Beauty Center

How to Treat Impetigo of the Scalp

One of the most irritating scalp problems is when Impetigo sets in, causing what can be a very painful period for those suffering. For those shopping for treatment products, you can get 25% off many professional hair and scalp brands when you enter the code CYBER at the checkout!

So that you can understand Impetigo of the scalp a little more clearly, we have put together some information about this skin concern, and how best to ease the symptoms and to treat it.

The first signs to appear are small sores forming on the skin. Sores on the scalp can be a sign of skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, ringworm or a condition called pemphigus. They can also be a sign of scalp impetigo, a condition that can affect the skin on other areas of the body as well. It’s a problem that can affect any age group, but it’s most common in children. Epidemics of impetigo sometimes occur in schools, daycare facilities and other facilities where children are in close contact with one another.


  1. Impetigo is a bacterial infection that’s very contagious, meaning it can be easily transmitted from one infected person to another. It’s most commonly caused by a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, but Strep bacteria are a common source of infection too.
  2. Impetigo of the scalp can be easily confused with ringworm. One clue that it’s impetigo rather than ringworm is the presence of blisters and sores on the face and body as well as the scalp. Impetigo often infects areas of the skin at the same time it affects the scalp. These blisters may look inflamed and crusty and often rupture releasing yellow fluid. In most cases, a doctor can diagnose the condition by looking at the sores, although occasionally fluid from one of the blisters is sent to the lab to confirm the diagnosis.
  3. Impetigo is more common during the summer months when the weather is warm and humid and in areas where people, particularly children, congregate together. Poor hygiene and hand washing practices are a contributing factor in many cases. Make sure you have an  Adults are more resistant to impetigo than children are since they have a more mature immune system, but adults who have other medical problems or a depressed immune system are at greater risk. Impetigo is more common in areas where the skin or scalp have been cut or abraded, although it can affect intact skin too.


  • Doctors often prescribe topical antibiotics to treat impetigo when the infection isn’t too extensive. In cases where infection is more widespread, they may prescribe oral antibiotics. Oral antibiotics may be more effective for scalp impetigo since hair may hide some of the infected areas. The drawback to oral antibiotics is the potential for side effects.
  • Very mild cases of scalp impetigo may not require prescription antibiotic treatment, but it’s a good idea to check with a doctor before treating it at home. There are antibacterial ointments available at most pharmacies that are helpful for in-home treatments. After cleansing the affected areas with anti-bacterial soap and water using firm pressure to loosen any scabs. Then apply antibacterial ointment three times a day. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching the areas to avoid spreading the infection.If’s always handy to keep anti-bacterial skincare and beauty products in your bathroom regardless, as they come in handy for any concerns that may arise. Some of our favorites to keep to hand for cleansing and washing are the below from Cosmedix and Neostrata. These anti-bacterial cleansers can be used all over the body, and are super gentle for facial use too.
  • According to some small studies, topical tea tree oil is effective for treating impetigo, although it should be used with caution since it can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Most sources recommend applying two to three drops of tea oil three times a day to treat impetigo. You can also add tea tree oil to shampoo to treat the affected areas.
  • A mild shampoo which contains Tea Tree Oil is the Philip b Anti-Flake II Relief Shampoo, which is is designed to lend instant relief to more mild scalp concerns and itching. This luxe formula shampoo is powered by zinc pyrithione; containing active levels of pure Tea Tree Oil and Lavender (botanicals with natural antiseptic qualities); along with a scalp-calming Chamomile concentrate.If you wish to create your own Tea Tree infused shampoo so you can control the amounts, choose the most natural, balancing shampoo you can find. Then simply add a drop or two to your application.We personally love the Phytopanama Daily Balancing Shampoo, recommended to gently cleanse all hair types as often as required due to it’s natural and gentle properties. It regulates excessive sebum production without causing reactional hyperseborrhea, revitalizing both the hair and scalp. This shampoo’s mild cleansing power is great for maintaining a healthy balance, so if you need a shampoo which causes no irritation, it’s a fantastic choice.
  • Keep in mind that impetigo is highly contagious, and it’s important to keep affected areas covered with gauze to prevent spread, practice frequent hand washing and avoid sharing towels.
  • In very young children, there’s some evidence that taking zinc supplements reduces the risk of impetigo, but there isn’t enough evidence at this point to say whether it’s effective in older children and adults. The best way to prevent impetigo of the skin or scalp is to avoid touching people with open skin blisters or sores, wash hands frequently and don’t share towels or other personal articles with others.
  • Don’t forget to head over to our dedicated Beauty Center to uncover important information about a range of skin concerns, treatments and key ingredients.

    Love Skincare? discover our edit of how to treat scalp bumps.



    Writer and expert

    20% Off: Rewarding Our Readers Use Code: SKIN20