Acne doesn't cause hair loss. Even when it develops along the scalp, active lesions aren't likely to damage the hair follicles enough to lead to localized baldness. But a condition known as folliculitis, which is often confused with acne, can eventually destroy the affected hair follicles and lead to a permanent loss of hair in severe cases.
Folliculitis often manifests as red, pimple-like lesions around infected hair follicles. They typically develop in clusters and can fill with pus, causing pain, tenderness and itchiness along the affected area of your scalp. Most cases of folliculitis are linked to staph, or the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, but you may also develop this condition from other bacterial, viral or fungal pathogens.
Mild cases of folliculitis often respond favorably to self-care methods. Cleansing the affected area of the skin or scalp with an antibacterial shampoo or soap twice a day is often recommended. You may also benefit from the daily use of topical hydrocortisone as well as a warm compress. Hydrocortisone helps to lessen inflammation, while the compress can encourage the drainage of pus.
If the pimple-like lesions don't respond to self-care methods within a week, talk to a doctor or dermatologist. Medical professionals can usually diagnosis the skin condition and its cause by sight. The cause of folliculitis dictates the form of treatment used to clear the infection.
When folliculitis is linked to staph, a topical or oral antibiotic can improve the infection. Other pathogens require antifungal or antibacterial medications. Like antibiotics, these medications are administered topically or orally, depending on the severity and location of the infection.
To prevent folliculitis of the scalp, shampoo your hair regularly. No special shampoos are needed, so use your normal cleanser to help stop this common skin condition. Also, avoid sharing towels as well as using whirlpools or hot tubs, especially when you're prone to recurrent breakouts.