances
  • This may spread from person to person
  • It can also be spread by touch sharing items such as towels and napkins.
  • Animals can also spread a fungal infection.

What Causes Scalp Fungus?

Many individuals, including men and women, suffer from mild to severe scalp infections. Delaying taking necessary actions can prove immensely detrimental. The scalp of a human sustains infections when bacteria or fungus make their way through damaged skin or hair follicles. Bacteria cause impetigo and folliculitis. On the other hand, ringworm causes scalp fungus. 

Over 50% of adult males and females experience the problem of dandruff. Malassezia has been found to be responsible for the irritating condition of the scalp. A range of symptoms and signs indicate scalp fungus. You must always remember that you can treat a fungal infection on the scalp, no matter what causes it, if you act sooner than later. 

The transmission of infectious fungi onto the scalp as well as hair from animals, other people, or materials, leads to the development of scalp fungus. It is similar to other fungal skin issues or infections. Spreading onto the skin does not take much time for a fungus, and ultimately it causes infections of hair loss.

Here are the typical sources of this sort of fungal infection.

  • Pets: Cats, dogs, and other farm animals often suffer from skin infections because of the development and uncontrolled spread of ringworm. Different fungal infections are common in kittens and puppies. One with infected pets is at a higher risk of experiencing fungal infections.
  • People: Developing scalp fungus and encountering hair loss can happen when one comes in close contact with individuals who have fungal scalp or skin infections. It is easier for the fungi responsible for causing this infection to spread from one person to another. So, the fungi can come onto the hands and move directly to the head if you touch your scalp or hair. 
  • Environment: Many people suffer from scalp fungus because of some specific settings. Damp surfaces are those areas in shower rooms or common locker rooms in a gym where fungi presence in a large volume is normal. These fungi lead to the development of ringworm on the scalp and other fungal scalp or skin infections. 

Sharing products such as clothes, towels, combs, and personal care materials can cause scalp fungus. 

Some Common Fungal Infection That Causes Hair Loss


It is a fungal infection known for causing ring marks on the scalp or skin. It leads to hair loss for infection to a severe extent if not treated early. Ringworm affecting the scalp is called tinea capitis. 

Causes Of Ringworm

This fungal infection is caused by dermatophytes, which thrive in moist and warm environments. This scalp infection spreads quickly and can live more on infected objects and surface areas. 

Symptoms Of Ringworm 

The common symptoms of ringworms include:-

  • Patches of hair loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Dry, scaly rashes 
  • Severe itchiness

Ringworm Treatment

Your doctor may prescribe oral medication to treat ringworm. Depending upon the condition, your doctor may also recommend medicated shampoo, antifungal creams and steroids.


Bacteria are capable of entering the skin of a human through hair follicles that are damaged, leading to an infection known as folliculitis. Many men suffer from scalp fungus because of the folliculitis they get while plucking or shaving scalp hair. Folliculitis leads to the formation of a red ring around every hair follicle, causing itching or acute pain.

Causes Of Folliculitis

This occurs when a hair follicle is inflamed and infected. Folliculitis causes the hair follicle to swell under the skin, creating uncomfortable bumps. However, for specific types of folliculitis, the exact cause is unknown, but certain factors can increase the risk of this bacterial infection. These risk factors include:-

  • Overweight/obesity
  • Suffering from diabetes or having a history of diabetes
  • Consuming oral antibiotics for a long duration 

Symptoms Of Folliculitis 

The main symptoms of folliculitis are 

  • Red bumps that usually look like pimples
  • Sometimes, it may also look like a white-filled bumps or may contain pus
  • Itching, and you may feel uncomfortable 

Folliculitis Treatment

The folliculitis treatment options depend on the type of folliculitis you suffer from. Certain types of folliculitis need more aggressive care, whereas some may need little to no treatment. 

