10 Scalp Problems You Should Not Brush Off

Your hair is one of your most prized possessions. It makes you who you are. The way you put up your hair and the various styles you adopt are all a direct link to your personality. There are many different things we do in order to beatify our hair. You may find it interesting to use hair dyes or other hair stiffening products, but we do not give proper attention to how these products can, in the due course harm our scalp. It is never a good feeling to have flakes of white dandruff on our shoulders. Having head lice causes a lot of embarrassment. These are only a few common scalp problems, there are other problems that are even more troublesome and can wreak havoc. Thankfully, due to the latest advancement in medical science, you can terminate these problems successfully.

10 Scalp Problems You Should Not Brush Off

10 Scalp Problems You Should Not Brush Off

The following are 10 scalp problems you should not avoid:

  1. Psoriasis

    This scalp problem can be identified as pink plaques with silvery scales. Psoriasis however should not be confused with cirrhosis or liver damage. Psoriasis affects about 1% to 2% of people in the general population. Psoriasis can affect you at any time, and can happen to anyone at any age. Psoriasis is considered to be an autoimmune condition. Here, the cells in the top layer of the scalp are in overdrive. Hence, the psoriasis rash is characterized by pink plaques that have silvery scales. Psoriasis can affect any part of your body, from head to toe, and even affect your nails. However, the scalp is one of those areas of the body which is in immense threat to be affected by psoriasis. According to researchers conducted in the Department of Dermatology in the University of Texas Southern Medical Centere, psoriasis that affects the scalp is one of the deadliest skin rashes to be dealt with. The reason why psoriasis of the scalp is considered to be so deadly is because, the skin cells that buildup in patches, creates a scaly layer that often itches. These patches can be so harmful because this scaly growth can crust up and even bleed. If you try to blow dry or color your hair at this point, the situation worsens even further.

    When it comes to treating psoriasis, it is mostly about relieving the patient off the symptoms. Most doctors start treating a patient affected with psoriasis by administering steroids. When and if the situation worsens the doctor mat even need to administer injections that are called biologics which helps to suppress the reasons that cause the flare ups. At some points, dermatologists may even recommend an excimer laser, which works on individual spots that do not respond to therapies. You should keep in mind that your hair care routine is a major concern here.

  2. Folliculitis

    Folliculitis is caused by inflammation of the hair follicle which leads to the formation of scattered pus bumps. Folliculitis is mostly caused by the action of bacteria which is most commonly referred to as staph infection. Folliculitis can also result from shaving, potent hair dyes, use of heavy conditioners and excessive sweating. The irritation caused by these activities can result in folliculitis. It appears as small red bumps on the scalp that is filled with pus. These bumps look like acne and can be sore at times.

    Before a treatment is meted out in order to cure folliculitis, it is very important to first confirm the causes of the infection. Hence, a dermatologist who is suspecting folliculitis performs a culture to check for the origin of the bacteria. If a microbe is at any point, causing your scalp woes, an oral or topical antibiotic is the best treatment option. If the causal agent is actually not an infectious agent, the any kind of inflammatory medication like steroid creams are thought to be effective. According to a study published by the Dermatology and Pathology unit of Yale School of Medicine, folliculitis can be treated with the help of any anti-inflammatory medication after a proper culture test has been made.

  3. Seborrheic Dermatitis

    Seborrheic dermatitis has been considered to be one of the most common scalp conditions that affect all people. This disease has a number of forms. It can cause cradle cap in babies, itchy patches that have greasy scales which are red in color. These can ultimately take the form of dandruff in adults. The symptoms of this problem include flaking, constant itching and scabbing. The crusty pieces of the scalp are usually yellowish or plain white in color, and they may, at some point, attach to the hair shaft. Seborrheic dermatitis is not considered to be contagious, but at most times it is a cause of great embarrassment to people. We try to hide and evade it, while it continues to persist. Seborrheic dandruff has no relation to cleanliness. Even if you shampoo your hair every day, you may still get dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis comes and goes and it can be triggered by stress as well as seasonal changes.

    This disease can also affect the face, shoulders, ears and chest of the person. The problem heightens in the winter months and during the early spring season and subsides relatively in summer. However, it can be as bad for a person round the year. The causes of this disease have not been made clear by scientists yet. However, a fungus or yeast names malassezia, present in the oil secreting cells of the scalp is found to be the main culprit for this problem. Some predisposing factors that can make a person more susceptible to this problem are Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, depression, obesity or a generalized weakened metabolism. When this problem is treated fast and aggressively, the uglier symptoms of this disease can be eradicated from the future. If not, seborrheic dermatitis may even lead to total or partial dermatitis. Often doctors prescribe a strong anti-yeast shampoo that is called ketoconzole. At other times, if the flakes keep falling, a topical steroid should be used as well.

