11 Home Remedies for Scalp Ringworm

| Modified: Jun 27, 2020
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Scalp ringworm is the name of a health concern that leaves one cringing. The formal Latin name, Tinea Capitis, is a less disturbing name. But even with a more pleasant name, it is an issue that can be uncomfortable and cosmetically distressing. Natural remedies for scalp ringworm include black walnut tincture, tea tree essential oil and colloidal silver. These effective remedies are easy to use and inexpensive.

Tinea means “fungus” and capitis means, “head.” Those who suffer with scalp ringworm often struggle with other forms of skin fungus like athete’s foot (tinea pedis) or tinea corporus (ringworm on the body.)

Contrary to the name and common misconception, ringworm is NOT a parasitic infection. There is not any type of “worm” involved at all.

Symptoms of scalp ringworm include bald patches on the head, crusty or scaly areas on the scalp, and itching. Typically, patches of ringworm will be circular in nature, thus the name “ringworm.”

Scalp ringworm is contagious. It is possible to get a case of scalp ringworm from sharing headwear, combs, and helmets in arcades or on the ballfield. Sharing towels and pillows can also spread tinea infections.

Traditional remedies for fungal infections include over the counter creams and in severe cases, prescription topical treatments and internal medications.

Natural remedies are quite effective for healing scalp ringworm, especially when combined with strict hygiene practices.

1. Black Walnut

Black walnut tincture fights fungus. Simply apply the tincture to infection twice daily. Black walnut tincture can stain clothing and bedding, so be careful about where the tincture ends up.

2. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree essential oil is an antifungal oil. While it can be used “neat” (without diluting) by many, it is wise to dilute the oil some before applying to the skin. Using coconut oil as a carrier oil will give the added benefit of the antifungal properties in the coconut oil itself.

Mix together 1 teaspoon tea tree essential oil and 1 tablespoon raw coconut oil. Apply this oil to the affected areas of the scalp twice a day.

Tea tree essential oil has a notable antiseptic smell that some enjoy but many do not care for. Including lavender essential oil to the blend will cut the strong tea tree oil odor. Additionally, lavender has antifungal properties also. To include lavender in the preparation, mix ½ teaspoon tea tree essential oil, ½ teaspoon lavender essential oil and 1 tablespoon coconut oil together.  Keep in a small container and apply twice daily to the affected areas.

3. Colloidal Silver

To avoid the staining of black walnut and the odors of essential oils, consider using colloidal silver to fight scalp ringworm. This liquid will neither stain nor smell. As with the other remedies, apply colloidal silver to the patches of tinea at least twice a day.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is a powerful antifungal. To use apple cider vinegar on the head, dilute it with water. Keep a bottle with 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 1 cup water in the shower to rinse the head at the end of the shower. Not only will this fight the scalp infection, it will naturally detangle hair, reduce oiliness and increase hair shine!

5. Borax

The borax found in the laundry aisle of the grocery store is a natural antifungal. Dissolve ¼ cup borax in 1 cup water. Use a cotton ball to apply the borax solution to the ringworm patches twice daily.

6. Golden Paste

Turmeric is a powerful herb for many infections, including ringworm. Mix up a batch of golden paste and apply the paste to affected areas on the scalp twice daily. Turmeric’s downside it that it leaves a temporary stain on the skin. Should you use this remedy overnight and find the skin stained in the morning, use colorless iodine on a cotton ball to remove the stains. The iodine will help to fight the tinea infection as well.

7. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a very inexpensive ringworm treatment. It can be applied to the patches or ringworm twice daily. However, hydrogen peroxide will bleach hair, so this may not be an ideal remedy for most people.

8. Strict Hygiene

To keep from spreading the tinea infection to others, wash towels, bedding, and clothing that touches the hair in hot water, rinse them in vinegar and dry them in a clothes dryer on the highest setting.

This infection can be contracted from other people and from pets as well. Check your pets for signs of a ringworm infection and treat them with the same remedies, excluding the tea tree oil remedy. Essential oils are too strong for animals, especially cats.

Wash items that come in contact with the head, including hats, hoods and headbands in the manner described above.

Wash hands thoroughly after touching the head, especially any areas of tinea.

