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  5. Scalp Folliculitis: Causes, Symptoms & Ayurvedic Remedies

Do you have a painful red rash across your scalp with intolerable itchy pustules? If yes, there are high chances that you are experiencing a condition called scalp folliculitis.

‘’The inflammation on the scalp is the most common sign of folliculitis, and it often occurs on the frontal hairline’’, says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

In this article, we help you understand the causes, symptoms, and types of scalp folliculitis along with some of the most effective Ayurvedic remedies to control it. Read on to learn more.

What Is Folliculitis?

Folliculitis is the condition which involves the damage and inflammation of your hair follicles, which are small openings in the skin that hold your hair roots. While it can occur anywhere on your body, folliculitis develops most commonly in the scalp region, where the density of hair follicles is higher than any other area.

What Are The Symptoms Of Scalp Folliculitis?

1. Initially, rash with small bumps

2. Red, yellow or white scars on the scalp

3. Tenderness or pain

4. Itching

5. Swelling with burning sensation (inflammation)

6. Pus formation

What Does Scalp Folliculitis Look Like?

In general, scalp folliculitis looks like clusters of boils that may have white tips. If left untreated, you may notice crusty blisters formed due to bumps breaking open and oozing out the pus.

pus pimples on head scalp

People often mistake scalp folliculitis for scalp acne vulgaris [1]. This may often worsen the condition due to improper treatments. It is always best to get your scalp condition diagnosed by a physician or Ayurvedic consultant before administering any treatments.

What Causes Folliculitis On The Scalp?

As per Ayurveda, your health depends on the harmony of your body's three vital energies: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas. Imbalance in your doshas can cause many complications in your body, including your scalp.

According to Ayurveda, scalp folliculitis is Pittaja Rakta Dushti, which means a condition that occurs due to Pitta dosha aggravation in your body. Factors such as your innate Prakriti (genetics and body nature), your diet, age, seasonal and environmental conditions you live in, your habits, and other lifestyle parameters may trigger the rise in Pitta dosha in your body.

To pacify the damage of increased Pitta on your scalp, the sebaceous glands secrete sebum (scalp oil) in excess amounts in your follicles, especially during dry and hot weather conditions. This, in turn, aggravates Kapha dosha while attracting various bacteria and fungi that feed on the sebum, leading to microbial infestations in your hair follicles. Eventually, it results in scalp folliculitis with damaged and inflamed hair follicles.

"Staphylococci is the most common type of bacteria that causes scalp folliculitis," says Dr. Zeel.

Below are some of the other factors that turn your hair follicles vulnerable to microbial growth and increase the risk of scalp folliculitis.

1. Repeated friction caused by wearing tight clothing like sports helmets, shaving, scratching or rubbing your scalp

2. Overexposure to heat and prolonged sweating on your scalp

3. Wounds on your scalp

4. Using hair products that may cause build-up on your scalp over time

5. Tight hairstyles

6. Some scalp conditions like dermatitis

Different Types Of Scalp Folliculitis

Below are the superficial or mild types of scalp folliculitis conditions:

Folliculitis Type


Bacterial folliculitis

Staphylococcus bacteria

Razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae)

Ingrown hair and it usually appears after shaving

Pityrosporum folliculitis

Yeast infection

Hot tub folliculitis (pseudomonas folliculitis)

Pseudomonas bacteria


Below are the deep or severe type of folliculitis conditions:

Folliculitis Type


Boils (furuncles) and carbuncles

Deep infection caused by staphylococcus bacteria

Gram-negative folliculitis

Application of some antibiotics to treat acne for longer period

Sycosis barbae

Different pyogenic (pus-forming) bacteria and it appears in beard region in men

Eosinophilic folliculitis

Lower immune levels, usually in HIV or cancer patients

How To Get Rid Of Scalp Folliculitis Through Ayurveda?

1. Herbal Treatments

A. Bhringraj

Bhringraj herb is popular in treating scalp folliculitis efficiently. It contains active antimicrobial agents that fight against infection and reduce inflammation while bringing balance to your dosha levels. Start massaging your scalp with bhringraj oil or using an Ayurvedic shampoo containing bhringraj to heal your scalp folliculitis rapidly.

B. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera contains certain enzymes that can treat your scalp irritation, swelling, redness, and itchiness effectively while bringing balance to your doshas. Apply aloe vera gel or juice on the affected area once a day for the best results.

C. Triphala Churna

Triphala churna [2] has multiple benefits like controlling hair fall, boosting hair growth, deep cleansing, and reducing scalp infections like folliculitis. You can mix triphala churna into a cup of sour buttermilk and use the paste as a hair mask. Also, you can use it as a dry shampoo to cleanse your hair regularly.

D. Neem

In Ayurveda, neem [3] has a predominant role in controlling Pitta dosha while treating scalp folliculitis due to its extensive antimicrobial and cooling properties. Apply freshly prepared neem paste to the affected areas on your scalp. You can also boil the neem leaves in water and use the decoction as a hair rinse.