If the severity of the folliculitis is mild, one can treat it at home. There are several ways you can care for your irritated skin, including:-

  • Using antibacterial cleansers to clean the skin. This will limit the amount of bacteria on your skin
  • You can apply warm towels to your irritated skin. This will help you smooth the discomfort 
  • You can apply anti-itch creams 

Note- if the severity of the folliculitis is less, the symptoms will fade away within a few days without further treatment.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Six of every ten adult men and women experience dandruff owing to seborrheic dermatitis. It causes infections on the scalp and turns skin dry and flaky. One suffers from skin redness and itchiness because of seborrheic dermatitis. 

Causes of Seborrheic Dermatitis

A history of Psoriasis in the family may increase the chance of Seborrheic Dermatitis. If you live in a dry and cold region, then it may make the condition worse. Several health conditions may increase the chance of Seborrheic Dermatitis. These are:-

  • HIV
  • Depression
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Epilepsy 
  • Spinal Cord Injury

Symptoms Of Seborrheic Dermatitis

The Seborrheic Dermatitis symptoms may include 

  • Itchy white flakes skin on your scalp
  • Red scales on your skin
  • Pinkish plaques
  • Redness in the folds & creases at your hairlines

Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment 

  • In teenagers & adults, Seborrheic Dermatitis treatment may include 
  • Scalp treatment by using medicated shampoo
  • Massage or brush the scalp several times with a soft brush 

Signs and Symptoms of A Scalp Yeast Infection

Candida is a type of yeast that causes scalp yeast infection, one of the common fungal skin infections in humans. It leads to the build-up of a flaky, itchy rash on the scalp. Dark, warm environments are the breeding ground for Candida. You must keep your scalp dry and clean to keep scalp yeast infections at bay.

Here are certain conditions that contribute to the growth of Candida.

  • Using grooming or personal care products containing harsh or toxic chemicals
  • Sultry climates
  • Excess sweating
  • Minor cuts on the scalp lead to the entry and spread of Candida and cause scalp yeast infection

Here are the typical signs and symptoms of a yeast infection on the scalp.

The rash on the scalp may be purple or red and appears in patches of different shapes. Crusts form when the rash cracks on the scalp, leading to hair loss for infection.

  • Hair shedding
  • White, flaky scales
  • White and soft, moist areas on the scalp
  • Patches on the head having yellow or thick white greasy particles
  • Pimples in red and white filled with pus 

Individuals with weak immune systems are more vulnerable to scalp yeast infections. 

2. Different Types of Scalp Fungal Infection

Several fungal species can cause scalp infection. Some of the most frequent forms of scalp infections and the fungi that cause them are as follows:

  • Yeast is a kind of fungus that is ubiquitous, and two species known as Candida and Malassezia are known to cause scalp fungal infections. It features typical symptoms such as purple or red spots on the skin, flaky and white skin, itching, swelling, and pustules. Malassezia can cause diseases such as folliculitis, dermatitis, and pityriasis Versicolor.
  • Dermatophyte fungal infection: this is caused by the fungus called Microsporum spp that causes cutaneous disease of the hair, skin and nails.
  • Tinea capitis is a fungal species that is known to produce ringworm and its infection, which can affect the skin of the body as well as the scalp. There is a red coloured ring formation that is round and irritating. If this occurs on the scalp, it might cause a circular bald patch. This can be caused by fungal species like Microsporum spp and trichophyton. This infection is also known as ringworm hair loss.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis is a fungal infection caused by the fungus Malassezia. Inflammatory reactions in the body can cause dry flaky patches on the scalp, itchy and red skin, and severe hair damage.
  • Piedra is another frequent fungal infection. The fungus infects the strands of hair during this disease. In the event of a severe infection, the hair strand becomes weaker and easily broken.

3.Can a scalp Fungal Infection cause Hair Loss?

When a scalp fungal infection occurs, the fungus infiltrates the hair follicle as well as the hair shaft, from which the hair grows. The major cause of hair loss following a fungal infection is an inflammatory reaction, which is the body's normal response to any illness. During a fungal infection of the scalp or skin, immune cells are activated and attempt to eliminate the fungus. This also produces inflammation that aids in the destruction of the fungus, but if the infection is prolonged, the inflammation can persist.