9. Use Natural Fibers

Avoid the use of hats, hoods and headbands made of synthetic materials. Wool, cotton, bamboo and linen are better choices. Use cotton or bamboo sheets and pillowcases as well. Synthetic fabrics are harder to keep clean and are more likely to cause sweating. Natural fabrics breathe better; circulating air will promote healing of the skin. In fact, avoiding anything covering the head while healing from a tinea infection is ideal.

10. Dietary Changes

Include some probiotic foods into the diet to help fight fungal infections from the inside out. Yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut all contain probiotics to help the body regain balance, which keeps fungus from multiplying.

Reduce sugar and processed foods in the diet. Fungus thrives on sugar and simple carbohydrates.

A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar added to a glass of water makes a simple alkalizing drink to promote healing from the inside out.

11. Supplements

If natural remedies are not working to heal your ringworm problem, it may be that your immune system needs a boost. Taking vitamin C, D, and zinc can support the immune system. Astragalus root is an herb that promotes immunity. Astragalus root can be purchased in capsules and taken daily.

Can I Use Bleach for Ringworm?

While in desperation some have successfully used bleach to treat ringworm, this remedy is not recommended. Bleach is very hard on the skin. When trying to heal a skin infection, applying harsh chemicals is counter productive and possibly dangerous.

Continue reading to see how our readers have treated their scalp ringworm.

Do you have a natural remedy for scalp ringworm? Please send us some feedback!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Zsuzsi (Ireland) on 07/19/2017
4 out of 5 stars

I have read most of the comments here about ringworm, as my five year old has had it for nearly a month now on his scalp.Been to the doctor, who told us the only way to treat this type of ringworm is only through oral medication, namely Griseofulvin. As we read through the leaflet, we became certain that we would try and avoid giving it to him, as the list of side effects are quite scary, and he s only small after all. However, we started using Nizoral shampoo every night on the first week, as recommended, and have cut down on it ever since, alternating between that and just baking soda with diluted ACV rinses.

After washing his hair he goes to bed with some neem oil mixed with tea tree and lavender on his bald spot.during the day, we apply undiluted organic ACV on his spot about 3 times a day. I was happy to see the funny build up disappearing from the spot(ok, I ve actually rubbed it off with neem oil and it hasn t come back) and even to see some healthy hairs growing.

Today I can see some mushiness appearing again in some places, although it overall seems healthier and flake free, and I am doubting whether we re doing the right thing here...as most of you folks seem to have experienced skin ringworm (which we once successfully treated within a couple of weeks solely with tea tree oil)i would really appreciate some personal feedback from others who have been able to successfully cure this type of ringworm without the use of liver damaging drugs, just to get some encouragement that we re on the right track...thank you!!

Posted by Nicole (Atlanta, Ga) on 12/15/2011
5 out of 5 stars

After a haircut we noticed that our son had a bald spot in the top of his head. The barber misdiagnosed it as dry skin but he told us to use a dandruff shampoo with selsun in it. The spot began to enlarge so I began research and took him to the physician who confirmed it was ringworm.

For 1 month he took griseofulvin twice a day (i dont like giving my children medication) with no improvement. During this time he also developed molluscum contagiosum. So we went to a dermatologist (I thought they may know more) I was determined to find a cure and I found this site. I told him what I had read and they advised against it and added another month of the same treatment.

Well I went home and tried it anyway feeling it could not hurt. ACV worked I am now a believer also. I would wash his hair every two days with the selsun and pour the ACV all over his head (yes it smelled). After the first application I could see improvement in the surface skin it has been two months now and his scalp looks great. We are returning to the dermatologist I need to be sure it is gone. Thank you for this site it is now a part of my favorites.

Black Tar Shampoo, Tea Tree Oil, Sulfur

Posted by Jessica Rabbit (Miami, Florida) on 09/16/2010
5 out of 5 stars

My nine year old daughter got ringworm in her scalp from summer camp. I tried everything acv, the prescript meds, polish, creams, bleach you name it. I got a natural cures book from a whole foods store and voila she is cured after two years of this nightmare! First you need black tar shampoo wash every night. Then 100% pure tea tree oil after you wash the hair use a q-tip with a little water on it rub into scalp gently. Last but not least organic sulfur sold in pellet form in blue tube about five tiny pellets per dose and it does'nt taste bad. Kind of like sugar water so my daughter actually did not mind it, gris-peg and others are gross tasting. I did this every day till the pellets ran out and amen she no longer has bald spots her hair is growing back! She can go to the hairdressers!!! No more itching!!!! She has been ring worm free for a year now...

