How many times have you noticed someone “clawing” at their head? You may wonder if there’s anything living on their scalp, or you may even see the product of this scratching on the individual’s shoulders. But to the sufferer it can nearly drive you mad!
Itchy, flaky scalp?
Just an irritation, or a scalp condition to be treated?
Some patients who consult me complain that the problem “comes and goes”, whilst others say it just gets worse and worse. For some, the irritation may be connected to a scalp condition, while others admit that scratching is a nervous habit. Not only is an itchy scalp annoying, but scratching can also exacerbate flaking, so controlling both problems is important. But what is the cause of these problems?
It is important to note that flaking conditions of the scalp are not due to “dry skin”, but to an increase in the rate of skin cell turnover. In many cases, closer examination of the scalp will actually reveal the flakes to be greasy. The aim of treatment is therefore two-fold: to remove existing flaking from the scalp, and to slow down the return of these flakes.
These conditions can be described in two groups: non inflammatory, such as dandruff, which is relatively straight forward to treat, and inflammatory, such as eczema and psoriasis. Some conditions are chronic, and therefore controllable but not curable. A correct diagnosis is the starting point, a prognosis can be given, and an appropriate treatment plan devised, since no two patients are the same. In all cases daily shampooing is recommended, as the longer the interval between washing the longer the flakes have to build up.
For certain conditions, regular clinical treatments may be recommended, not only to control the problem, but to also enable a frequent review of the individual’s progress. Some milder conditions can be treated effectively at home. A full written regime is always supplied in each case and email and phone support is available for all of my patients.