Scalp folliculitis types and remedies

scalp folliculitis

Table of Contents

What is Scalp Folliculitis?

Scalp folliculitis is an inflammatory ailment of the hair follicles in the scalp. Scalp folliculitis is accompanied by small, very itchy pustules at the scalp, regularly most troublesome on the frontal hairline.

Scalp Folliculitis Symptoms

Scalp folliculitis starts with small, infected bumps that appear alongside the hairline. Over time, these bumps grow large and turn out to be more infected. Without treatment, scalp folliculitis can spread to hair follicles in the center or back of the head.

Other signs of folliculitis consist of:

  • sores with brown or yellow scabs
  • clusters of pus-crammed or crusty sores
  • closed pimples with whiteheads
  • inflamed skin
  • itching, burning, or tender skin
  • slight fever

See: Psoriasis Treatment In Ayurveda

Scalp Folliculitis Causes

Scalp folliculitis is considered to be a response to blockages of hair follicles and is believed to be due to: 

  • Skin products
  • Hair removal procedures consisting of shaving, waxing, and plucking 
  • Ingrown hairs
  • Some drugs, like corticosteroids 
  • Tight clothing
  • Sticky bandages
  • Bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Cutibacterium acnes)
  • Yeasts (Malassezia species)
  • Mites (Demodex folliculorum)

See: Natural Remedies For Psoriasis Symptoms

Who’s At Risk Of Scalp Folliculitis?

Although every person can develop folliculitis, certain pre-existing medical conditions may also add to the risk factor. These consist of:

  • Pre-existing dermatitis
  • Men with curly hair who shave frequently
  • Wearing tight garments or waxing
  • Using public hot tubs and pools
  • Diseases that reduce the body’s immunity
  • Acne
  • Taking long-term antibiotics

See: Natural Home Remedies For Eczema

Types Of Scalp Folliculitis

Folliculitis is broadly categorized as superficial and deep. While shallow folliculitis is moderate and quickly treatable, deep folliculitis permeates much deeper into the hair follicle, making it tough to eliminate.

  • Superficial Folliculitis

a. Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB).
This is frequently referred to as razor bump or barber’s itch. Reportedly, it impacts almost 60 [1] percent African American men and people with curly hair. It is caused due to ingrown hair. Reliable treatment is to enable the hair to grow before shaving them. Skipping a shave for 3-4 weeks is often helpful.
b. Bacterial Folliculitis
This is a typical bacterial infection of the roots. The bacteria that survive on the skin get in the roots through a cut or wound. Typically, it is staphylococcus aureus that attacks your follicles. This is characterized by itchy, pus-filled bumps.

See: Natural Home Remedies For Skin Disorders

c. Pityrosporum Folliculitis.
This is a yeast infection that results in inflammation and itchiness on the skin. It occurs mainly in the face and upper body. This kind of folliculitis is more prevalent in young people.

d. Pseudomonas Folliculitis.
This is likewise referred to as hot tub folliculitis. It happens due to using dirty swimming pools or hot tubs and usually impacts the locations covered with swimwear or at the back of the legs. This occurs when the pH level or chlorine level is not well balanced. You can notice signs within 72 hours of interaction.

  • Deep Folliculitis.
    a. Boils & Carbuncles.
    This bacterial infection that occurs deep inside the hair follicles can lead to pus-filled boils, which is unpleasant. They keep growing in size due to pus until they rupture and drain pipes. Scarring may establish as an effect of boils. Carbuncles happen when numerous boils appear in the same area.

b. Gram-Negative Folliculitis.
Individuals on prescription antibiotics for an extended period are at risk of establishing this type of folliculitis. Long-acting antibiotics interrupt the normal bacterial balance of the skin.

c. Sycosis Barbae.
This resembles a razor bump however is deeper. It can trigger severe scarring on your scalp sometimes.

d. Eosinophilic Folliculitis.
This is a repetitive occurrence of folliculitis, typically leading to dark patches of skin. People who have weak immunity are more susceptible to developing this.

