Infectious Scalp Conditions

This page was designed to provide an overview of some common Scalp Conditions that present as Infectious Scalp Conditions. It introduces explanations of common Infectious Scalp Conditions, possible causes of the various Infectious Scalp Conditions and summarizes possible treatment options.

If you have a persistent Infectious Scalp Condition the best treatment will be achieved from a proper diagnosis with a Doctor and assistance from a Certified Trichologist.



Tinea Capitis also known as 'Herpes tonsuransis' is an infection of the scalp caused by fungi.

Fungi are a type of germ that can live on the dead tissue of the hair, nails, and outer skin layers known as keratin.

It is normal for the body to host a variety of fungi. Tinea capitis is caused by  mold like fungi called dermatophytes.

Dermatophytes of the Trichophyton and Microsporum genera invade the hair shaft

The fungi that cause Tinea Capitis infections like warm, moist areas. A tinea infection is more likely if you have scalp skin injuries, poor hygiene or moist, wet scalp skin for a long time from excessive sweating or tying up long and thick hair whilst still wet.

Tinea Capitis infections or ringworm are contagious and can spread easily to others.

You can catch Tinea Capitis by coming into direct contact with ringworm on another person’s body, or if you touch items such as brushes, combs, hats, or clothing that have been used by someone with ringworm.

The infection can also be spread by pets, particularly dogs and cats.

It most often affects children but can occur in adults.

Tinea Capitis may involve only parts of the scalp, or the entire scalp skin.

Areas that are infected appear bald with small black dots, due to hair that has broken off where the fungus has rooted itself in the skin.

Common symptoms are  severe itching of the scalp, dandruff, inflammation, scaling, pustules, and bald patches.

Scalp skin may also appear thickened and have boggy swellings with expanding raised red rings (ringworm).

Tinea Capitis symptoms can present similar to Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis. Correct diagnosis is essential.

Oral medications are the best treatments for Hair Loss and Scalp Sores caused by Tinea Capitis and must be prescribed by a doctor.

Once the problem has been cured, a Trichologist may help to correct the scalp balance, reduce the moist scalp, offer hair and scalp hygiene advise and assist in stimulating re-growth of the broken hairs.


Impetigo is contagious skin infection that is common among young children and is also known as school sores.

Impetigo is not as common in adults but can follow other skin disorders or recent infections such as a cold or virus.

Impetigo is caused by the streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria.

Healthy skin normally has many types of bacteria on it. Intact skin is an effective barrier that keeps bacteria from entering and growing in the body.

When there is a break in the skin, bacteria can enter the body and grow, causing inflammation and infection of the skin. Breaks in the skin may occur from animal bites, insect bites or injury and trauma to the skin. Impetigo can also occur on skin where there is no visible break.

Skin lesions from Impetigo can appear on the face, lips, arms, or legs, and usually occurs on the scalp skin as a secondary infection.

The contagious nature of Impetigo means you can catch this infection if the fluid that oozes from the blisters touches an open area on your skin.

Impetigo is characterized by single or multiple blisters filled with yellow or honey-colored fluid, dirty yellow stuck on crust surrounded by red inflamed skin, an itching blister or rash that spreads to other areas after scratching.

Diagnosis of Impetigo is based mainly on the appearance of the skin lesion and treatment goal is to cure the infection and relieve the symptoms.

Impetigo infection responds well to prescription antibacterial creams and or oral antibiotics from a doctor.


Bacterial Infections of the scalp skin are primarily caused by two strains of bacteria know as staphylococci and streptococci.

Both of these bacteria are found on normal healthy scalp and skin outer layer, the epidermis.

It is only when the bacteria have a path through the epidermis to the dermis and Stratum Corneum layer of the skin, that infections occur.

Staphylococci is known to invade the hair follicles and cause Folliculitis with pustules.

Streptococci travels along the skins epidermis causing liquid excretion from the scalp skin that is often followed by a secondary infection involving staphylococci as well. An infected scalp will most often have both bacteria causing the infection and inflammation.

Combination of infection and inflammation are experienced with scalp conditions such as Folliculitis, Folliculitis Decalvins and Pseudofolliculitis which are explained in Inflamed Scalp Conditions.

CARBUNCLES are a deep infection with Staphylococcus aureus of a group of hair follicles.

BOILS or FURNICLES are deep infections of the hair follicle with Staphylococcus aureus causing perifollicular abscess.

Correct medical treatment of the infection may limit scalp skin and hair damage. A Trichologist may help to rebalance your scalp skin Hydrolipidfilm and correct associated hair cycle problems interrupted by the infection and inflammation.


This work is copyright 2011. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process, nor may any other exclusive right be exercised, without the permission of Carolyn Evans Absolique Hair Health Clinic Trichologist at Suite 3, 669 Brunswick Street, New Farm, QLD, 4005, 07 3229 3242