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Scalp Infections That Make You Lose Your Hair

By Kristin Davis ; Updated August 14, 2017

Hair loss can affect children and adults of any race or gender and can be devastating--especially to women. The American Hair Loss Association reports that alopecia is not specific to any one disease; the term refers to any type of hair loss. Scalp infections can cause alopecia, and they are very difficult to diagnose and treat.


Ringworm, medically termed Tinea Capitis, is a fungal infection of the scalp. Ringworm is contagious and common among young children who attend school, according to However, ringworm is not just a childhood infection, adults can contract the fungus as well. Ringworm is also not limited to just the scalp--it can attack any part of the body as it affects hair shafts and follicles, according to Hair loss usually occurs in in round or oval shaped patches due to the shape of the ringworm. According to the Mayo Clinic, ringworm can be treated with an oral or topical antifungal medication. Your hair will grow back once the fungal infection is cured, but it may take some time depending upon the amount of hair loss you experienced.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Areata is an infection of the scalp that can occur on all parts of the body which contain hair follicles, according to Alopecia Areata is an auto-immune disease, which means the symptoms result from the body attacking itself. This type of hair loss is sudden and may or may not show signs of inflammation, broken hairs or scaling. Hair can be lost in round or oval patches, which can occur literally overnight or over the course of several days. You may feel slight tingling or pain in the area that is affected. If Alopecia Areata is very aggressive, you may experience complete body hair loss. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this type of scalp infection. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drugs for this disease as there is little known about it. According to, there are drugs currently being prescribed off-label to treat Alopecia Areata. Since Alopecia Areata is an auto-immune disease, it may go into remission, and your hair may grow back during that time.


Folliculitis causes inflammation of hair follicles. If the inflammation is severe enough, you can lose hair and your hair follicles can be permanently destroyed, according to the American Hair Loss Association. If your hair follicles are completely destroyed, your hair will never grow back. There are different forms of folliculitis, including non-infectious and infectious. Non-infectious forms are caused by greases and oils that are applied to the scalp and clog the hair follicles. The American Hair Loss Association states that most cases are caused by Staphylococcus Aureus, a bacterial infection, and are infectious. Viral infections, such as Herpes Zoster and Herpes Simplex, and yeast or fungus infections, such as Pityrosporum ovale or Trichophyton rubrum, can also call folliculitis. The AHLA states that non-prescription antibiotics can be applied topically to the scalp for minor infections, such as mycitracin and bacitracin. For more serious or severe infections, an oral antibiotic may be the appropriate treatment.

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