  4. Alopecia

    Alopecia or hair loss is serious problem that can be caused due to a number of factors. These factors include both nurture as well as nature. Hair loss can be caused due to genetic reasons, some kind of medicinal side effect, hormonal abnormalities, and inflammation as well as due to hair fragility. No matter what the cause is, hair loss can lead to a lot of distress and may even lead to depression and low self-esteem. If you ever find that a patch of your hair is shedding or notice bald spots anywhere in your scalp, it is important for you to get yourself checked up as soon as possible. A dermatologist will, in all probability run a number of blood tests in order to find out if you have anemia, thyroid related abnormalities, vitamin deficiency, incorrect hormonal levels and autoimmune markers. When the results obtained from the blood tests can be ruled out, other important factors are to be studied.

    These include such life incidences that could have potentially led the patient into trauma and stress. Such experiences include the death of a loved one, a critical surgery or even a vehicle accident, all of these can lead to months of shedding right after the traumatic event has taken place. As we grow up, especially in women, when we move on from childhood to adolescence, there is a huge amount of changes in our estrogen levels, which is accompanied by shedding of hair and the all over condition of the hair. How we have been treating our hair throughout our early years also has an effect on the way alopecia takes place. Bleaching, perming, hair coloring, tight hair ponies can all lead to this condition.

    When you visit a doctor to treat you affected condition, the first thing that will be undertaken, is a thorough medical examination. By doing this, all physical problems that has been medically detected can be treated, likewise. Any underlying hair conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis can also be treated. If the underlying factors are, in fact hormonal, treatment includes the use of Rogaine, thus solution helps thicken the already existing hair. Besides this, a pill called Spironolactone is also advised that helps to suppress the male hormones, which are very much active, in the menopausal years. A great way to treat hair related problem, is to consume a very healthy and a balanced meal, full of vitamin B12, folate, biotin and other important nutrients. Finally, it has to be remembered that your hair is fragile, and hence, you should treat your hair with care. Avoid indulging in too many chemicals. As a last resort, you may opt for hair transplant.

  5. Cysts

    Cysts are fluid filled sacs. Cysts can occur in any of your organs. And can hence occur even on your skin and scalp. Scalp cyst are however, very common and are quite easy to identify. These cysts are around the size of a marble or grapes and are filled with fluid. This is the reason, that when you comb your hair or simply run your finger through your hair, you can feel them against your skin. Mostly cysts that happen on the scalp are benign or genetic. Basically, there is no reason for you to worry about them.

    However, in some extreme cases, these cysts can get affected and infected which may lead to pain and irritation. Cysts can hence be quite painful, but there is no reason for you to worry about them the best way to cure these cysts is to let them be. You must feel like probing around and poking them, but they are best left as they are. However, if the cysts become too large and extremely difficult to manage, you should consult a doctor and get it medically removed.

  6. Ringworm

    This is medically termed as tinea captits. Ringworms generally affect small kids, but nowadays it is rampant amongst adults too. There are many ways by which people can contract this fungus. The following are the ways: human to human, animal to humans (while petting a cat or dog), objects to humans (when you use a towel or comb that is used by a person having the problem). The rash caused is usually very painful and scales may even develop. Ringworms have the potential to cause rashes that can later on, turn into enlarged lymph nodes. The symptoms of a ringworm disease in the scalp are broken hair, erratic bald spots and black dots all over the scalp. This problem is hence, a very hazardous one indeed and hence, has to be treated as soon as possible.

    The treatment of ringworm is simple. However, you cannot leave it to get better with time. If the symptoms are evident, you must go check with a doctor before the condition worsens. Your doctor should prescribe you an antifungal medicine, which is usually effective against ringworm. Once it heals, you should make sure to discard or thoroughly wash all articles of clothing that were being used by you when the fungus was in infection. By doing this it will help you to fight against any chances of re-infection.

  7. Allergic Contact Dermatitis

    Paraphenylenediamine or PPD is a chemical product that is used widely in a number of hair products like hair dyes. However, this chemical is not at all safe for the skin and may lead to a number of problems. This chemical is one of the most potent causes of scalp allergic contact dermatitis. Other products that are responsible for such allergies are chemicals are fragrant ages that are used in shampoos and conditioners. You should be well versed with the kind of shampoo you are using and look into the ingredients and chemicals that are used in the manufacture. The best way to rid the possibilities of getting allergies via these hair products is to use natural products for hair care.

