Skip to content

What Is The Leading Cause Of Scalp Folliculitis And How Should We Treat It?


Folliculitis is a type of skin and hair condition, caused by a fungal or bacterial infection, which leads to the inflammation of the hair follicles and an itchy scalp. In many ways, the symptoms of folliculitis are similar to scalp psoriasis but there are also significant differences. They might initially appear as white or red bumps around infected hair follicles in any part of the body and later lead to an aggravated condition in which they form crusty sores all over the body. 

The most common areas that folliculitis affects are the chest, face, buttocks, legs, arms, genitals, and head. Folliculitis does not affect the palms, soles of the feet, and lips because these regions don’t have hair follicles. Folliculitis is an irritating problem that could affect all people and though it causes a lot of discomfort to the individual including scalp pain, it is quite harmless and easily treatable.

What Are The Causes Of Scalp Folliculitis?

The most common reason for scalp folliculitis is an infection caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus. Inflammation caused by fungal or viral infections could also lead to scalp folliculitis. Some of the microorganisms responsible for follicular infection include

  • Bacteria
  • Mites
  • Yeast or Fungi
  • Viruses

There are certainly other factors that make you more prone to folliculitis. Some of the major causes of folliculitis include

  • Those suffering from dermatitis or acne are prone to folliculitis.
  • Improper or rough shaving which leads to damaged hair follicles in that part of the body.
  • If you are suffering from any sort of medical problem that compromises your immune system such as AIDS, leukemia or diabetes.
  • If you wear clothes or accessories that lock heat or sweat like rubber gloves and high boots, you are more susceptible to folliculitis attacks.
  • Swimming in a poorly-maintained pool or tub. The areas that are covered by your swimsuit will be the most affected. The effects are normally seen at least 12 hours to 2 days after you are exposed to the water.
  • Substances like tar which clog the skin.
  • If you are under medication with steroids and antibacterial cream and have been using them for a long time.
  • Wearing tight hair braids.
  • A exposed wound or injury which allows bacteria to spread to the follicles.
  • Excessive use of hair products like oils, gels and shampoos could irritate the scalp and cause infection. 

How To Detect Scalp Folliculitis?

Your doctor will look at your skin, and refer to your medical reports to diagnose any infection or folliculitis symptoms. The medical practitioner might also decide on a closer examination of your skin. If your initial treatment does not help, the doctor might take a swab of your infected area to establish which strain of bacteria or fungus has caused the infection. If the results are inconclusive and the infection continues, a biopsy might be required for a conclusive diagnosis.

In the beginning, folliculitis appears as a cluster of small red pimples on your scalp with a possible white tip. This could in the course of time spread and infect the neighboring hair follicles and turn them into crusty sores. The regular symptoms of folliculitis are:

  • Tiny red pimples
  • White heads
  • Sores filled with pus that turn crusty
  • Inflamed and red skin
  • A little pain 
  • Mild fever
  • Swelling
  • Burning and itching

Ways To Treat Scalp Folliculitis

There are a number of simple home remedies to treat your scalp folliculitis. If the case takes a turn for the serious you might have to visit the doctor but for milder cases, you can do the following,

  • Apply a warm compress to your scalp a couple of times a day, which will offer relief.
  • Use an antibacterial soap to wash the skin if the folliculitis is located along the hairline and dry it later with a clean towel/cotton cloth.
  • Use anti-dandruff shampoo that contains antifungal agents like ciclopirox, ketoconazole, or tea-tree oil. 
  • To reduce inflammation and itchiness use cortisone cream.
  • Use an antibiotic ointment to clear the bacterial infection.
  • Use lukewarm water and not hot water for your washes.
  • Wash all items like clothes and combs that come in contact with the infected part of the scalp.

What Are The Ayurvedic Treatments For Scalp Folliculitis?

Ayurveda attempts to correct the imbalance of the relevant doshas and establish normal body functions. According to Ayurveda oppressively hot and humid weather conditions, lack of nutrition, and poor hygiene could increase the possibility of hair follicle infection. Scalp folliculitis treatment is simple and easy. A good diet is the best way to solve folliculitis scalp issues according to Ayurveda.

  • Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily to keep the body well hydrated. This is the right way to maintain the required moisture levels in the scalp.
  • You should also create a balanced diet plan with proper nourishment in the form of a nutritious combination of fruits, curd, and vegetables. Vegetable and tomato soups and other foods with good healthy content are also very essential.

Ayurvedic therapies are always based on body type and constitution. The right combination of an oil massage and herbs on the scalp would help greatly in solving your hair folliculitis issues. Let’s find out more about some ayurvedic home treatment procedures for folliculitis.