See: Ayurvedic Treatment For Skin Disorders


Your health practitioner will likely diagnose folliculitis by looking at your pores and skin and reviewing your medical history. They may also use a method for the microscopic exam of the pores and skin (dermoscopy).

If preliminary remedies do not solve your infection, your health practitioner may also take a sample of your infected skin or hair. Then a laboratory assists decide what is inflicting the illness. Rarely, a skin biopsy can be done to rule out different situations.
Apart from analyzing your skin, your doctor might take a swab from the affected location to diagnose a bacterial or fungal infection.

See: Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture Benefits For Skin Care


You can generally cope with slight cases of folliculitis at home. The most vital thing is to forestall doing something that may have caused it in the first place.

For example, in case you shave your head frequently, attempt taking some weeks off. Then, if your folliculitis clears up, you can need to change your shaving technique.

You also can try:

Warm compress

Applying a warm compress or warm, damp fabric on your scalp a few times a day can assist in soothing your scalp and draining any pus. Doing this a few times in the day can relieve the area and reduce itching.

See: Foods for clear healthy skin

Antibacterial cleaning soap

If your scalp folliculitis is located alongside your hairline, lightly wash the skin twice daily with antibacterial cleaning soap and dry the location with a clean towel.

Steroid Creams & Soaps
For moderate infections, your doctor may prescribe steroid creams, creams, and soaps. A medicated shampoo might also be prescribed to deal with folliculitis of the scalp or beard. While picking a shampoo, it is good to choose an anti-dandruff formula containing ingredients such as tea tree oil or ciclopirox.

Using an anti-dandruff shampoo

To wash your scalp, using an anti-dandruff shampoo that contains ketoconazole, ciclopirox, or tea tree oil can be helpful. 

Cortisone cream

Cortisone cream can assist in soothing the inflammation and itch of scalp folliculitis.

Antibiotic ointment

You also can try applying an antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin, to the area to help target bacteria. You can clean up the afflicted area with an antibacterial cleanser to limit the spread of folliculitis. An antibiotic application topically can also help reduce the itch. Typical topical antibiotics that work for scalp folliculitis include fusidic acid gel, clindamycin, and erythromycin.

See: Home remedies for dry itchy skin

Warm water

Avoid using hot water to wash your scalp that could further worsen the condition. Use lukewarm water.


Wash all items, such as hats, pillowcases, bedding, or combs, which have come into touch with the affected part of your scalp.

Oral Medications.
Oral medications are not necessarily prescribed by physicians for regular treatments. Nevertheless, if your case is extreme or your infection is repeating, your doctor might prescribe oral antibiotics.

Home Remedies For Scalp Folliculitis

The first step to deal with folliculitis in your home is to discover its root cause. Be mindful of your practices. For example, if you shave your head often, try to keep a space of a minimum of three to 4 weeks in between each shave.

Other natural home remedies that might provide relief include:

  • Herbs: Apply oatmeal to your scalp to minimize inflammation. A research study reports that oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to relieve numerous skin problems. Another study exposed that the usage of standard herbs helps reduce the symptoms of folliculitis in a lot of cases.
  • Essential Oils: Certain essential oils like clove oil, tea tree oil, cinnamon oil, lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, and chamomile oil have antifungal properties that can efficiently control folliculitis. Dilute a couple of drops of essential oil of your option with a provider oil or moisturizer and apply locally to soothe irritation.
  • Warm Compress: Wet a washcloth in warm water and location it on the affected site for a couple of minutes. Doing this a few times in the day can relieve the area and reduce itching. Covering your scalp utilizing a warm wet cotton towel or cloth can relieve your scalp and drain pipes the pus. You can do this once a day when you are experiencing scalp folliculitis.
  • ACV: Apple cider vinegar is extremely helpful in calming your hair roots as it has natural properties to heal rashes on your scalp. Mix apple cider vinegar with twice the water amount and apply the option directly on the scalp boils. Leave it for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with water.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is advantageous in controlling Pitta dosha and scalp irritation by its natural cooling properties. A regular mild scalp massage with coconut oil improves your hair growth by providing deep nutrition. You can also use coconut oil and water emulsion on the affected hair follicles for the best results.

