What Is Tinea Capitis? Symptoms, Causes And How To Treat

Tinea Capitis (ringworm of the scalp) is a fungal infection of the scalp and hair shafts. It is a highly contagious infection and most commonly seen in children between 3 and 7 years of age, slightly more common in boys than girls. The signs and symptoms may vary, but it usually appears as itchy, scaly, bald patches on the head.


Itchy :

The most common symptom is itchy patches on the scalp.

Black Dots On The Scalp :

One or more round to oval areas covered with gray sheets of scalp and is often accompanied by broken hair at or close to the scalp. These areas gradually grow.

Gray Scaly :

Areas of hair loss with dry, scaly patches on the scalp.

Kerion :

Patches may be red and inflamed, small pustules may appear because the immune system's exaggerated response.

What Is Tinea Capitis? Symptoms, Causes And How To Treat

Brittle Hair
Painful Scalp
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Low-grade Fever


In most cases, the Tinea Capitis is transferred by way of contact with animals (eg dogs, cats, cows, hamsters and guinea pigs). Most mammals have a skin fungus with which they live in peaceful coexistence, without any symptoms for the animal, but the fungus can be transferred to humans.

It may be passed among humans by direct contact with infected people or with contaminated objects such as combs, pillows, and sofas.


Scalp ringworm is treated with oral antifungal medicines at least 6-8 weeks. The topical anti-fungal treatments are ineffective as the fungus invades deep into the hair follicle where the topical medications do not adequately penetrate.

  • Griseofulvin - Standard Drug
  • Terbinafine - Approved by FDA for use in children 4 years and older
  • Itraconazole
  • Fluconazole
  • Ketoconazole

Often, the doctor will also prescribe a medicated shampoo to reduce the risk of spreading the scalp ringworm to someone else:

  • Selenium Sulfide Shampoo
  • Ketoconazole Shampoo