Ringworm on scalp is a common skin problem in both children and adults. It is usually characterized by itchy, dry and scaly skin areas accompanied by a rash. Explore facts, pictures, causes, signs, and symptoms of scalp ringworm. Also, learn how to get rid of and prevent it with medical treatments and home remedies.
Summary of Page Contents
- Signs and Symptoms of Ringworm on Scalp
- Ringworm on Scalp Pictures
- Causes of Ringworm on Scalp
- How to Get Rid of Ringworm on Scalp
- How to Prevent Ringworm on Scalp
- When to See a Doctor
- Sources and References
Signs and Symptoms of Ringworm on Scalp
An infection of ringworm on the scalp is also known as tinea capitis. This is a fungal infection that typically affects the skin of the scalp and the hair. However, ringworm can also show up in other parts of your body.
Ringworms on the scalp are usually associated with dry scaly patches that might itch. The affected area of your scalp can also develop a red rash on dry patches. A serious attack of scalp ringworm can lead to skin inflammation and blisters on the head.
The infection of ringworm on the scalp is usually characterized by the following signs and symptoms that include:
- Single or many dry and scaly itchy patches on the scalp
- Grey, pink, white, yellow or ashy spots and patches on the scalp
- Redness, tender, inflamed and painful spots on the scalp
- Itchy rash and bumps on dry patches on head
- Brittle hair that breaks easily to leave patches on the scalp
- Temporally or permanent hair loss and baldness patches
- Small or large round patches on scalp with leathery skin
- Scabs and scarring on the skin of the scalp
The signs and symptoms of scalp ringworms may vary from one person to another with a slight difference. But you can easily tell if your skin is affected by ringworm infection if you notice an itchy, scaly, dry, grey patchy spots on your scalp with hair loss.
Ringworm or Eczema
Ringworms and eczema are skin conditions that can really confuse you and find it difficult to distinguish between the two infections. This confusion is common if your skin develops eczema that look like ringworm.
Eczema is chronic skin conditions that are associated with symptoms of itchy patches that finally become red, inflamed, cracked, dry, scaly and rough. Also, eczema can result in the formation of blisters that burst, ooze, and crust over on the skin.
Unlike eczema that forms red blisters, ringworm on the scalp is usually characterized with dry, scaly, flaky, itchy gray patches on the skin with ashy rashes in the affected area.
Ringworm on Scalp Pictures
How does ringworm on the scalp look like? To see how it might appear we have included descriptive pictures of a scalp with ringworms to show you how they can look like. These pictures or photos are only for the purpose of your visual understanding.
However, you can use the provided pictures or images to evaluate the skin condition on your scalp to get a clue about it. But you should not use these pictures as a reference for the self-diagnosis and treatment without the guidance of your doctor.
Causes of Ringworm on Scalp
Ringworm infection on the scalp is caused by different types of fungus. The common known type of fungi that can affect your scalp is called tinea capitis or dermatophyte. Usually, this infection attacks the outmost skin layer of the scalp and the hair.
Similar to other types of molds or fungus that live on the moist surface, the ringworm can also live on the surface of your skin. The saprophytic fungus usually attacks dead skin tissue on the scalp, dandruff and hair shaft.
The presence of strange fungus on your skin can feed on dead skin tissue and damage the living skin tissue. As the ringworms continue to stay on your skin they make the affected area to turn into dry, scaly, inflamed itchy patches.
The fungus that causes ringworm infection is highly contagious. Your skin can be infected by ringworm through various transmission mechanisms. Typically, the ringworm infection is only transmitted externally.
Some of the mechanism that the skin of your scalp can contact ringworm infection includes:
- Spread from one person to another: you can get ringworm infection through the direct skin in contact with a person who has the infection.
- Contaminated items to human: this is a common mechanism that you can be infected by ringworms through sharing of contaminated items such cloth, towel, cobs, hairbrush and other sanitary items.
- From animals to human: domestic animals such as dogs, cats, goats, cows, pigs, rabbits, and horses are major hosts that can carry ringworms on the skin. Your interaction with an infected animal with ringworm can encourage the spread and the infection.
Other than tinea capitis, there are other types of ringworms that can cause round lesion on your skin. They include:
- Tinea corporis is a form of ringworm that can affect the outer layer of your skin at any part of your body.
- Tinea pedis or athlete’s foot is type ringworms that can affect your lower feet and between your toes.
- Tinea cruris or jock itch is a form of ringworm that usually attacks the skin of your genital area, butts, and
You can easily be affected by ringworm on scalp if you are exposed to a risk factor that encourages the infection.
The common risk factors that may encourage ringworms infection on your scalp include:
- Weakened immune system due other underlying infection such as diabetes, HIV, and others
- Poor skin hygiene, accumulation of dirt, sweat, and grease on skin that can facilitate the growth of fungal infection.
- Childhood stage as the ringworm infection is common in infants, babies, toddlers, and children with school-age.
