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Scalp Yeast Infection: Symptoms, Causes, and Remedies

3 mins

Andela Patrnogic

A yeast infection can develop on any part of your body not exposed to a free flow of air. This article will help you identify the condition and treat it with the right antifungal products.

Too much yeast growth on your skin or scalp may lead to an infection. Though the condition can occur at any age, children are more susceptible to it. 

There are various types of fungus that cause diseases of the skin and other organs, Candida being the most common. 

Most Candida infections are caused by a single species known as Candida Albicans. This article will help you learn more about the symptoms and causes of yeast on the scalp, discuss treatment options, and talk about natural remedies that can help you prevent the problem.

Table of Contents:

  • What causes scalp yeast infection?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of scalp yeast infection?
  • Treatment Options and Remedies for Scalp Yeast Infections
  • Are there any natural alternatives?

What causes scalp yeast infection?

The scalp has a natural balance of flora and certain types of bacteria, which work together to prevent an overabundance of yeast on the skin. 

what causes scalp yeast infection, scalp yeast infection treatment

However, when this balance gets disrupted, it can result in a yeast infection. There are several factors that can lead to a yeast infection on the scalp, such as:

  • Certain medical conditions like diabetes mellitus, inflammation, hypothyroidism, psoriasis, and cancer. 
  • An unhealthy diet consisting of excessive sugar and starch.
  • Using personal grooming products containing harsh chemicals.
  • Living in a warm, humid climate where yeast can thrive.
  • Taking antibiotics, systemic corticosteroids, or birth control.
  • Minor cuts on your scalp, which may provide an entryway for the fungus to get below the surface.

What are the signs and symptoms of scalp yeast infection?

Multiple symptoms might point to a yeast infection on the scalp. You may experience:

  • Red or purple patches of various shapes that cause itching
  • Flaky, white scales and crusts that look like dandruff
  • Soft and moist areas on the scalp that are white in color

You may also find pustules forming on your skin underneath the hair follicles. However, if you notice random circular patches that are completely bald, visit your doctor immediately as you may have developed a severe infection called tinea capitis, also known as ringworm of the scalp.

If left untreated, scalp yeast infection could lead to an accumulation of dead skin and flakes. As tempted as you might be, avoid frequent scratching because it can cause damage to the hair follicles and lead to hair loss. 

Signs that the Candida infection has spread beyond the scalp include fatigue, digestive issues, genital irritation, white, painful lesions in the mouth, and sinus pain. In such cases, medical intervention becomes imperative.

Treatment Options and Remedies for Scalp Yeast Infections

Like a lot of diseases, you can easily prevent scalp yeast infections by practicing healthy scalp hygiene and keeping your immune system strong.

  • Make sure your hair is always clean and not left damp for too long.
  • Avoid wearing caps, hats, scarves, or hoods unless necessary, as they can trap moisture.
  • Consume a balanced, varied diet full of nutrients and combine it with frequent exercise, both of which can do wonders for your physical and mental health.

While scalp yeast infections are painful, the good news is that you can treat them with topical over-the-counter treatments that come in the form of ointments, shampoos, or foams.

In mild cases, you can make do with anti-dandruff shampoos that contain active ingredients such as selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, and coal tar. Experts also recommend the daily application of antifungal shampoos comprising 2% ketoconazole for long-term control of dandruff.

scalp inflamation

If the scalp inflammation gets out of hand, a doctor might prescribe corticosteroid shampoos such as fluocinolone and betamethasone valerate. However, these should be used only for a short time until the inflammation subsides, as frequent long-term use can lead to side effects. 

Certain antifungal drugs known as azoles are also helpful for treating Candida, with an 80 to 100 percent success rate. If the infection hasn't subsided after using over-the-counter antifungals, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication like nystatin or amphotericin B.

Are there any natural alternatives?

Yes, there are quite a few natural remedies to treat scalp yeast infection, including probiotics, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and emollients. 

Although they are fast gaining popularity, more research is needed to explore and establish their effectiveness. 

The good thing about using these ingredients is that they do not harm the skin or body and are free from potent, side-effects-causing chemicals.

  • Get the healthy, vibrant hair you've always dreamed of with WOW's Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo, infused with ethically sourced Himalayan raw apple cider vinegar to help rebuild your hair. Its gentle, nutrient-rich, and pH-balanced detox formula is devoid of harsh sulfates or toxic parabens. The shampoo will help you remove excess oil and buildup while restoring shine and vitality to your hair and getting rid of split ends, frizz, and unwanted tangles.

  • Essential oils have antimicrobial properties that may treat scalp yeast infections. The WOW Basil Essential Oil has a fragrance that instantly soothes and uplifts. Known for its healing effects on the skin and mind, this nourishing oil gently opens up your breathing passages and helps you feel more at peace.

basil essential oil, essential oils, wow, buywow

Scalp yeast infections are relatively common and easy to treat with various OTC antifungals and home remedies. 

In addition, there are a host of natural shampoos, foams, and oils, like the ones WOW Skin Science offers, that are explicitly designed to manage signs of the disease. However, many conditions show symptoms that resemble scalp yeast infections, which is why the only definite way to know is to visit a doctor for a skin lesion KOH exam. 

Early diagnosis and treatment can help get Candida under control and prevent it from spreading to other parts of your body.


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