Ayurvedic Remedies For Scalp Folliculitis

Ayurveda has herbal, dietary, and lifestyle remedies for scalp follictus.

  • Oral Ayurvedic Medications: These should only be taken after consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor. Follow the directions provided by the professional.

Phalatrikadi + Rakta pachak vati
Gandharva haritaki
Sutshekhar rasa
Avipattikar churna
Yashti + Shankha + Pravala
Based upon the intensity of your scalp folliculitis and your dosha imbalances, the Ayurvedic professional will advise the suitable dosage and usage of oral medications.

  • Ayurvedic Diet
    An appropriate, well-balanced Ayurvedic diet with important nutrients based upon your dosha levels is crucial to keeping your body’s dosha equilibrium. Attempt to consist of a range of seasonal vegetables and fruits in your diet. Likewise, take in garlic cloves (which contains sulfur) routinely in your diet to help reduce inflammation.
  • Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments
  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera has enzymes that effectively treat your scalp inflammation, swelling, soreness, and irritation while balancing your doshas. Use aloe vera juice or gel on the affected area once a day to get good outcomes.
  • Bhringraj: Bhringraj herb is popular in dealing with scalp folliculitis effectively. It includes active antimicrobial agents that combat against infection and lower inflammation while balancing your doshas. Massage your scalp with bhringraj oil and leave it for one to two hours. Use an Ayurvedic shampoo that contains bhringraj to heal your scalp folliculitis.
  • Triphala Churna: Triphala churna has multiple advantages like controlling hair fall, boosting hair growth, deep cleaning, and reducing scalp infections such as folliculitis. Mix Triphala churna with sour buttermilk and use the paste on your hair and scalp. Use it as a dry shampoo to clean your hair.
  • Neem: Neem has a predominant function in Ayurveda to control Pitta dosha while dealing with scalp folliculitis due to its antimicrobial properties. Apply freshly ready neem paste to the impacted locations on your scalp. You can soak and boil neem leaves in water and use them as a hair rinse.
  • Kapardika and Yashtimadhu mixture: The formula of Kapardika and Yashtimadhu mixture is used to deal with scalp folliculitis in Ayurveda. You can use the herbal paste to the infected area and leave it before washing it off with water.
  • Water: Keep yourself well hydrated by taking in at least 2-3 liters of water in a day. You can likewise include fluids in the form of tomato soup, blended vegetable soup, or spinach soup in your diet to enhance your hair follicles.

Attempt to avoid Pitta aggravating foods like fried food, green pepper, black pepper, cheese, and food with excess salt and sourness. Avoid consuming frozen food and overeating.


Prevention efforts consist of good skin hygiene, fending off unsanitary hot tubs and pools, not sharing razors, avoiding shaving too closely, changing out razors blades regularly, and keeping the skin moist and adequately hydrated. Following simple tips can help such as:

Bathe daily, specifically after exercises.
Use a moderate soap.
Do not scratch the bumps.
Prevent shaving too often.
Prevent connecting your hair too tight.
Prevent using too much oil as this can block the hair follicles and trap bacteria.
Keep individual health. Do not share your personal items.
Use clean pools or hot tubs.

You must consult your medical professional to treat underlying medical conditions. Likewise, if you take any medication, find out whether the drugs could be further worsen your folliculitis.


Folliculitis is a common skin condition caused by irritation and infection withinside the hair follicles. Although slight contamination usually cures itself and may be dealt with at home, it’s far essential to consult with your doctor before considering medication or treatment. 

1. Hughes, E. C., & Badri, T. (2019). Tufted hair folliculitis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430735/
2. Eosinophilic pustular folliculitis. (2016). https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/8534/eosinophilic-pustular-folliculitis
3. Winters, R. D., & Mitchell, M. (2019). Folliculitis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547754/
4. Sun, K.-I., & Chang, J.-M. (2017). Special types of folliculitis which should be differentiated from acne. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5821164/
5. Böni, R., & Nehrhoff, B. (2012). Treatment of gram-negative folliculitis in patients with acne. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165%2F00128071-200304040-00005

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