Ringworm of the scalp, also known as tinea capitis, is a highly contagious fungal infection that affects the scalp and hair shafts.
Tinea capitis is caused by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes. The fungi attack the outer layer of skin on the scalp and the hair shafts.
This infection can spread from person to person, object to person and animal to person. It is most commonly seen in toddlers and school-age children. Also, people who have low immunity are quite vulnerable to it.
Common signs and symptoms of tinea capitis include one or more round patches of scaly skin on the scalp, patches that slowly expand or enlarge, reddened areas, patches that have small black dots where hair has broken off at the scalp, brittle hair and tender areas on the scalp.
If the infection is not controlled or treated in a timely manner, it can lead to kerion, which is a severe, painful inflammation of the scalp. Kerion appears as soft, raised swellings that drain pus. This can even cause permanent scars and hair loss.
While ringworm of the scalp can be difficult to prevent due to its highly contagious nature, you can use natural home remedies to help treat the infection.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for ringworm of the scalp.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an excellent natural remedy for ringworm of the scalp. It has antifungal properties that help fight the fungus responsible for the infection.
This essential oil also relieves itching and inflammation when it’s applied to the infected area.
- Mix 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil into 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Soak a cotton ball in it and then dab it on the affected area. Wash your hair after 30 minutes. Repeat once daily.
- Another option is to add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo and then wash your hair and scalp. Do it 3 or 4 times a week.
Note: Before applying tea tree oil, it is advisable to test a drop of this essential oil on a patch of skin to determine the sensitivity and see if it causes any adverse reaction.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a good remedy for tinea capitis. Its acidic nature helps kill the fungi causing the infection. Also, it stops the infection from spreading rapidly.
Plus, it is effective in reducing inflammation and itching.
- For external use, fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and water. Spray the solution liberally on the affected area of your scalp. Allow it to air-dry. Repeat twice daily.
- For internal use, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of lukewarm water. Drink it 1 or 2 times a day to help heal the infection from within.
Garlic is another popular remedy for treating ringworm of the scalp. Its antifungal components, such as ajoene and allicin, help fight the infection-causing fungus.
Along with stopping the fungi from spreading, garlic provides quick relief from itching and inflammation.
- Put 4 or 5 fresh garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a blender. Blend it until you have a smooth paste. Apply the paste on your scalp. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes, then rinse it off thoroughly to get rid of the garlic smell. Repeat twice daily.
- Also, use fresh garlic when cooking. You can take a garlic supplement daily to speed up healing but consult your doctor first.
4. Oregano Oil
Another effective remedy for treating ringworm of the scalp is oregano essential oil. It is a powerful antifungal agent, due to the compound carvacrol in it that helps treat any kind of fungal scalp or skin condition.
Further, its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties aid in faster recovery.
- For external use, mix 4 or 5 drops of oregano essential oil into 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil. Apply it on the affected area. Wait a couple of hours, then wash it off with lukewarm water and pat dry the area thoroughly. Do it 2 or 3 times a day.
- For internal use, mix 2 or 3 drops of oregano oil in a glass of water. Drink it twice daily for about 1 week.
Caution: Ingestion of oregano oil is not recommended for pregnant women.
Another easy and highly effective scalp ringworm remedy is turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties that help relieve the symptoms as well as fight the root cause of the problem.
Regular intake of turmeric is also good for your immunity.
- For external use, mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric with enough coconut or olive oil to form a paste. Apply it on the affected area. After 1 to 2 hours, rinse off the turmeric paste and reapply. Do this until the infection is gone.
- For internal use, add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk and drink it twice daily.
- You can opt to take a turmeric supplement, but only after consulting your doctor first.
Note: Take necessary precautions, as turmeric can stain your clothes.
6. Coconut Oil
While it’s a well-known fact that coconut oil is extremely beneficial for your hair, it is also good for treating scalp ringworm.
Coconut oil is a great antifungal agent that helps kill the harmful fungi and reduce scalp irritation, including itchiness.
- Massage extra-virgin coconut oil on the affected areas of the scalp and let it rest overnight. Wash it off with an antifungal shampoo the next morning. Do it daily.
- Alternatively, prepare a mixture with equal amounts of castor oil and coconut oil. Massage the oil into your scalp once daily. This will also help promote regrowth of hair.
- Also, take extra-virgin coconut oil internally. Start with 1 teaspoon and gradually increase the dosage up to 3 tablespoons daily.
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is another natural remedy for any kind of fungal infection, including scalp ringworm. It helps fight the cause of the infection and soothes symptoms of itchiness, inflammation, and discomfort.
It also helps maintain the pH balance of the scalp.
- Cut open a leaf from an aloe vera plant. Scoop out the gel and apply it directly to the irritated areas of the scalp. Wash it off with warm water after 30 minutes. Repeat twice a day.
- Alternatively, thoroughly mix ½ cup of aloe vera gel and the juice of half a lemon. Apply it on the affected area. Wait 30 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Do this once daily for 1 week.
8. Indian Lilac
Indian lilac, also known as neem, is another good remedy for scalp ringworm. It has powerful antifungal properties that help eliminate the fungus that causes this infection.
Also, its antiseptic properties aid the healing process and relieve symptoms like extreme itching, pain, and inflammation.
You can use any of the following remedies:
- Grind a handful of neem leaves into a paste. Apply it to the affected area of your scalp. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Do this twice daily.
- Boil a handful of neem leaves in water until the quantity of water reduces to one-third. Strain it and allow the water to cool down. Use this water to wash your scalp once daily.
- Mix a few drops of neem oil into 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply it on the affected area, leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse it off with water. Do this twice a day.
9. Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is effective in treating ringworm of the scalp, as it has very broad-spectrum antibiotic and antifungal properties.
Plus, it’s nontoxic and it starts working almost immediately.
- For external use, pour colloidal silver into a spray bottle and spray it on the affected areas. Allow it to air-dry. Do it 2 or 3 times daily.
- For internal use, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of colloidal silver to a glass of filtered water and drink it twice daily, preferably on an empty stomach. This will help destroy the harmful fungi within the body. Use this remedy for 1 month.
Listerine, the popular mouthwash, is also a great scalp ringworm remedy.
The alcohol content in Listerine helps kill the fungus that causes this infection. Plus, its antiseptic property helps relieve soreness and inflammation.
- Pour a small amount of Listerine in a bowl.
- Soak a cotton ball in it and apply it on the affected areas.
- Leave it on your scalp for 2 to 3 hours before rinsing it off with plain water.
- Repeat twice daily for a few weeks for complete relief.
- Given the highly contagious nature of ringworm, act promptly upon noticing even slight symptoms.
- When dealing with ringworm of the scalp, be sure to maintain good personal hygiene. Wash your hair regularly and keep your scalp as clean as possible.
- Stay away from infected pets, especially if they have bald patches of skin.
- To prevent the infection from spreading, wash towels, bedding and clothing that touches the hair in hot water on a regular basis. Avoid sharing personal items like clothing, towels, hairbrushes or other items with others.
- Do not shave your head. It will not help get rid of the fungus present on your scalp.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after touching your head, especially any infected areas.
- Avoid covering your head with a hat or scarf while healing from a tinea capitis infection.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet with an adequate amount of nutritious food to build your immunity. This will help your body fight the infection. It will also reduce the risk of contracting it if you’re around someone who has it.
- Eating more probiotic foods will also help fight the fungal infection from the inside out.
- Reduce sugar and processed foods in your diet, as fungi tend to thrive on sugar and simple carbohydrates.
- Resist the urge to scratch your scalp persistently, as it increases the risk of spreading the infection.