We’re all desperate for healthy, shiny, glossy hair and will go to great lengths to achieve that goal. However, we tend to forget that the health of the scalp will contribute greatly to the health of our hair. It seems pretty obvious, but ask yourself how often you even consider your scalp in your hair treatments and you’ll realize firsthand that it’s easy to forget this basic fact.
Because of our general neglect of the scalp as well as our ignorance of the problems that could affect it, scalp conditions are inevitable.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common scalp problems that could affect you.
Dandruff is a pretty common scalp problem, affecting almost everyone at some point in life. This scalp condition is characterized by an itchy scalp accompanied by white flakes. The white flakes are nothing more than the dead skin cells from your scalp sloughing off. The excessive exfoliation of skin is a breeding ground for all types of bacteria and fungi which are what cause the itchiness. Get rid of the flakes, and the itching will usually stop. Dandruff is not something to worry about, although it can be a little embarrassing.
The name may be a mouthful, but this is nothing more than a very severe form of dandruff. The condition presents the same symptoms as dandruff but with the addition of a red scalp. This problem occurs when the oil glands produce excessive sebum and cause the scalp to get overly greasy. Those who have a history of acne are prime candidates for seborrhic dermatitis.
A dry scalp is not something only people with dry skin will suffer from. Even those with normal and oily skin types can suffer from a tight, overly dry scalp which may be accompanied by tiny dandruff-like flakes. In fact, a dry scalp is one of the causes of dandruff so you may want to nip it in the bud to prevent it from escalating.
A nasty but common scalp problem, head lice are even more embarrassing than dandruff as it gives the impression of questionable hygiene. Millions of adults and children suffer from head lice each year. The lice get on the scalp when the head touches something else that the lice were on in the first place whether it is another person’s head, pillows, blankets, carpets, head gear, combs, brushes and even ear phones. If you feel madly itchy on your scalp and can see nits on your hair, then you probably have a case of head lice and should go about getting rid of them as soon as possible.
Scalp acne is more common than you think. The only reason you may not notice it on people is because it is hidden under all their hair and because it is embarrassing so no one will outright admit to it. The causes of this scalp condition are not known. However, you would treat this the same way that you would regular acne, generally with applications of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
Here’s another common scalp problem which hides under hair so is not noticeable. It is a common misconception that ringworms are caused by worms which settle underneath the skin. However, this common scalp condition gets its name from the shape it leaves on the skin. Ringworm is caused by fungi which infect the scalp, leaving red, round patches the size of a penny in its wake. The affected areas are prone to baldness, but it is only temporary until the infection lasts. Hair growth will resume a few weeks after the condition is treated.
A simple scratch on the scalp has the potential to turn into an infection if it is not properly treated. An infection is never normal and it can always turn into a more severe form if you do not take care of it in the early stages. Be alert for any pain, lumps or scabbiness which does not promptly go away.
This is a skin condition that occurs on the body as well as the scalp. Scalp Psoriasis is characterized by a formation of a thick, scaly layer of skin on the affected area. Psoriasis is a result of skin cells multiplying at an unnatural rate and causing excess layers of skin on the surface. It is not a serious condition but the more severe forms may have to be treated with an injection on the affected area.
This is a common scalp problem that actually begins with an infection to the hair follicles, resulting in symptoms on the scalp. Small boils filled with pus may appear on the scalp. It is a mild condition that usually disappears without treatment. Folliculitis is often mistaken for scalp acne and vice versa. An accurate diagnosis is important when coming up with a treatment plan so get a second opinion.