How do I Treat Scalp Fungus?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2018
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You can treat scalp fungus by using over-the-counter shampoos or prescription medications. Some prescribed medicines for scalp fungus are topical, while others are meant to be taken orally. You might also want to consider using cortisone cream on your scalp to help with any itching you might be experiencing. If you go to the doctor for your scalp fungus, she will likely attempt to determine the type of fungus you have before deciding what kind of treatment she should prescribe or recommend. Depending on the severity of the infection, prescription medication may not be necessary.

There are two different types of fungus on the scalp that are incredibly common. The first is Tinea capitis, also known as scalp ringworm. Even though the name suggests an actual parasite is present in the scalp, it is actually just a type of fungus. Pityrosporum ovale, or P. ovale, is another type of fungus that many people have on their scalps. Unlike Tinea capitis, it is normal to find small amounts of P. ovale living on your scalp. This type of fungus only causes a problem when there is an overgrowth of it, which can lead to excessive itching and flaking.


A doctor should be able to diagnose the particular type of scalp fungus you have by using a Wood's lamp. This is a device that uses filtered UV rays to make the areas of fungus on the scalp glow a bright blue color so they can be easily spotted. Your doctor should then be able to take cultures and examine the areas of fungus under a microscope to properly diagnose you with a specific type of scalp fungal infection. After your doctor figures out what type of fungus you have, he can either prescribe or recommend medication to treat it.

If you have Tinea capitis, you will probably be prescribed an oral medication called griseofulvin, which can help to prevent the cells inside the fungus from dividing. Over time, this could prevent the fungus from spreading. You might also be advised to use an over-the-counter shampoo containing selenium sulfide, which is a common ingredient in most dandruff shampoos, to help with the flaking. If your doctor determines that you have P. ovale scalp fungus, she will probably withhold from prescribing any medication because this type of fungus is usually very easy to treat. In most cases, a medicated over-the-counter dandruff shampoo can effectively get rid of P. ovale fungus.


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Post 3

@indemnifyme - Even though you can cure some kinds of scalp fungus just by using over the counter shampoo, it's probably still a good idea to get scalp fungus symptoms diagnosed by a doctor. It sounds like there are several kinds of scalp fungi out there, and you have no way of knowing what kind you have without a visit to the doctors office.

Post 2

@KaBoom - I also use dandruff shampoo, and I didn't know it did anything but cure dry scalp either until recently. A friend of mine got scalp fungus, and her doctor gave her medication, but also recommended that she switch to a dandruff shampoo with selenium sulfide in it.

I think it's really interesting that over the counter shampoo can get rid of scalp fungus sometimes without taking any other medication. I know a lot of people that don't have health insurance, so this seems like a cheap solution to the problem of scalp fungus.

Post 1

I've been using dandruff shampoo for years, and I had no idea the ingredients that treat a dry and itchy scalp are also anti-fungal. That's really good to know. I guess people who already use dandruff shampoos don't have to worry about getting a scalp fungus.

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