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What Is Scalp Folliculitis, And Why Is Everyone Talking About It: Our Expert, Dr Sneha Ghunawat Explains

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The growing awareness around scalp care has made people more aware of the fact that ‘a healthy scalp equals healthy hair’! Going the extra mile for your hair has now become an actual thing, and it starts with treating your scalp like you do your skin — from indulgent scalp massages to release tension, scalp exfoliation to deep cleansing rituals. Environmental aggressors, hairstyles that tightly pull your hair, frequent scratching or rubbing, can be determined as few of the key reasons behind the deteriorating health of our scalp. Among the many concerns we face as a result of that, scalp folliculitis is one of them. Referring to a condition that causes damage to hair follicles, folliculitis is a common inflammatory condition that is a result of fungal or bacterial infection. There’s more to this scalp condition than what meets the eye, so we asked our expert, Dr Sneha Ghunawat to break it down for us. Read on to understand the causes, identify the symptoms and check out what ingredients to look for when finding scalp folliculitis remedies.

What is Scalp Folliculitis?

Dr Sneha: Scalp folliculitis is a condition in which the tip of the hair follicle, from where the hair emerges from the scalp, is inflamed, and causes redness. This condition leads to the appearance of tiny red bumps on the scalp that can lead to mild itchiness and pain

What are the main causes of this condition?

Dr Sneha: This scalp infection is a result of a fungal or a bacterial infection. Although, there are certain causes like damaged hair follicles that make one predisposed to being affected by this concern. Common reasons of a damaged hair follicle are:

  • Frequent scratching or rubbing of the hair
  • Styling your hair very tightly or in a way that will cause traction at the roots
  • Wearing helmets, caps, hats, or headgears that cause friction among the follicles
  • Using too many hair products that lead to build up on the scalp

Apart from the above-mentioned causes, people with curly hair may be more prone to being affected by this condition. A generalised weakened immune system due to underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid, or prolonged consumption of steroids or antibiotics may also be a cause of folliculitis.

What are the symptoms of Scalp Folliculitis?

Dr Sneha: Acne-like tiny red bumps is a common symptom of hair folliculitis. These may be concentrated in one area like the hairline, or all over the scalp. These bumps may have a white tip, which indicates pus trapped in them. This condition can cause pain, tenderness, itchiness, stinging, and burning sensation. The itchiness may cause pus discharge, which could lead to mild scarring.

Which ingredients are best to treat this condition?

Dr Sneha: This scalp infection treatment firstly includes identifying any underlying conditions causing folliculitis. Be mindful of using room temperature or lukewarm water to wash your hair, as hot water may aggravate the condition. Using an antibacterial soap and/or fungal shampoos will aid in decreasing inflammation, bacterial and fungal load. Ketoconazole-based shampoos are an ideal choice for scalp folliculitis treatment. Ointments, gels, and lotions that have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will aid in improving this condition. Make sure to keep your headgears, hats, helmets, and caps clean to prevent folliculitis in the first place. If the symptoms persist, it is recommended to consult your doctor.

What are some easy at-home scalp folliculitis remedies?

  • Applying soothing gels like aloe vera, which has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • One teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with half a cup of water can be applied on the affected area with cotton pads for 20 mins, twice a day.
  • Essential oils like tea tree, grapeseed, and neem are effective in treating this condition, in milder cases.
  • Neem leaves-soaked water can also be used to wash the scalp and can be done 2-3 times a week.

Now that you know what scalp folliculitis is, here’s some products recommended by Nykaa to help you tackle it.

Mamaearth Aloe Vera Gel

St.Botanica USDA Organic Apple Cider

Nykaa Naturals Tea Tree Essential Oil

Kama Ayurveda Mini Cold Pressed

Aroma Magic Organic Grapeseed Oil

The Body Shop Tea Tree Purifying

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