PS change pillow case every night. Do not share combs or shampoo, brush during the process. Do not want to contaminate others. It's a lot to do but it is so worth it cuz ringworm in the scalp is hard to get rid of... Good luck!

Replied by Zsuzsi

Hello there,,, this is a very old post, but I m hopeful that you'll get notified,,, we ve been battling my son's scalp ringworm for the past 2 months nearly, I was wondering, are those sulfur pellets you re talking about homeopathic ones by any chance??they would taste like sugar(as opposed to sulfur per se)...another question, there is a yellowish build up on the ringworm, not quite like a normal scab(although hard, when it s dry and more mushy after oiling or washing it, but still), and something tells me it should be removed every now and then..?the skin is very sensitive underneath it but I can t imagine it being able to heal with that weird layer over it, what with the oils and iodine we re putting on it not eally being able to penetrate through it(i imagine)..any thoughts on that?

I'm really hoping you'll read this, it's hard to get hold of people who've been through the same....thanks in advance!!!

Replied by Robert Henry
Ten Mile , Tn

ZSUZSI,,,,,,,,, get a bottle of tincture of Walnut and apply it 3 times a day and your son will be healed. Here in East Tn we have bookoo Walnut trees and you just cut the green nuts until they bleed and apply that to the ring worm and the problem is solved. The Lord said he will provide and he does.... if you pay attention. Hulda Clarke used this to kill internal parasites and her formula is still used all over the world. Is that amazin or what?

My Tractor Driver says that it took Oregano and DMSO to kill the ring worm on her ankle. My bad. Try hers and then mine.


Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Zsuzsi,

Your son's severe case of ringworm sounds very much like one that herbalist John Christopher wrote about once. He treated it with black walnut tincture.

I hope he heals up very soon!
~Mama to Many~

Replied by Zsuzsi

Hi Robert, thanks so much, I will definitely try and get some walnut tincture..nature does provide,, I know...it's just hard to know which direction to go,, lots of trials and errors can really dishearten one..

Dear Mama,, thank you, it means a lot, I'm off to read this,,, looks like walnut oil is the way to go...please God.

Replied by Zsuzsi
5 out of 5 stars

Checking back to report on my son's (pretty bad) scalp ringworm completely cured with coal tar shampoo and homeopathic sulphur. Ditching griseofulvin (we didn't even open the bottle), we started using nizoral shampoo on week 1, then 2-3 times a week, then went on using Castile soap for a bit before ordering Artnaturals medicated coal tar shampoo(it s a mild one), which completely got rid of the flaking immediately, and after a while I didn't even use it every day.---so far about washing his hair.other than that, topically, even before the official diagnosis, we applied tea tree oil 2-3 times a day, which didn't do anything.then we started our with ACV, did it for a couple of weeks, didn't seem to help.(I made him drink it though, diluted with with water and some maple syrup---btw, we weren't able to completely eliminate sugar from his diet, but he cured regardless,, as a side note).so, quitting ACV, we moved onto neem oil, mixed with lavender, and cinnamon oils (the latter is supposedly super powerful against fungus), then tried iodine, too(the yellow one), but ditched those, too, because the kid was distressed enough, and he constantly looked greasy haired, or yellow stained from those (btw skin fungus was successfully treated with iodine here, no problems),, so we moved onto using black walnut tincture, recommended to me by two helpful members here, which I believe helped a bit(not the brown colored liquid, but the bright green one), but the improvement was really slow and expensive (ordering the good quality from England, you can't get it here in Ireland), so after using up nearly two bottles I ended up buying the homeopathic Sulfur 30c for 8 euros, and within just a week of casually popping 2-3 tablets a day into his mouth the child's hair started to grow in a really spectacular way.i knew about it because another mom here was struggling with her daughter's scalp ringworm for 2 years after curing it with just the coal tar shampoo and the sulfur.our struggle was a mere 4 month one.we also used up a small bottle of herbal tincture that our local herbalist made up for us, to help clean my son's lymphatic system and in particular against fungus (internally), so I don t know, it may have contributed to the overall success, but like I said, the dramatic improvement took place when we started out with the homeopathic medicine.good luck to you all, and thanks for all your help!