- A congested environment such as schools and prisons that can allow close physical skin contact.
- Close interaction with the pet, for instance, you might touch your pet that is infected by ringworms.
The term ringworms do not mean it is caused by worms. The term ringworm was original provide by ancient Greeks who described it as “herpes” that simply means “ring.” Furthermore, the ancient Romans introduced the term “tinea” that was referring to the larval stage of a certain moth that lives in cloth.
As the infection had symptoms of round lesion of the skin that look like rings, it was believed to be caused by worms. In the 15th century, the English word emerged as ringworm. This word became a popular name for this fungal infection as ringworm.
How to Get Rid of Ringworm on Scalp
You can get rid of ringworm on your scalp using different treatment methods. You can use natural home remedies that are effective for mild infection of ringworms on your scalp. If your scalp has a severe infection of ringworms that appear to be more serious, you can alternatively go for medical treatment by visiting your doctor.
After visiting the medical specialist, he/she carry out the diagnosis before giving you the appropriate medical treatment that can help to get ringworm on your scalp. The common treatment methods that your doctor might use to fix your problem include:
- Prescription of oral medication that can help to kill the fungi on your scalp
- Prescription of medicated shampoos that can help to control the growth of ringworms on your skin
- The prescription of ointment creams, gel and medicinal lotions that can help to kill the fungus on your scalp
You can try the following the natural treatment for ringworms on your scalp that includes:
1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an effective natural home remedy that can help in the treatment of ringworms on your scalp. The acidic nature of the reagent can help to kill fungi that cause ringworms on the scalp.
How to use:
- Dilute ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar with equal volume of water
- Soak the cotton ball into the solution for few seconds
- Dab the solution to the affected area on your scalp
- Allow it to dry before rinsing it off with water
- Repeat this procedure three times in a day for few weeks until patches of ringworm on your scalp go away
2. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has natural antiseptic properties that can help to kill fungi that cause ringworm on scalp. The oil can also help to moisturize dry, scaly or flaky skin that is affected by ringworms to facilitate the healing process.
How to use:
- Use warm water to wash your scalp and dry it off with a towel
- Use a cotton ball to apply the coconut oil to the affected area of your scalp with ringworms
- Leave the oil to stay on your scalp for the whole day without washing it
- Repeat this treatment three times in a day until patches of ringworms on your scalp goes away
- You can alternatively use other essential oils such as Olive oil, Neem tree oil, Lavender oil, Almond oil and Castor oil.
3. Aloe Vera
You can apply the Aloe Vera cream or gel to your scalp as a remedy that can help in getting rid of ringworms infection. Aloe Vera has antifungal properties that can kill fungus on your scalp.
How to use:
- Wash the affected area with warm water and pat dry it with a towel
- Apply the Aloe Vera directly to the ringworm patches
- Allow it to stay on your skin for the whole day
- Repeat this step three times in a day for few weeks until the patches of ringworm on your scalp go away
4. Lemon juice
Lemon juice has antifungal properties that can help in to remove ringworm infection on your scalp. Lemon juice can also help to soften dry and scaly patches of ringworm on the scalp.
How to use:
- Get ¼ cup of lemon juice
- Soak the cotton ball into the juice for few seconds
- Apply it to the affected area of your scalp with ringworms
- Allow it to stay on your skin for about 30 minutes before rinsing it off with water
- Repeat the treatment three times in a day for few weeks until the ringworm on your scap clear away
5. Raw honey
Raw honey has medicinal value that includes antifungal properties which can help to clear way ringworm on scalp. It also can help to moisturize and soothe dry itchy patches hence this can help to facilitate the healing of your scalp.
How to use:
- Get 2 teaspoons of raw honey
- Apply it directly to the affected area of your scalp with ringworms
- Leave it to stay on your skin for about 30 minutes before you rinse it off
- Repeat to apply it three times in a day for few weeks until the ringworm patches on your scalp go away
How to Prevent Ringworm on Scalp
Tips to prevent the infection of ringworms include the following:
- Avoid the habit of sharing washcloth, towels, cloth, hat or any other personal items
- Maintain good hygiene of your skin by washing your body regularly with appropriate antiseptic soap
- Stay away from pets or domestic animals that are infected by ringworm
- Avoid direct skin contact with people who are infected by ringworms
- Inform yourself, others, and your children on how to prevent the spread of ringworm infection
- Eat a balanced diet with a lot of vitamins and mineral to build a strong immune system
When to See a Doctor
You can see your doctor over ringworm on scalp if you noticed the following complications:
- If the ringworms on your scalp lead to a kerion that is associated with spongy lesion of scalp
- If you experience severe pain or burning sensation on your scalp that you cannot withstand
- When sores or blister develop on your scalp that oozes out pus and form yellow crust
- When you start losing hair on your scalp or you notice symptoms of abnormal baldness
- If your baby, toddler or child develop chronic large patches of ringworm on scalp that refuse to heal