Fungal Infections: Can They Cause Hair Loss?

Fungal Infections: Can They Cause Hair Loss?

There are many fungal infections that can cause hair loss. While this is a concern for many, the most important thing to remember is that they can be corrected. Below, we’ll look into the different types of fungal infections and how to spot them. If you notice any signs of having a fungal infection, it is best to call your doctor or dermatologist immediately. They can provide you with resources to clear up your infection and help reverse the damage they’ve done to your scalp and hair.

Ringworm

Although its name suggests this infection has to do with worms, it does not. Ringworm is a fungal infection that can occur throughout your body. If it finds its way to your scalp, you’ll notice patches of hair loss, known to many doctors as “tinea capitis.” Ringworm is the same type of fungal infection as athlete’s foot.

If you have ringworm on your scalp, it will usually begin as a small pimple that begins expanding in size. You’ll notice scaly patches of temporary baldness. The fungus makes it way into the fibers of your hair and causes them to become brittle and break. You’ll often have itchy, red, inflamed patches, some might even ooze or blister. If you notice patches that are redder around the outside with a skin tone in the center, creating the appearance of a ring, you likely have ringworm.

While this fungus is fairly common, you will likely need to have an effective anti-fungal to make it fully go away.

Folliculitis

This is a general term for inflammation of your hair follicles, and it presents like acne. You might notice rings of inflammation around the hair follicle opening. At first, the hair fiber might still there, however as this infection progresses you will often see the hair begin to fall out. If folliculitis is severe, the inflammation can cause permanent damage to your hair follicle, which will lead to permanent bald patches.

There are two forms of folliculitis. The first is a non-infectious form that is caused by greases and oils that are applied to the skin causing clogs to the follicles. The other is the bacterial infection. The most common infection is from Staphylococcus aureus, following second is Pseudomonas aeruginosa (which grows in improperly chlorinated water).

Depending on the severity of the infection you might need a topical antibiotic, or more severe infections will require oral antibiotics.

Piedra

Piedra (trichomycosis nodularis) get’s its name from the Spanish word for stone. It occurs when the fibers for the hair become infected with a fungus, causing a hard nodule on the fiber. There are two main types of Piedra, black and white, referring to the color nodule that is formed on the hair fiber. Piedraia hortae is the fungus that causes black Piedra, found mostly in tropical countries. Trichosporon beigelii is the fungus that causes white Piedra, found mostly in Southern United States and Europe.

The infection can cause hair fibers to weaken, making it easier for breakage. This results in patchy hair loss. Generally, antifungals are used for treatment, however, some might have to shave off affected areas of their hair.

Yeast Infection

Candida is an infection of yeast that can develop on your scalp. You might notice the following symptom:

  • White, flakey scales
  • Red or purple rash
  • White, pus-filled pimples

This skin infection can cause hair loss if not treated properly. It can also continue to spread throughout your body if not treated properly. This can cause fatigue, digestive issues, sinus pain, and more.

You can generally clear up yeast infections with over the counter treatments. However, studies have shown that when you use a topical antifungal with a prescription medication, the infection can be cleared much faster.

Final Thoughts

While this is not an extensive list of the fungal infections that can plague the scalp, it’s important to remember that any signs of infection should warrant a trip to the doctor. Homeopathic treatments will not generally clear up these infections.

So, if you’re facing hair loss from a fungal infection, a call to your doctor or pharmacist should be your next step.

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