Replied by Bozana
3 out of 5 stars

Dear Zsuzsi, I found your post here, as well as other mom's post. I'm happy for you both that your kids got cured. You may think you know what they were going through, but you don't. Unfortunately I do. I don't have to repeat because you can guess that I've used all home remedies that you've used and 3 different types of antifungal meds, but nothing helps with my case of ringworm of the scalp. It is caused by Microsporum canis and very, very contagious. I'm cleaning my house, disinfecting and washing my clothes and myself day and night, still I am constantly losing battle against ringworm. I recently started using coal tar shampoo and sulphur 30 c, and it helped in the beginning but suddenly stopped helping. I would like to know from you how long did it take for your son to clear the fungus, from the time he started the pellets. I'm on my seventh day and yesterday I had a terrible attack which lasts today. My hair is not falling out any more since I'm using black seed oil which made it thicker and healthier and it almost grew back totally. But, the terrible itch is still there, so I know that I'm not healing yet. In general, I would like some more details about the course of treatment with the coal tar shampoo and the sulphur pellets, I.e. how long, how much, when did he stop complaining about the itch, did you use anything else, some oil, etc. I want to mention that I am a woman of 60 and not a young person.

Thank you and stay happy with your son.

Replied by Teena
Melbourne, Australia
182 posts

Hi Bozana,

I can't help thinking that you say a treatment was working, then stopped, I presume you mean a worsening of symptoms which is disappointing when improvement had started to be seen. But often when fungus/bacteria/virus is attacked, it will fight back against this treatment and you will often have a resurgence of symptoms, and you usually need to simply keep up what you are doing. Perhaps by adding more to your arsenal but do not give up the treatment. I noticed you said the black seed oil gave you some improvement when applied topically, why not get the seeds, crush them and ingest, or soak overnight and drink the water. Remember, this is an item you have said helped somewhat, my thinking would be, take it to the next level. Continue to deprive your fungus of what it needs, starve it! (Eliminate your diet of sugar, and complex sugars from grains, eg corn and wheat) and successfully make your body inhospitable to the invader. You can ingest borax (antifungal) research for yourself I take 1/4 tsp in litre of filtered water, soak your body and scalp in the bath with 2 cups of borax added, or use much less by just making a paste and applying that. Turmeric, Ceylon cinnamon, Organo, sage, rosemary, you can drink these as teas, several times a day, they are easily obtainable, or purchase capsules, these will change the body terrain too. Best to you

Replied by Zsuzsi

Hi Bozana, I agree with Teena, don't give up!!

To answer your question, within a week, I saw some improvement and it just kept on getting better from then on.there was no particular protocol, just gave him 2-3 tablets(, the brand available here is weleda) a day, let's say morning, daytime, maybe once again.. strangely, it was never itchy for him, so leaving it alone was not an issue.i wish I could come up with more hands on ideas,, the most important thing is, don t give up!! Do the diet, help your body fight the fungus and keep on beating it from different directions, persistently..! The coal tar shampoo really helped with the flaking, it went away, and by the end (last month or so out of 4 months)I only washed his hair(i.e.his patch, and the hair surrounding it) twice a week(by the way, I don't think it ever contributed to the actual healing, it made the patch smooth, therefore it finally made sense to put oils/creams/ointments there, knowing they are able to penetrate the skin) I still think the black walnut tincture was brilliant, if you are able to get it, I would recommend taking it internally as well as applying it topically (see the link further up that Mama to Many copied there for me ). Wishing you a speedy recovery Bozana, please don't let it dishearten you, you can beat this!!