  • Shirodhara: Here medicated oils are poured slowly on the forehead from a vessel kept at a specific height above the head. The oils gradually flow from the forehead to the scalp and give the therapist an opportunity to give you a relaxing massage. Dead cells and impurities are also removed from the scalp as the process also helps exfoliate it. 
  • Shiro lepa: A paste of different ayurvedic herbs and plants is applied on the scalp as part of the shiro lepa process. The head is then covered with a banana leaf and a small opening is created on top through which medicated oils are poured and covered with the lepa (paste). This is very helpful in enhancing the effect of the lepa as they nourish the tissues. This has a relaxing effect on the body and also enhances hair health.
  • Bhringraj oil: Bhringraj oil with antimicrobial agents is a very good remedy for all kinds of folliculitis. They help reduce inflammation and fight infection while at the same time helping balance your doshas. A rejuvenating oil massage with bhringraj oil can be followed by a hair wash with bhringraj shampoo to heal folliculitis.
  • Neem: If you are suffering from bacterial infections and inflammation, neem should be your chosen remedy. Use organic neem oil diluted with almond oil and add to the health and beauty of your hair. Neem is also used in preparing different creams, shampoos, oils, and soaps. Its incredible cooling properties help control the pitta levels in the body and this helps in treating folliculitis. Apply neem oil to the folliculitis-affected areas and solve your hair issues in a jiffy.
  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera gel can also be used to cure folliculitis. The enzymes present in aloe vera are a perfect remedy for itchiness and swelling. If you apply the freshly extracted gel from aloe vera leaves 3 times a day on the affected area your issues will be solved in quickly time.
  • Triphala Churna: Triphala Churna is a very potent ayurvedic formula with numerous benefits for hair and stops hair fall while augmenting hair growth. It is also used regularly in folliculitis treatment. It can also be used as a very effective shampoo in its dry form.
  • Coconut: Coconut has been a remedy for a variety of hair ailments in multiple forms for a long time. It has capric and lauric acid which are very effective in preventing any sort of microbial infection. Coconut oil has an extremely low density and penetrates the hair shaft to build the strength of the hair roots.

Heat grated coconut for approximately 5 minutes. Strain it and after it cools add a teaspoon each of black pepper and methi. Apply it well to your hair and scalp before washing it off after half an hour. 

  • Fenugreek Seeds: Fenugreek seeds contain a number of beneficial plant compounds and the goodness of protein and iron, which make them a great remedy for any sort of bacterial and microbial infection. It is also very good for moisturizing the scalp and produces a soothing feeling. 

Soak fenugreek seeds overnight in water and make a smooth paste. Apply thoroughly to hair and scalp before rinsing off after half an hour. 

  • Onion: Onions have rich sulfur content which is very effective for improving blood circulation in the scalp. Onion also has antioxidants like potassium, vitamin C, and fibre. It has potent antibacterial qualities and anti-inflammatory properties. You can add lime juice to onion juice and reduce the strong smell. 

Ways To Prevent Scalp Folliculitis

You can help avoid scalp folliculitis by adhering to some basic hygiene procedures which will help ensure that you are less vulnerable to any infections. 

  • Have your bath regularly and never forget to have a shower after a workout.
  • Shave only when required and not very frequently. 
  • If you have minor bumps on the scalp, try not to scratch them for you might worsen the injury and aggravate the infection.
  • Do not tie up your hair too tightly.
  • Do not go to tubs or pools that have not been properly sanitized. 
  • For those with oily hair, do not put too much oil on your scalp, you might clog your pores.
  • Always try to use milder soaps.


It is possible for a person to recover from a mild case of folliculitis without treatment but some more severe cases may lead to more complications. That is why an early diagnosis is important to verify the cause and make sure that we adhere to the proper procedures of folliculitis treatment. Scalp folliculitis home treatment procedures are effective enough. Take the FREE Traya Hair Test and move towards a faster resolution of your hair issues. Do not hesitate to take the help of our experts at Traya who will ensure that you are well and truly on your way toward hair health.


Q1 - How Do You Get Rid Of Scalp Folliculitis?

Ans - Lifestyle and home remedies are the best ways to get rid of scalp folliculitis. You can apply a warm compress to your scalp a couple of times a day to remove the pus. You can also use antibacterial soap to wash the infected portion. Wash your scalp with anti-dandruff shampoo that contains anti-fungal ingredients. Use lukewarm water instead of hot water to wash the scalp. Cortisone creams can reduce the inflammation and itch of scalp folliculitis. 

Q2 - What Triggers Scalp Folliculitis?

Ans - Scalp folliculitis is usually caused when damaged hair follicles are infected by bacteria causing inflammation and irritation. This could be caused by ingrown hair, yeast, fungus, bacteria, physical injury, or medication.

Q3 - Can Scalp Folliculitis Be Cured Completely?

Ans - Basic self-care is enough to take care of mild folliculitis. Severe cases of folliculitis can be cured with prescription antifungal or antibiotic medicines. 

Q4 - How Do I Know If I Have Scalp Folliculitis?

Ans - When you have clusters of pimples or small bumps around hair follicles that contain pus and break open over itchy, burning skin you can be sure that you have folliculitis.


Zahra Lokhandwala

Hair Coach

Zahra is the hair coach-in-chief at Traya. She works closely with the doctors to monitor all cases. She is a fitness freak and has not touched sugar in years!

Popular Posts

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

What's Causing Your Hair Fall?

Take Traya's FREE 2-minute hair test, designed by doctors that analyses 20+ factors like genetics, scalp health, lifestyle, and hormones, to identify the root causes of your hair fall.

Take The Free Hair TestTM