Ringworm is a type of fungal infection which affects the skin, hair and scalp. It is very common in naturally curly or kinky African American hair as the fungus loves this kind of hair texture. Many African Americans have their hair permanently braided with cornrows which sometimes prevents frequent hair washing. This makes the environment conducive for fungal growth. In this article, we will take a look at some effective ringworm in African American hair/skin treatment options.
Symptoms and pictures of ringworm in African Americans
Following are the typical signs of ringworm in African American hair and skin:
- Patchy hair loss with overlying scaling; bald spots with little black dots are common.
- The dots of hair loss occur with broken stubs of hair at the roots or follicles.
- Kerion or ugly red tender and swollen pus pockets in the scalp may be present in extreme cases.
- On the skin, there may be circular red lesions with itchiness, scaling and hair loss in the central clearing. There may be sores with crusting or pustules.
The symptoms can arise at any age group but are more common in children. Here are some black dot ringworm pictures.
Image courtesy Mayo Foundation
Does hair grow back after ringworm of scalp?
Most people do not have to suffer serious complications from ringworm provided they seek treatment in the early stages. However, if the infection is very severe, one may suffer permanent hair loss. Hair re-growth is normal, but may take 6-12 months. If your child is embarrassed by bald patches, s/he can wear a cap or a hat to hide them.
What causes ringworm?
Dermatophytes or vegetable fungus is responsible for tinea or ringworm infections in African Americans. It also affects the feet(Athletes Foot) or even the groin area (Jock Itch). Ringworm of the scalp is more common in school going children. The fungus tends to spread from person to person. If you share objects like combs, brushes, towels, sheets etc, then chances are that it may spread to a healthy individual. Even pet animals can spread ringworm in African American households.
Tips for getting a haircut with ringworm
You need not shave your head when suffering from ringworm. Many parents force their child to shave their head or have a short haircut and wear a skullcap to prevent the bald areas from being seen. This can be psychologically damaging to the child. If your child has an active infection, first seek treatment for getting rid of it. Once the infection is in control, you can take the child to a barber for a haircut. For people with braids and cornrows, it is important to wash the hair every 2-3 days.
We will now discuss some tips and preventive remedies for ringworm.
Conventional ringworm in African American hair treatment
Most black dot ringworm cases can be successfully treated using home remedies:
- Blue star ointment is an effective treatment for black dot ringworm and helps control itching, flaking etc.
- You can also use any OTC cream with clotrimazole or miconazole.
- Shampoo therapy is very essential to prevent kerions. Use selenium sulfide based shampoos to wash the hair every 2-3 days. You can also use medicated shampoos containing ketoconazole. Note that these shampoos will not stop the ringworm infection but they can certainly slow down its progress.
- Oral medicine (Griseofulvin) for 1-2 months may be necessary if the infection is severe. Continue using cream and shampoo side by side.
Homeopathic remedy for ringworm on scalp
Sepia is an effective remedy for ringworm characterized by circular, reddish brown and scaly patches. The affected skin burns and stings. Go for potencies like 30x, 15c, 30c or 200c. Generally 3 doses of 200c a day for 3 days are sufficient.
Natural black dot ringworm home remedies
1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is perfect for treating all kinds of fungal skin conditions. Apply the oil straight or diluted to all affected areas. Make sure you clean the skin or scalp first with soap and water, before using tea tree oil. Using a clean cotton swab, apply 3-5 drops of tea tree oil on the affected areas. If the oil irritates or stings, mix it with olive oil or warm water before use.
2. Apple cider vinegar
This is a powerful remedy for black dot ringworm. The malic and acetic acids in apple cider vinegar are powerful anti fungal agents. Apply a few drops to a Q-tip or cotton swab and apply on the scalp or skin. Use the remedy 2-3 times a day.
Salt water or saline rinses can also prevent the ringworm from worsening. Make solution of salt water and apply on the scalp. Leave on for 20 minutes before shampooing off.
4. Lemon or lime juice
Cut a lemon or lime and squeeze the juice in a small bowl. Mix the juice with some salt and using a clean cotton swab, apply the mixture to affected parts. This remedy might sting a bit. Avoid scrubbing the skin when using this remedy.
5. Castor oil
Apply castor oil liberally to the scalp and skin. Leave it on overnight and wash off the next morning. Castor oil prevents itchiness and heals the skin faster.
Disinfect all personal items
Along with above home remedies to get rid of ringworm in scalp, it is necessary that you discard used items or at least disinfect them with bleach. You can also wash all clothes and infected items in hot water. If you go to the barber for haircut, make sure your infection is not contagious. It is a good idea to inform them about it so that they can take precautions to prevent its spread.
If despite above remedies, the rash worsens or scaling and other problems recur, see a doctor immediately.