Hair Loss Caused by Infection
It is well known that hair loss can be caused by heredity and age. One lesser known fact is that hair loss can be the result of conditions related to infections on the scalp. There are various infections that can lead to hair loss.
Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles. The infection resembles acne pustules surrounded by rings of inflammation. As the condition progresses, the hair begins to fall out. In the infection’s most severe stage, excessive inflammation can destroy the hair’s follicles permanently. The destruction of the hair’s follicles results in small bald patches in the infected area.
Folliculitis is typically caused by a bacterial infection, although there are non-infectious forms of folliculitis as well. The most common type of folliculitis not caused by infection is clogged hair follicles that lead to the condition. This condition generally occurs when oils or other heavy products are applied to the scalp or skin.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that can cause hair loss when it develops on the scalp. The infection resembles a small pimple-like blemish that gradually increases in size over time. Areas of the scalp that are infected typically become red, itchy and inflamed. Blisters may also form on the infected areas and begin to ooze puss in some cases.
Fungus from the infection migrates to the hair fibers in the infected area, causing them to become brittle. As the brittle hair follicles begin to break off, bald patches are left behind. If the infection causes a severe level of inflammation, hair loss can be permanent.
Piedra is also caused by a type of fungus. This infection comes in two forms, white piedra, and black piedra. Each form of the condition is classified by the color of the nodules that form on the hair shaft. Black piedra predominantly originates in tropical countries, while white piedra predominantly originates in the Southern United States and Europe. Severe forms of the infection can cause the hair fibers to weaken, resulting in hair loss.
Seborrheic dermatitis, better known as dandruff, is caused by an explosive growth of yeast on the skin. While the condition does not cause hair loss directly, the inflammation caused by the infection can contribute to hair loss. The infection creates scaly, rough patches on the skin of the scalp and face. These patches of skin often become dry and itchy. Scratching these areas excessively over time can lead to injury of the hair’s follicles in the affected areas.