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Can You Get Staph Infection on Scalp?

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Scalp infections can be more common than you thought. Your scalp is exposed to grime, dirt, pollution, and more. Openings like the hair follicles and / or minor cuts and scratches on the scalp can become places for bacteria and fungi to thrive in this environment. If bacteria or fungi infect the hair follicles, it may result in inflammation of the follicles causing red bumps that often appear along the hairline and on the scalp. This is known as scalp folliculitis. If caused by the Staphylococcus bacteria, it is also called staph infection.

Thankfully, scalp folliculitis is not a very worrisome condition. It can be cured and you don’t always have to visit a dermatologist unless your infection is severe. We will be looking at some easy home remedies for staph infection of the scalp in this article. But before that, let’s understand what causes staph infection and what the symptoms are.

Table of contents

  • What are the causes of staph folliculitis?
  • What are the symptoms of scalp folliculitis?
  • How can you get scalp folliculitis?
  • Is staph infection on the scalp contagious?
  • How do you get rid of scalp folliculitis?
  • Warm compress
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Antibacterial soap/ shampoo
  • Clarifying shampoo
  • Topical antibiotic ointments
  • Can hair oils help in treating scalp folliculitis?
  • Castor oil
  • Essential oils

What are the causes of staph folliculitis?

Staph folliculitis is an infection of your hair follicles caused by the Staphylococcus bacteria. These bacteria reside on our skin normally, quite harmlessly. But the problem starts if the bacteria enter the skin through a wound or openings, causing infection.

Scalp staph infection starts at the hairline, but it can spread to the center or the back of the head if left untreated.

What are the symptoms of scalp folliculitis?

Scalp folliculitis may look like a cluster of red, inflamed bumps. They may sometimes appear as white-headed pimples too. If the infection worsens, the red bumps may turn into pus-filled, crusty sores that can be itchy or painful. In rare cases, a stinging or burning sensation may cause discomfort.

How can you get scalp folliculitis?

This bacterial infection may occur from:

  • Shaving;
  • Plucking or tugging of hair;
  • Frequent touching or scratching of the scalp with unclean hands;
  • Excessive sweating because of tight headgear or hats;
  • Leaving the scalp damp and warm for too long;
  • Excessive build-up of products on the scalp;
  • Not washing the scalp often.

Is staph infection on the scalp contagious?

Staph infection on the scalp is not highly contagious. But if someone comes in direct contact with the infected area, the infection may transfer as the bacteria can move on to their skin. This would usually happen if someone shares the same personal care items like razors, combs, or bandages, with the person suffering from folliculitis.

scalp issues


How do you get rid of scalp folliculitis?

If your scalp folliculitis is still in the initial stages and is not causing too much discomfort, you can use some simple home remedies to get relief. For severe infections, though, it is best to consult a dermatologist first.

Here are some treatments you can try at home.

Warm compress

Applying a warm compress to the affected area is found to be very helpful in most forms of folliculitis. Dip a towel or cloth in warm water, squeeze it out and lightly press the warm cloth onto your scalp. Do this two to three times a day. It will help relieve any discomfort you may have and drain out any fluids from the blisters, allowing them to dry faster.

Adding a little salt to the water can make a good disinfectant solution. But if saltwater irritates the sore skin, you can skip this and use just plain warm water instead.

Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera gel is known to have innumerable benefits for the skin. From cosmetic benefits to treating skin conditions, aloe vera is widely used the world over. Because of its antibacterial effects, aloe vera gel can help cure your scalp folliculitis faster as well.

aloe vera gel


Get pure aloe vera gel, preferably from the leaf itself, and apply it gently on the affected areas of your scalp after a hair wash. Aloe vera gel is good for hair growth too.

Antibacterial soap / shampoo

Antibacterial soap or shampoo can help disinfect your scalp and reduce folliculitis faster. Though we recommend against using soap in your hair as it dries hair out and damages its texture, if you can’t find an antibacterial shampoo, you can use soap once in a while.

Make sure that you rinse out the soap well and dry your scalp with a clean towel. Avoid blow-drying as it will further dehydrate your hair. Just soak the water with a towel and let your hair air dry naturally.

Clarifying shampoo

Scalp folliculitis also results from clogging of the follicles with dirt or product build-up. A good clarifying shampoo can help you get rid of all these irritants from your scalp. When washing your hair with a purifying/ clarifying shampoo, massage the scalp gently for a while and then wash it off with plain, cold water.

You can try the WOW Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo which has purifying and fortifying properties. It has activated charcoal which removes all dirt, oil, and impurities from your scalp. The keratin makes your strands stronger and nourishes them.

WOW Activated Charcoal & Keratin Shampoo, Charcoal Shampoo, Clarifying Shampoo


You may also like the
WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo made with raw Himalayan apple cider vinegar. It is also a clarifying and detox formula that gently removes excess oil & build-up from your scalp while making your hair shiny and strong.

Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo, ACV Shampoo

Topical antibiotic ointments

You can treat scalp folliculitis with over-the-counter topical antibiotic ointments. These are usually safe to use on the skin. But we would still recommend consulting your dermatologist before using any kind of medication, as these may have different effects on different types of skin.

Can hair oils help in treating scalp folliculitis?

Yes, hair oils can help treat your scalp folliculitis. But you must make sure that you only use natural, cold-pressed hair oils with no synthetic perfumes or coloring. Develop a hair and scalp care routine of oiling your hair and massaging your scalp with a nourishing oil every alternate night. Wash off the oil the next morning. You should see a considerable difference in the quality of your hair as well as a significant reduction in scalp problems.

Here are a few products you should try:

Castor oil

Castor oil has many benefits for your hair and skin. It promotes hair growth and has antimicrobial properties which help in several skin conditions.

Try the 100% pure Castor Oil from WOW Skin Science. This cold-pressed oil offers natural nourishment to your hair, scalp, skin, eyelashes, lips, and more. It can also be mixed with other essential oils for additional benefits.

WOW Castor Oil


Essential oils

Many essential oils have antibacterial and antifungal properties that can be useful in treating skin conditions. The essential oil you use should be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut or castor oil and applied to the affected area. Avoid using essential oils directly on your scalp as they are highly concentrated and may irritate the skin.

For scalp folliculitis, you can try the WOW Tea Tree Essential Oil. Tea tree oil is known to have powerful healing properties.

Check out our range of 100% pure and natural skincare products for more solutions to your skin woes.

Rahul Bhatia

Rahul is the published author of "Heads Or Tails" and Quora writer with over 1.6 million views. He is a keen observer who enjoys the simple joys of life. He strongly believes true beauty is not how beautiful your face is but how beautiful your heart is.

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