E. Yashtimadhu + Kapardika

The formula of Yashtimadhu + Kapardika mix is most frequently used to treat scalp folliculitis in Ayurveda. You can apply the herbal paste to the infected area and leave it for about 15 minutes before washing it off with water.

2. Essential Oils

Below are some essential oils [4] with natural antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that can help control your scalp folliculitis. Dilute any of these essential oils in a carrier oil like coconut or sesame oil and apply over the infected areas on your scalp. You can repeat the process twice a day for quick healing.

1.Lavender oil

2. Ylang Ylang oil

3. Lemon oil

4. Eucalyptus oil

5. Clove oil

6. Tea tree oil

7. Cinnamon oil

8. Chamomile oil

 essential oil bottles

3. Home Remedies

A. Oatmeal has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and applying it to the affected region on your scalp can relieve you from pain and inflammation.

B. Apple cider vinegar is very useful in soothing your hair follicles as it has natural properties to heal rashes on your scalp. Mix one part of apple cider vinegar with two parts of water and apply the solution directly on the scalp boils. Leave it for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with water.

C. Coconut oil is beneficial in controlling Pitta dosha and scalp irritation by its natural cooling properties. A regular gentle scalp massage with coconut oil boosts your hair growth by providing deep nourishment. You can also apply the emulsion of coconut oil and water on the affected hair follicles for the best results.

D. Covering your scalp using a warm damp cotton towel or cloth can soothe your scalp and drain the pus. You can do this once a day when you are experiencing scalp folliculitis.

4. Ayurvedic Diet

A proper balanced Ayurvedic diet with essential nutrients based on your dosha levels is crucial to maintain your body's dosha equilibrium. Try to include a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet. Also, consume garlic cloves (contains sulfur) regularly in your diet as it is beneficial in reducing inflammation.

Apart from a healthy diet, keep yourself well hydrated by consuming at least 2-3 liters of water in a day. You can also include fluids in the form of tomato soup, mixed vegetable soup, or spinach soup in your diet to strengthen your hair follicles.

Try to avoid Pitta aggravating foods like green pepper, black pepper, paneer, fried food, junk, and food with excess salt and sourness. Also, refrain from consuming stale food and overeating.

5. Oral Ayurvedic Medications

  • Sutshekhar rasa
  • Avipattikar churna
  • Phalatrikadi + Rakta pachak vati
  • Gandharva haritaki
  • Yashti + Shankha + Pravala

Based on the severity of your scalp folliculitis and your dosha imbalances, the Ayurvedic practitioner will recommend the appropriate dosage and usage of oral medications.

Other Medications To Treat Scalp Folliculitis

1. Mild shampoos with antifungal agents such as ciclopirox, ketoconazole, etc. are recommended to treat scalp folliculitis.

2. Antibiotic ointments like Neosporin or mupirocin are effective in controlling the infection.

3. Corticosteroids in topical (in mild cases) or oral form (in severe cases) can be used to reduce inflammation.

How Can You Prevent Scalp Folliculitis?

You may need to take necessary precautions as below to avoid the recurrence of scalp folliculitis after undergoing treatment.

1. Ensure you wash your hair post-workout

2. Avoid washing your hair with hot water. Instead, use lukewarm water.

3. Avoid tight-fitting clothing on your scalp.

4. Prefer using only clean hot tubs for bathing and chlorinated swimming pools

5. Avoid scratching your scalp boils.

6. Avoid frequent scalp shaving and tight hairstyles.

7. Keep your personal hygiene items such as combs, hats, scarves, hairbrushes, towels, or razors clean by washing them regularly. Never share them with anyone.

8. Avoid using heavy oils that can block your scalp pores.

Vedix Tip:

Opt for hair oils with Ayurvedic herbs that work on your dosha imbalances. Also, make sure your shampoo is mild and free from harmful chemicals like sulfates and parabens.

How Long Does Scalp Folliculitis Last?

Usually, mild folliculitis can last for 7-10 days. However, it may last longer and cause permanent scarring or hair loss in case of severe scalp infection. Hence, it needs to be treated in time to avoid the worsening of the condition.

Is Scalp Folliculitis Contagious?

Scalp folliculitis is not contagious. However, the infection can spread among your scalp follicles easily. Also, sharing towels, combs, hairbrushes, razors, etc. may lead to the spread of scalp folliculitis among people.

Does Scalp Folliculitis Cause Hair Loss?

Yes, the inflammation occurring in your scalp follicles during folliculitis can cause temporary or permanent hair loss [5] based on the severity of the condition.

Important Note:

Please consult your doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner before utilizing any of the treatments mentioned in this article to cure scalp folliculitis. Also, we highly recommend consulting your doctor immediately if you have a fever or notice the spread of the rash to other body parts.

The Last Word

Scalp folliculitis is quite painful and uncomfortable. Ayurveda presents you with a natural line of treatments with holistic herbs to cure the condition without side effects. At Vedix, we customize an Ayurvedic hair care regimen based on your hair and scalp conditions by evaluating your dosha imbalances.

Know Your Dosha Now

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