  • This inflammation manifests as swelling and redness, and it can lead to several forms of hair loss, including androgenic alopecia, scarring alopecia.
  • Inflammation of the hair follicles causes significant tissue damage. This is because inflammatory chemicals include a high quantity of free radicals, resulting in the cellular death of tissues. As the hair follicles die, the risk of irreversible hair damage increases.
  • Scar tissue can grow as a result of tissue injury, resulting in scarring on the scalp

4. Treatment of Scalp Fungal Infection

The treatment of fungus or fungal infection in the scalp is typically done to eliminate the infection and prevent it from manifesting itself. Early diagnosis of the infection is essential since it might assist to avoid serious complications. There are numerous topical ointments and medicines that are commonly given to eliminate and treat fungal infections, the most frequent of which are:

  • Selenium sulphide is a popular antifungal medicine that is available as a shampoo. The typical content of selenium sulphide is about 1%. This aids in the treatment of fungus-induced dandruff and scalp yeast infection.
  • Ketoconazole is another antifungal scalp treatment that helps with fungal infections. It may stay in the hair for up to 72 hours, allowing it to treat the fungal infection for a longer period.
  • Povidone-iodine is an antiseptic solution that doctors often use to treat fungal infections of the scalp. It may be used topically to provide relief.
  • Another antifungal drug that is given over the counter is zinc pyrithione, which is found in anti-dandruff shampoos and can help relieve fungus on the head scalp.
  • Apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil, both of which have antifungal properties, are two traditional at-home treatments. However, you should only use tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar after consulting with your doctor.

5. Will the lost hair grow back?

As fungal hair loss is caused by the cellular death of hair follicles. Thus, any hair loss or hair damage caused by a fungal infection is irreversible because the follicles themselves are damaged. Fungal infections can also cause significant levels of inflammation and the formation of severe fibrosis around the hair follicles, impairing growth.

So, while hair loss is not usually reversible, there are other treatment options for restoring new hair growth. Hair transplant surgery is one of the most frequent methods of regaining your hair. During the hair transplant process, follicles are removed from the healthy section of the hair and then transplanted either individually or in small groups to areas with persisting baldness. There are two types of hair transplant procedures: follicular unit extraction and follicular unit transplantation.

  • Follicular unit transplantation is a method that involves cutting a small strip of hair follicle along with the scalp skin and then placing the follicles separately on other regions.
  • Hair follicles are individually punched from the location and then transplanted to other places in the follicular unit extraction procedure, which is an advanced technique.

After a fungal infection, it is important to treat the entire illness and allow the scalp to recover. All bald spots can be repaired with hair transplant treatments when the scalp has healed properly. Hair transplant in India has a high success rate and will result in healthy hair growth.

Take Away

Medlinks uses cutting-edge technology to deliver the best quality of service and treatment. Thanks to the top physicians and highly skilled personnel, you will discover the best treatment for your problem here. MedLinks is one of the best hair transplant clinics in Delhi.


1. Why do Human Beings Suffer from Scalp Fungi?

The spread of contagious fungi from other people, pets or items onto the scalp and hair causes scalp fungus in an individual. It is similar to several other skin fungal infections.

2. How to Eliminate Fungus on the Scalp?

The most effective treatment to get rid of fungus is the proper use of antifungal medications. 

3. Which Element Kills Scalp Fungus Naturally?

Good quality tea tree oil is antibacterial and antifungal, which is why it can kill scalp fungus naturally in an effective manner.

4. Can Tinea Capitis Affect Children?

The scalp’s ringworm or tinea capitis is contagious and can greatly affect children if not treated timely.

5. Can Scalp Fungus Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, scalp ringworm can severely affect the scalp and cause hair loss. 

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Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Gaurang Krishna

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Disclaimer:The content published on this website( is meant to spread awareness and educate the concerned patients regarding baldness and hair transplants as well as the treatment options available for baldness and hair transplant treatment in Delhi India. Any information on the website shall not be regarded as a prescription from a professional dermatologist. We recommend visiting a dermatologist in person for the right diagnosis and the treatment for any hair issues. We do not guarantee specific results as the treatments and the results vary from person to person.

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