Ringworm of the Scalp (Tinea Capitis)

What is ringworm of the scalp?

Ringworm of the head also referred to as tinea capitis, is a very common condition in children generally occurring between the ages of 3 and 7 years. Tinea capitis is an infection caused by fungus. Millions of people are carriers of the fungus that causes tinea capitis but do not show symptoms. Infection is usually transferred from human to human or from animal (pets) to human. This transfer can occur anywhere but for children, it often occurs at daycare and at school. This infection does not pose a significant health risk to the child, but hair loss can occur and treatment can improve the child’s self-esteem, especially if the infection and resulting hair loss are extensive.


The appearance of tinea capitis may vary and depends upon the amount of inflammation involved. There may be one or several scaly (flaky) circular patches. Alternatively, the scales may be widespread, similar to dandruff. Some infected areas may have broken hairs giving the appearance of small black dots. In some cases, crusted yellow patches accumulate around a hair shaft. This patch can thicken producing a cheese or mouse-like odor. Tinea capitis can also cause localized boggy swelling and pus-filled bump formation which can be accompanied by enlarged neck lymph nodes and fever. The pus-filled bumps can also spread throughout the scalp.

How it’s diagnosed

Diagnosis of tinea capitis may require a scraping of the scales from the scalp or removing infected hairs as a sample to send to the lab to determine the presence of fungi. Your doctor may use a special light, wood lamp, to illuminate your scalp and determine signs of infection.


Without treatment, tinea capitis can spread to other body locations or lead to permanent hair loss. Your doctor will probably prescribe fungi-killing oral medication and medicated shampoo. The medicated shampoo helps prevent the fungus from spreading, but it does not kill the ringworm. You must combine this type of treatment with oral medication. For children, there is only one approved drug for treatment in the United States, griseofulvin by mouth. This medication works best when taken with fatty foods such as peanut butter or ice cream. Typically, the child has to take the medication for 6 to 8 weeks. The medication has possible side effects, including diarrhea and an upset stomach. Another possible side effect is sun sensitivity which may cause skin rashes or burns during long exposure to sunlight.

Preventing reinfection

Re-infection can be avoided by throwing away all combs, brushes, hair ornaments, hats,s and helmets once treatment has been started. Children should be taught never to share combs, brushes, hats, etc.

The psychological impact on children from this disease can be extensive due to the scaling and hair loss. Rejection from family members and mockery by classmates can be devastating. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment should be sought as it can be a great comfort to these children.

1. Chen BK, Friedlander SF. Tinea capitis update: a continuing conflict with an old adversary. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2001 Aug;13(4):331-5.
2. Mohrenschlager M, Seidl HP, Ring J, Abeck D. Pediatric tinea capitis: recognition and management. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2005;6(4):203-13.

Haircuts make rich-complexioned men look gorgeous and well-groomed. Haircuts come in a variety of styles, and the hair on the beards, chin, and jawlines can be styled attractively.

Although a cut could make one look appealing-especially with the plethora of styles available to choose from–it could be discouraging.

Some men are afraid to shave their hair for many reasons; pseudofolliculitis is one of the most common ones.

Pseudofolliculitis often happens to many rich-complexioned men. It is caused by the emergence of hair from a curved follicle which eventually grows inwards. It causes inflammation, pains, irritation, and bumps to the skin.

Some men find pseudofolliculitis difficult to bear and just decide to leave their beards and hair growing, just clipping it at intervals. Women don’t have this luxury, however.

So, when trying to cut hair, the following precautions can help:

• sterilize before shaving and after shaving.

• make use of a clipper instead of a razor blade.

• apply an antiseptic ointment to prevent wrinkles.

Pseudofolliculitis can’t be cured. But there are many methods of removing the hair to avoid skin impediments that could be caused by shaving. The following are the hair removal methods recommended by the professionals.

Electrolysis method:  It involves the use of an electric current to eradicate bristles.

Laser hair removal: It refers to the process of heating the bristles with light to eradicate the growing of hair on the surface. Although in this method, there’s the possibility of the hair to re-grow, and could cause dark areas on the surface of the skin.

Eflornithine HCI cream. 13.9%(Vaniqa): It is a cream that slows the growth of the hair on the skin surface. Although, it could cause irritation and bumps on the skin’s surface.

Treating Bumps from pseudofolliculitis

Bumps are visible aftermaths of pseudofolliculitis. While pseudofolliculitis can’t be treated, the effects (bumps and inflammation) can be cleared.

Some medications that might be prescribed are

  • Topical antibiotics: Erythromycin /Clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide combination
  • Retinoids: Clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide combination. Tretinoin (Retin-A) and Tazarotene (Tazorac).
  • Hydroquinoe: Combination Fluocinolone acetonide 0.01%/ Hydroquinone 4%/Tretinoin 0.05 creams (TriLuma)

Pseudofolliculitis could be difficult to deal with, and no one can straighten the curved hair follicles. However, you can leave your hair, trim it, or use an alternative method to remove hair. If you get bumps from pseudofolliculitis, ensure you consult your dermatologist for the best treatment for the bumps.