Fungal Infections: Can They Cause Hair Loss?

Fungal Infections: Can They Cause Hair Loss?
Fungal Infections: Can They Cause Hair Loss?

Fungal Infections are essential to treat. Some people might shrug them off, but this is a mistake. Fungal infections can lead to hair loss, even if they are not directly related to your head.

How Can A Fungal Infection Cause Hair Loss?

There’s a wide variety of fungal infections that can affect your body. With various symptoms, it’s easy to overlook minor cases. But, it’s essential to take care of these as soon as possible.

The reason is, even a minor fungal infection will drag down your immune system. When this happens, one of the first things that your body drops is the care of your hair.

In the case of fungal infections that affect your hair, there’s a higher likelihood that you could permanently lose your hair in the area—one thing to watch out for in inflammation, which is a common symptom of fungal infections.

This inflammation can increase blood flow to the area. It’s to get immune cells there to help fight off the fungus. Once the fungus is taken care of, the inflammation usually goes away.

However, if the infection persists, it can damage the cells in that area. This eventually causes scarring, which can be permanent. Inflammation leads to the forming of free radicals, which kill your cells.

As the cells die, they form scar tissue which builds up in that area. This is bad for your hair since this tissue presses on your hair follicles and constricts them. At first, this will make your hair thinner and more like fuzz, but eventually, it will make you bald in that spot.

Even in cases where the scar tissue is not pressing on the follicle of the hair itself, it can still cut off the flow of blood to the hair in that area. This is not good for your hair and will at the very least prevent it from getting the nutrients it needs.

Different Common Fungal Infections That Affect The Scalp

There are far too many fungal infections that can affect the human body to list them all here; however, some more common ones can directly affect your scalp. If you doubt if you have one of these infections, it is always best to go to your doctor as soon as possible to check.

Ringworm

The name ringworm might make you think that this is a form of a worm, but it is not. In reality, it is the same fungus that causes an athlete’s foot. If it makes its way to your scalp, it will cause hair loss every time. In mild cases, it will cause your hair to become brittle and break, but in severe cases, it can cause inflamed patches that ooze and lose the hair there.

This type of infection is identified because it makes red circles in the shape of a ring on your scalp. In the worse cases, you will need to go to your doctor for an anti-fungal. It would be best if you also took care never to share a brush or anything else with someone who has ringworm.

However, while you should take care of this fungal infection as soon as you notice it, it is not something that you should be overly concerned about. This is one of the most common fungal infections that you can get. You should know that it thrives in moist environments, so wash regularly.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis is caused by two different funguses and looks like acne on your scalp at first. Your hair might still be in that spot, but eventually, it will fall out. Sometimes, that follicle that holds the hair is rendered permanently bald in that spot.

These same symptoms can also be caused by clogged pores on your scalp, which is why it is essential to clean your scalp regularly and thoroughly. For this reason, you should also go to your doctor, who will tell you if you have a fungal infection or clogged pores.

Piedra

This is another fungus that can directly affect your hair. It does so by forming a hard lump on individual strands of your hair. This can be either black or, more commonly, white in color, making your hair more likely to break at that spot.

This treatment is either an anti-fungal or cutting off the infected hair entirely. One of the triggers for this is moisture, so try to keep your hair from being wet for long periods.

Yeast Infection

A yeast infection is a fungus that can grow anywhere on your body, even on your scalp. This one can show up in various ways that range from pimple-like patches to white dandruff-like flakes and from mild to severe.

No matter where you have a yeast infection, you can experience other symptoms. This fungus is also quick to spread to other places, so you should wash your hands frequently and try not to let it spread. Sometimes it can be treated at home, but you should take care of it as quickly as possible.

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Treating Fungal Infections

While some of these fungal infections are quite serious, most of them are pretty simple to treat. The sooner you start treating them, the easier it will be to get rid of them. Sometimes you can even use natural products to fight the fungus if it has not gone too far.

Home Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar is one thing that is easy to get and which has some anti-fungal properties. You can dilute this and put it right on your hair. You want to make sure that your hair dries thoroughly, though, since most funguses like moist environments.

Two other options that you can use are tea tree essential oil and oregano essential oil. These oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil. They should also only be used if your hair is perfectly dry.

If your hair is wet at all, then the oil will trap that moisture underneath it. This will only serve to make a lovely home for the fungus you are trying to kill. On this same note, you should be aware that fungus also likes warm environments, so don’t be afraid to let your head get cold and keep those hats off.

Finally, castor oil is another excellent option for helping to get rid of fungal infections. Usually, you apply it, let it sit in your hair for a while, and then wash it out with cold water, allowing your hair to dry thoroughly afterward.

Prescribed Treatments

Treatments that your doctor might prescribe for you can be divided into two main categories. The first are topical treatments applied directly on the spot, as the name suggests. These can be either an ointment or a shampoo and are used for sometimes several weeks.

The other option is a systemic treatment, a pill or capsule you take internally. These are sometimes taken for months and are more likely to result in side effects. However, if you have a severe fungal infection, this may be the only thing that can get rid of it.

Conclusion

Some of the fungal infections you get will require anti-fungal medication to get rid of them. It is always best that you take care of them as soon as possible to avoid permanent hair damage. Unfortunately, once you have lost your hair in an area due to a fungal infection, there is a high probability that you won’t be able to grow it back, especially not if there is scar tissue.

Anything that weakens your immune system can allow a fungal infection to take hold. The same things can also make fungal infections worse. For this reason alone, you should get proper sleep, avoid eating too many sweet foods, wash regularly, and take care of yourself in general.

On the flip side, taking care to strengthen your immune system is a great way to keep from getting a fungal infection in the first place. Should you get one anyway, having a robust immune system will be a massive help in getting rid of it.

Pets can also carry fungal infections, especially if they go outside. Even if they show no symptoms, they can still have the fungus present on their fur. Therefore, it is essential to keep your pets clean and why you should not let them sleep on your pillows.

Tired of chasing down hair growth solutions without the results you’re after? Make sure you’re using the three hair loss products known to work before experimenting with alternative solutions – you may be surprised with how effective those three alone can be.

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Christopher is the founder of Hair Loss Geeks, which launched back in 2011. At the time there wasn't any credible information on the internet about hair loss. As someone suffering from hair loss himself, Christopher began his extensive research journey. After launching the site, he later graduated from Boston University in 2012 with his PhD in Biochemistry. What started off as a hobby project quickly became a bigger focus as it grew. Christopher hopes everyone can learn from both his experience and research.

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