Understanding the Causes of Tinea Capitis and How it Can Be Successfully Treated

May 23, 2014 — by Robert True
Tags: Hair Loss Hair Transplants

Man with a Receding HairlineTrue & Dorin Medical Group is a hair loss clinic, which specializes in complete care of the hair and scalp. While a large focus of our practice is the treatment of hair loss, we are able to help our patients with the general care of the hair and scalp when problems develop. Tinea capitis is one such condition of the scalp that can result in uncomfortable side effects, and even permanent hair loss, if not treated properly. We offer our New York patients tinea capitis treatment so that the health of the scalp can be restored and any hair loss that has occurred can be addressed.

What Is Tinea Capitis?

Tinea capitis is a fungal infection that affects the skin of the scalp. Also known as ringworm of the scalp, this infection affects both the skin of the scalp and the hair shafts. This is a highly contagious infection that may result in any of the following symptoms:

  • Dry, itchy patches of skin
  • Circular marks on the skin
  • Brittle hair or patches of hair loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Low-grade fever

Causes

Tinea capitis is caused by fungi. These fungi thrive on dead tissues, such as the hair and outer layer of the skin. The fungi are more likely to be present in warm, moist areas, so hair that is continually wet or sweaty is more vulnerable. Tinea capitis is extremely contagious and is usually caused by direct contact with a person or animal who is suffering from the condition. Sharing combs, towels, bedding, or clothing with an individual with tinea capitis can put one at risk for developing this infection. While this condition is most common in children, it can affect patients of any age. Patients prone to developing this infection include the following:

  • Those with a scrape or open sore on the scalp
  • Those who do not wash the hair often
  • Those whose scalp remains moist for an extended period of time

Treatment

Tinea capitis is an uncomfortable condition and one that can lead to patches of permanent hair loss, so it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible. While treatment can be lengthy and typically takes at least a month for results to begin to show, this condition can be effectively treated if the treatment plan is followed precisely. Often, treatment will involve both the use of a medicated shampoo and an oral medication. The shampoo, which contains high levels of selenium sulfide, is not enough to kill the ringworm, but it can help slow down its progression and stop the spread of infection. For successful treatment, this shampoo must be combined with the prescribed oral medication, which is typically taken for about six weeks.

Once tinea capitis has been treated, it is possible that scarring and/or bald patches will be present. If this problem is significant, our doctors can offer hair transplantation to fill in bald patches with healthy hair follicles from other areas of the scalp. Our doctors can discuss this treatment with those patients who are good candidates.

Schedule an Appointment

At True & Dorin Medical Group, we can treat conditions such as tinea capitis as well as address any residual side effects of infection, such as hair loss. Our goal is to restore the health of the scalp while helping patients obtain a hairline that appears healthy and full. To learn more about our treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. True or Dr. Dorin at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!