Replied by Bozana

Dear Teena, thank you for your suggestions. I believe in sulphur and I will continue taking it. I already cured my 3 cats with the lime sulphur. But since the medical science hasn't found any topical therapy which would be efficient enough to kill the fungus and gentle enough to spare the skin, we must search. And microsporum canis is extremely contagious, so that danger of self-reinfection is always there. I am using ozone generator, to cleanse the air of all pathogen organisms. I used to put ozonated olive oil on my head but skin doesn't absorb it and with time beasts managed to eat through it. Unbelievable! But, I know they can't eat sulphur and black seed oil. I already tried some herbs and spices that you mentioned here, maybe I should have been more persistent. Others I will try and borax too. We'll see what happens. I'll report here.

Replied by Bozana

Dear Zsuzsi, thank you for your suggestions. I only lost some hair around hairline, which made me look like a balding man. Black seed oil made my hair so strong and thick like never before. I've spent my whole life with very think and scarce hair, but now, after 1 year of application of black seed oil, I have excellent hair quality. And now, sulphur fixed the rest and my hair is growing above my forehead too. So, all fine and better than ever, but the itch tells me that the fungus is still there. Black seed oil is offering relief but I will have to try some other things to kill the fungus topically. Your son definitely had another type of the fungus, and not the microsporum. I am so thankful for your post and the new hope. I can't order weleda sulphur here, I don't know why they don't deliver, but my sister in the US ordered some and sent it to me. I'm also planning to try borax, castor oil and a few more things. I will never give up. Thank you for your encouragement. All the best.

Replied by Zsuzsi

P.s. Bozana, that s great news that you have your hair grown back, I know it must be so upsetting to experience that! Here's just to say, I think any decent 30c sulphur tablets/pellets will do, really, if they work for you.seeing how homeopathy helped us(and I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't experienced it first hand), there might be a more appropriate remedy for your problem out there...

Replied by Bozana

Dear Zsuzsi,

Here is update from Bozana.

After I used two dispenser of Boiron's pellets of Sulfur 30 c and felt great relief, my friend a homeopath advised me to slow down and start using 2-3 pellets every 3 to 4 days. I felt quite sad because this is finally something that helps. I read that too much of sulfur can cause damage, no one knows how, but it can. It reads on the dispenser that I could take them 3x5 a day, but I took 3x3 a day. And after a period of aggravation I started feeling much better. I am now in the phase of searching for a homeopath who will prescribe medication for me and possibly reassure me in regard to taking "too much sulphur". I have enough Sulphur for a year, but I am taking just a 3 pellets every 3 days, as I was told. Let's see what happens next. It is obvious that I can't be cured fast, but at least, I know something that can cure me. Thanks to your and other mom's post my hair returned, which is a great thing. Sulphur 30 c did it. But, the terrible itch is still there. Maybe another form of sulfur will help me if this one is dangerous when taken for a long period of time. Let's see. Thank you and regards from sunny Croatia, all the best to you and your family


Posted by William (Mi) on 06/27/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Ted's mange cure applied topically after a shower cured a friend of mine's lesion she had a 1-inch lesion on her forehead and a two and a half inch lesion on her arm for 2 to 3 years. She was a nurse she was treated with many things nothing worked. She used Ted's mange cure which is 16 oz of peroxide 32 oz of water 1 tablespoon of borax mix it up and apply to the skin after shower. the peroxide is neutralized by The Borax and the and the peroxide causes the borax to penetrate into the skin and kill the infection. This cured her in 30 days. Many other people used it after that it stops itching and kills microbes according to my friend. I also have used it many times for cuts and cures Cuts quickly

Many other people on The Forum used it also to stop the itching that was caused from something from dogs and cats and squirrels some sort of bug.

Rubbing Alcohol

Posted by Lynn (Colorado) on 01/21/2016 2 posts
5 out of 5 stars

While combing my son's hair, I noticed red small rings on his scalp. They were ringworm. He is 17. I marked all of them w/sharpie dot so I could find them and treat them. I followed another EC remedy of 90% rubbing alcohol. I put a hair dryer to each spot, warmed it up and they come to the surface, then used a qtip and put on hydrogen peroxide first, then used a qtip saturated with rubbing alcohol. Do it 2 times a day, it bled a little that was ok, and after a couple of days, 1 was gone, but had to work on a stubborn one. It is almost gone. Forget the expensive cream "Lotrimin", stop giving money to the pharma criminals, and use a simple qtip with 90 percent rubbing alcohol. IT WORKS!!!