    Surely, these products are more expensive, but they are an inexpensive investment for ensuring good hair and scalp health. ACD can cause immense itching and redness which may cause discomfort. The good thing, however is, that there is a good and easy way to figure out if a product is potentially harmful by checking the time period between the contact of the agent and the rash. The only way you can treat ACD, is by finding out what chemical is causing the rash and eliminating it from your hair care routine. If the harm done by the chemical is too strong, it is best for you to get it checked by a medical professional. You can also use topical steroid foam or gel continuously for two to three weeks, this way, you will be able to eradicate or at least decrease the rashes caused by the chemicals. This way, you can get back on track and rock those hairstyles again.

  8. Head Lice

    Lice are very unpleasant but are a very common cause of distress in childhood. sometimes, it may even happen to an adult. Most of the people get lice. According to a study, it was found that more than 12 million people in America were affected with lice every year, and most of these people were in the age group, between 3 to 11. When you interact with a person with lice on their scalp, it takes no time for them to get passed on from one to another when interacting or sharing combs, towels or the same bed. Lice are wingless insects which are of the size of a sesame seed. The lice essentially feed on the blood as they suck it out from the scalp. The female lice lay their eggs close to the scalp along the hair follicles. Although the lice do not cause any severe trouble, except itching and discomfort, they are considered to be unhealthy.

    People with lice often interact less with people for the fear of being judges and have a low self-esteem. However, such social stigmas are ridiculous, because having lice, does not mean that a person is dirty or unhygienic, as lice can come from anywhere and affect anybody.

    As a treatment, you can use over the counter products like permethrin, pyrethin or even spinosad. Lice and their eggs, known as kits are somewhat difficult to kill. However, with application of these special shampoos the kits and lice are often killed. With the use of a fine toothed comb, the remaining lice and kits can also be eradicated. Another effective method of treating lice is by using a lotion called Sklice. This lotion does not even need a comb. Administering this lotion can be enough. The active ingredient in this lotion is ivermectin, which is very effective in killing parasites. This lotion can be used in kids as young as 6 month old. In order to get rid of lice completely, you should deeply clean your house. you should vacuum the furniture and rugs.

    Make sure that all the articles of clothing, toys, hats and bedding are washed in hot water to kill off any remaining lice or kits. If you feel like some things cannot be washed, it is best to keep these things locked in plastic bags for as long as the lice are active. It has been recommended by experts that you keep checking the hair for about two to three weeks to make sure that all the lice are truly eradicated.

  9. Lichen Planus

    Lichen planus affects mainly two body parts: the skin and the mouth. No research has been able to exactly point out what causes this. There are many theories that tries to explain what causes this. Theories vary from genetic to stress. Lichen planus may also be related to the virus that causes hepatitis B or C, dental material that are being used as well as thyroid related diseases. It is believed that lichen planus is an autoimmune disorder, which means that your immune system attacks your own body. Besides, medications used in treatment of high blood pressure, heart disease as well as

    People with lichen planus develop purplish flat topped bumps. The other symptoms of lichen planus are redness and irritation. The irritation as well as the rashes goes away on their own. However, if the trigger can be focused on, and eradicated then the lichen planus can also be treated. The main way this is treated is by the use of steroid medication like injections or substances that are rubbed on the scalp. Retinoid medications that are used to treat acne can also be used. Some doctors also prescribe a special type of ultraviolet ray called PUV. Antibiotics can even do the work.

  10. Shingles

    The virus that causes chicken pox is also responsible for causing shingles. After the virus attacks and causes chicken pox, this virus remains dormant in the body. If the virus, however, gets activated, you are affected with them again, this time, in the form of shingles. Shingles usually occur on the skin, but sometimes, it can also take place as scabs on the scalp. The rash caused by shingles mimic small blisters. Initially, they are yellow in color which form a crust and this may last for about two weeks. These rashes are very painful. Even a single rash can cause immense pain. The rashes may be accompanied with facial weakness and headache. The symptoms usually continue over months. The treatments for shingles are generally antiviral medication, topical ointments and pain medications. You must visit a dermatologist as soon as the symptoms become apparent.

    Scalp problems are sometimes painful and may even cause you to have a low esteem. These problems are very normal and are more common than you think they are. Whenever you feel like these problems and these symptoms are starting to become apparent and making life painful for you, you must go and visit a doctor as soon as possible. Do not fear judgments or criticism; there is no point in ignoring these problems.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 29, 2018

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