Scalp fungus is an uncomfortable condition that can leave you with unsightly dandruff and intolerable itching. While standard treatments are available, some people opt to treat scalp fungus with vinegar as a less harsh home remedy. If your symptoms persist or you experience inflammation and redness on the scalp, see a doctor.
Fungus is naturally found on the scalp. According to MayoClinic.com, the primary fungus found on the scalp is called malassezia, but when it grows too much, your scalp may get oily and irritated, giving the fungus more food and further fueling the problem. This can cause dandruff and general irritated patches that itch and flake. Tinea, or ringworm, may also be the culprit.
According to Earl Mindell, author of "Dr. Earl Mindell's Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar," vinegar is capable of killing fungus and bacteria, making it a helpful topical scalp fungus treatment. This is also helpful for treating dry skin and reducing dandruff not caused by fungus.
You shouldn't just dump vinegar on your head to treat the fungus, which would be much too harsh. Instead, boil 2 cups of vinegar then let it cool, measure 1/8 cup and mix it with a cup of water, say Dr. Linda B. White and Steven Foster, authors of "The Herbal Drugstore: The Best Natural Alternatives to Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medicines." Then use the mixture as a rinse in your hair before shampooing and after conditioning every day.
Results and Other Options
Because the vinegar is mixed with water, it should be generally mild on your skin. You should see a reduction in scalp irritation and dandruff -- the most notable symptoms of scalp fungus -- within a week, and it should clear up within a month, according to White and Foster. However, the fumes of apple cider vinegar can be intense, so apply it in an open and well-ventilated space. If the fungus still doesn't dissipate, see a doctor for medicated shampoos and other treatments.
- "Dr. Earl Mindell's Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar"; Earl Mindell, Ph.D.; 2002
- "The Herbal Drugstore: The Best Natural Alternatives to Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medicines"; Linda B. White, Steven Foster; 2000
- MayoClinic.com; Dandruff: Causes; November 2010
- Medline Plus; Seborrheic Dermatitis; July 2007
Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.