What Causes Scalp Folliculitis?


If you're struggling to cope with a bumpy, painful and inflamed scalp, have you worked out what might be causing the problem?

Scalp folliculitis is a condition caused by blocked hair follicles; it can occur anywhere on the body where hair grows. When follicles are blocked, they're more vulnerable to bacterial and yeast infections, becoming swollen, inflamed and pus-filled, and making skin itchy and painful.

It’s important to work out what's causing follicles to get infected, as well as treating the outbreak.

Some people do seem to be more prone to scalp folliculitis than others, but risk factors include:

  • Damage to skin that makes it vulnerable to infection by the staph bacteria that lives on skin

  • Razor bumps/ingrown hairs caused by very close shaving, especially if you have curly hair or if you use blunt razors

  • Exposure to ‘hot tub’ bacteria, which can flourish in hot tubs, heated swimming pools and showers

  • Yeast infections on the back, neck, shoulders, arms and face

  • Sweaty clothing
  • Long-term medication for acne

  • A weakened immune system

  • Frequent touching, scratching or rubbing of the scalp

  • Wearing a hat or helmet every day

  • Wearing hair in tight styles, such as pony-tails or braids

  • Using synthetic and irritating hair products which can build up on the scalp

For information about what you can do if you’re prone to scalp folliculitis, see our article How To Get Rid Of Scalp Folliculitis

Recommended products:

Balmonds Scalp Oil: awarded the prestigious GOLD award for best haircare treat by Green Parent Magazine, our 100% natural Scalp Oil is just brilliant at cleansing and nourishing troubled skin. You can use it anywhere on the body but it's particularly helpful on the scalp. Contains purifying tea tree, stimulating rosemary and nutritious borage seed which is super-rich in EFAs to repair and regenerate damaged skin.

Balmonds Cooling Cream: a soothing moisturising lotion designed to cool down hot or flushed skin. It’s formulated with deliciously cool menthol, soothing aloe vera juice and calming lavender essential oil to reduce redness and heat, and can be a useful light moisturising lotion for shaved scalps, necks or chins affected by folliculitis.

Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash: a natural 2-in-1 hair and body wash formulated with herbal extracts for itchy, flaky scalps, or those with sensitive, eczema- or allergy-prone skin.

Free from SLS, petrochemicals, fragrance or parabens, this gentle cleanser is suitable for vegans and made with 100% biodegradable raw materials.

Balmonds Scalp Oil

scalp seborrheic dermatitis

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