Scalp Problems – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
Our scalp, or the thin layer of skin covering our head, can be affected by skin conditions in much the same way as the skin on our body. Some scalp conditions can be caused by infection, anxiety or stress, or diet, while others are hereditary.
The only way to determine which scalp condition you have and how to treat it properly is through a consultation with an expert – and this is where Sussex Trichology comes in. Our resident Trichologist Shuna Hammocks will take a look at your diet, lifestyle, medical history and physical health to make an accurate diagnosis.
No two patients are the same, so it makes sense that we do no treat every patient with the same treatment. For this reason, when you visit the clinic, Shuna will carefully talk you through your treatment options to create a bespoke service unique to you.
Read on for some of the more common scalp problems we can treat here at the Sussex Trichology clinic:
- Seborrheic Eczema
- Allergic Contact Eczema
- Cradle Cap
- Folliculitis Decalvans
- Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia
Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by an overproduction of skin cells, causing the skin to become red and flaky. Its most defining feature is the scaly white or yellow patches on the scalp that develops. You can get psoriasis anywhere on the body, including the scalp. People with psoriasis on the scalp often find that their scalp feels tight, itchy or sore. If you scratch the scales, the skin can become infected. People who can feel dry bumps on the scalp may have psoriasis.
Psoriasis cannot currently be cured, but it can be treated or managed. Conventional treatments for psoriasis of the scalp include topical treatments, such as special shampoo or ointments. While this condition is often chronic, it is possible to treat psoriasis at the clinic. We would provide you with clear instructions will be given for home treatment.
Seborrheic eczema, or seborrheic dermatitis, is a common skin condition caused by a change in the sebum content (oil production) of the skin, rather than too much oil as many might think. It causes the skin on the scalp to become red and scaly and can also cause dandruff and small pustules. Seborrheic eczema in young children is also known as cradle cap.
You can manage seborrheic eczema in various ways, which will be discussed in your consultation with Sussex Trichology. This may involve dietary alterations, lifestyle or habit considerations and/or changes to medication or shampoo type. We will advise you on the best treatment for you by asking specific questions about your lifestyle that may be affecting your scalp.
Allergic contact eczema or dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into contact with something that it is allergic or sensitive to. The skin may feel itchy, sore, or hot. Sometimes when people use a new hair product or hair dye, they develop allergic contact eczema on the scalp.
The treatment and management of this condition entirely depends on the severity of your reaction and what your scalp will tolerate.
This condition can be managed by doing patch tests when using new products (applying a small amount of the product to the skin) to check for an allergic reaction. If a reaction does occur, topical treatments can help to soothe the skin.
Cradle cap isn’t just a childhood condition; some adult patients can also develop it. The skin becomes thickened and overlapping scales develop and stick firmly to the hair shaft. The medical term for cradle cap is Pityriasis Amiantacea and the condition can even cause short-term hair loss.
Sussex Trichology can recommend the best course of action for treating cradle cap on the scalp, including using olive oil to loosen the scales gently.
Some scalp conditions can also cause hair loss. To begin with, sufferers experience minor irritation and redness, but can sometimes develop visible scales on the scalp and experience hair loss. Hair loss may occur immediately or over an extended period.
Folliculitis Decalvans is one of these conditions of the scalp, affecting those who have already gone through puberty. Also known as Tufted Folliculitis, this condition causes the scalp to become red, puffy and shiny, with the scales causing clumps of hair to fall out.
This condition must be diagnosed quickly to slow and/or prevent further loss of hair.
This variant of Lichen Planus often begins with the loss of eyebrow hair and in the sideburn areas. The front hairline then loses hair, causing the forehead to appear higher. Unfortunately, this is a permanent condition that destroys the hair follicles.
This condition isn’t always obvious and may need to be inspected using a DermaScope, which we use here at Sussex Trichology to monitor this condition.
So, if you’re concerned about the health of your scalp, or you have any of the symptoms of the scalp ailments mentioned above, get in touch for a full consultation and treatment plan to tackle your particular scalp problem.
- Trichologists.org.uk. (2020). Scalp Conditions. [online] Available at: https://www.trichologists.org.uk/conditions/scalp-conditions/ [Accessed 25.7.2020].
- MJ Harries 2008. British Journal of Dermatology 2008 review article
- NHS.uk. (2019). Dandruff. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dandruff/ [Accessed 25.7.2020].
- PhilipKingsley.co.uk/. (2020). Scalp Conditions – Causes, Guides & Treatment Information. [online] Available at: https://www.philipkingsley.co.uk/hair-guide/scalp-conditions/ [Accessed 25.7.2020].