White Bumps on the Scalp
You have the highest concentration of hair follicles on your head. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, over 100,000 scalp hairs actively grow from these hair follicles. When the follicles become infected by bacteria, you may develop a condition known as folliculitis, which usually results in small, white bumps on your scalp.
Folliculitis is characterized by clusters of small red or white bumps that may be filled with pus and can resemble pimples, according to MayoClinic.com. You may also develop red or inflamed skin and experience itchiness, tenderness or swollen, painful areas on your scalp. Superficial folliculitis starts in the upper part of your hair follicles and results in less severe symptoms. A more severe yet less common condition occurs when the infection starts deeper in the hair follicle, known as deep folliculitis. Unlike superficial folliculitis, deep folliculitis often causes large, swollen bumps and potential scarring on your scalp.
Folliculitis most frequently occurs due to friction from tight clothing or headbands, caps or hats, shaving, excessive perspiration, skin injuries or as a result of other skin conditions such as dermatitis and acne, according to MayoClinic.com. These factors can cause damage to your hair follicles, making them more susceptible to a bacterial infection. The Staphylococcus aureus bacteria is the most common cause of folliculitis.
Folliculitis usually responds well to over-the-counter topical antibacterial creams and ointments, according to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. If your condition is severe or you experience complications such as boils or a more severe bacterial infection such as cellulitis, you may require a stronger, prescription-strength cream, anti-itch treatment or an oral antibiotic, according to Acner.org.
Folliculitis is contagious, so you should avoid sharing razors, towels, hair brushes or combs with anyone else who may have the condition, according to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Shampooing your hair frequently may also help to prevent or clear up mild cases of scalp folliculitis. Additionally, if you are prone to outbreaks of folliculitis, you should avoid hot tubs and whirlpools, as they are breeding grounds for bacteria.
Scalp folliculitis can cause permanent hair loss if left untreated, according to MayoClinic.com. Additionally, other conditions can mimic the symptoms of scalp folliculitis, such as scalp acne. Always consult your doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis and to discuss the appropriate course of treatment.
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