Fungal Infections: Can They Cause Hair Loss?

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

Fungal Infections are important 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 actually important 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 thing 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 literally 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 it. At first, this will make your hair thinner and ore 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 obviously not something that is 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 there are some more common ones that can directly affect your scalp. If you are in doubt as to if you have one of these infections it is always best to go to your doctor as soon as possible to check.


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 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 by the fact that 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. You should also take care to never 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. In fact, this is one of the most common fungal infections that you can get. You should know though that it thrives in moist environments, so wash regularly.


Folliculitis is cause by two different funguses and looks like acne on your scalp at first. Your hair might sill be in that spot, but eventually it will fall out. Sometimes by this point 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 important to clean your scalp regularly and thoroughly. It is also for this reason that you should go to your doctor who will be able to tell you if you have a fungal infection or simply clogged pores.


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 and will make your hair more likely to break at that spot.

The treatment for this 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 of time.

Yeast Infection

A yeast infection is a fungus that can grow anywhere on your body, even on your scalp. This is one that can show up in a variety of 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 at you can experience other symptoms such as fatigue. 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 quite 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 with 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 do want to make sure that your hair dries thoroughly though since most funguses like moist environments.

Two other options that you can try to use are tea tree essential oil and oregano essential oil. Both of 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.

This is because if your hair is wet at all then the oil will trap that moisture underneath it. This will only serve to make a nice home for the fungus that 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 great 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, letting your hair dry thoroughly afterward.

Prescribed Treatments

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

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


Some of the fungal infections that you get will require anti-fungal medication to get rid off 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 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, take care to 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 strong immune system will be a huge 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 very important to keep your pets clean and why you should not let them sleep on your pillows.

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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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