Although it’s not pleasant to dwell on, yeasts and fungus are everywhere, including on your skin. They feed on dead skin cells and thrive in warm or moist conditions, but become problematic when they start causing unpleasant symptoms such as itching, spots/bumps, inflammation or pain.
Infections can take hold more easily where there’s damage to the skin, which includes the faulty or fragile barrier function of eczema or psoriasis. This means that those with chronic skin conditions are more prone, not just to rashes and inflammation, but to skin infections.
Some infections are more serious than others, but all should be treated as quickly as possible.
- Ringworm: this common fungal infection is called tinea capitis when it affects the scalp. It appears as scaly, red, bald patches on the scalp.
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis: this kind of eczema on the scalp is very much associated with yeast infections, and manifests as dry, flaky skin and dandruff.
- Cradle cap: although it’s common and normal for babies to overproduce sebum from the scalp, which flakes off as cradle cap, it can sometimes become infected with yeast and get hot, red and bumpy.
Bacterial scalp infections like folliculitis and impetigo are also treatable with antimicrobials and, in severe cases, antibiotics.
Sometimes it’s hard to know whether an itchy, inflamed, flaky scalp is being caused by a skin condition or by a secondary infection, but good hygiene practice is essential to both, so it’s worth following in any case. If this daily regime doesn’t do the trick then see your pharmacist.
- Keep the hair and scalp clean
- Avoid irritants in your shampoo, conditioner or other hair care: stick to natural, SLS-free, unfragranced products
- Use antimicrobial tea tree to curb yeast growth
Recommended product: Balmonds Scalp Oil
This gorgeous blend of different oils - herb-infused oils of nettle, calendula and chickweed, antimicrobial and stimulating essential tea tree and rosemary oils, incredibly nourishing hemp and borage seed oils - gives hair and skin exactly what they need to stay clean, healthy and hydrated. You can use Scalp Oil as an intensive overnight conditioning treatment for the whole scalp or apply just to areas that need some extra care.
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.