Dandruff is something that many people suffer from. It’s usually relatively easy to treat and managed. This is also one of those conditions that you rarely ignore because it can be embarrassing to look at. However, there are other scalp conditions that can go hidden underneath the hair. They’re bad for the skin, but because you don’t see it daily, you don’t really worry about it.
It’s time to look at your scalp and keep it protected. Scalp conditions can lead to the hair failing to grow through and could be a sign of a bigger problem.
These eight scalp conditions should be treated as soon as possible. The good news is many have natural treatments and you won’t necessarily need to see a doctor.
Acne on the Scalp
This can go ignored at first because you don’t see it. The only sign is when you run your hand through your hair and feel the spots. Over time, the acne can become painful and start to become visible. It’s not something you will want to ignore for the long term, as it can lead to problems with the hair growth.
Acne on the scalp appears for the same reasons as acne on the rest of the skin. The scalp is full of pores and hair follicles just like the rest of your skin. These follicles and pores can become blocked with oils, dead skin cells, product buildup and more. Eventually, bacteria grow underneath the skin and the acne starts to form.
You need to make sure the scalp is being properly cleansed. This isn’t just a case of using shampoo. You need to use a mild shampoo that will get into your pores and get rid of all the bacteria buildup. Look out for a clarifying shampoo that works on the bacteria specifically at least once a week.
Of course, excessive oil production is a problem. Those with oily skin and hair can find they suffer from more breakouts than those with normal hair. This is because the oil production blocks the pores and causes issues within the scale. Your doctor may need to help control the levels of oil, but it can also be hormonal.
Stress levels are one of the most common reasons for increased oil production. Look out for when you usually get the breakouts. If they happen after times of stress, there are high chances that this is your cause for the excess oil production. Manage your stress levels and you get rid of the side effects.
The blocked pores and hair follicles can stop your hair growing properly. You can also limit the nutrients that get to the ends of your hair, causing your hair to look poorly maintained.
Irritated, Flakey and Inflamed Skin
Most of the time, dandruff is managed quickly. You see the flaky skin and you take steps to remedy the situation right away. Don’t be tempted to ignore it. This could lead to seborrheic dermatitis, which is a more serious condition. The skin that’s become flakey can also be irritated and inflamed.
What’s happening is a large yeast growth within the skin. The yeast leads to inflammation and sensitivity. If you allow the yeast levels to increase, you can lead to various infections and other conditions. You’ll also stop the hair from growing properly.
There are natural ways to manage your yeast levels within the skin. Medicated shampoos are widely available, but you can also use some natural oils and probiotic remedies to help. Once you reduce the inflammation, you’ll start seeing other symptoms disappear.
Dermatitis could be a symptom of another problem. If you can’t get rid of it after a few weeks, talk to your doctor to see if there’s a bigger issue.
Itchiness Within the Scalp
You know an itchy scalp is never good, so why are you ignoring it? There are all types of reasons for an itchy scalp.
Sometimes it’s when there’s been something irritating the hair or the follicles, such as when you’ve worn a hat or you’re ill. The itchiness usually goes away, and you completely forget about it. The problem arises when the itchiness doesn’t stop. You find yourself needing to scratch and this leads to redness and inflammation.
If you’ve already checked for nits (especially if you have children), you may find that the itchiness is linked to a lack of washing. It’s not just your hair that needs washing, but the scalp. If you leave bacteria and dirt behind, it will start to irritate the skin.
There are mixed opinions on how often you should wash your hair. This will often depend on the type of hair you have. However, you should look for botanical and active ingredient shampoos. Avoid those that contain parabens, sulfates, or any silicones. Not only are they bad for the body, but they can also make the itchiness and irritation worse.
You’ll also want to look at when you are most itchy. There is a chance that you’re sensitive or allergic to ingredients. Make sure you avoid them if you are to avoid the side effects.
Cystic Acne Developing on the Scalp
Cystic acne is usually linked to the face, but you can also get it on the scalp. Like with other acne, it happens for the same reason. Your scalp produces sebum, but the production can be too high, and you get a waxy secretion along the skin. The hair follicles and pores become blocked, which means bacteria can grow. Usually, this acne growth is between the layers of the skin, making the acne looks extremely bad, spread out, and difficult to manage.
Oil production is determined by thyroxine and the sex hormones. If you see a decrease or increase, it means these hormones are out of balance. This could be due to stress or something temporary, but it could also be a sign of another health problem. The amount you wash your hair isn’t going to change the oil production.
Your doctor will want to know about this. You’ll be referred to a trichologist for a scalp and hair analysis, who will then be able to determine the issue and the steps to rectify the damage.
Scaly Skin Forming on Your Head
Do you get patches of scaly skin all over your scalp? This is something known as pityriasis amiantacea and is an autoimmune condition. It’s something that isn’t going to go away, but you can manage the symptoms and the damage. If you don’t treat it, the scales will cover the hair follicles and make it much harder for the hair to grow through properly.
The best treatment is a hot almond oil wash. You’ll then need to use a tar and salicylic acid cream that helps to protect the skin and reduce the scale appearances. A medicated shampoo is usually used after that.
Infections, trauma on the scalp, and stress are the most common reasons for these scaly patches to form. The hair can fall out if this isn’t treated. Once you have the condition managed and under control, you should see the hair growing back. However, the condition can return due to stress and infections, and this is known as a flare-up.
If the scales are in patches of your skin, usually around the front of the hairline and scalp, you may have psoriasis, another autoimmune condition. This is a trigger for stress, trauma, and bacterial infections. It’s not as problematic as pityriasis amiantacea, but you still don’t want to ignore it. It’s very common in babies and children.
Psoriasis on the scalp is just like psoriasis on the skin. You’ll need to change your diet to help reduce the foods that tend to trigger the condition, including wheat, gluten, and dairy. There isn’t a treatment for this, but you can help to limit the growth and appearance of the scales. Use salicylic acid and nut oils to help manage the skin and remove scales.
The scaly patches can lead to a lack of hair growth and this can be permanent.
Bald Patches Around the Head
Going bald is a sign of aging, but if you’re young then you want to take steps to look after your scalp and hair. Getting strange bald patches could be a sign of alopecia areata. This is a condition where the immune system prevents the cells from producing hair. It isn’t completely understood why, but the immune system becomes angry and will target specific sections of the hair cells.
The good news is this doesn’t have to be permanent. However, you will need help from a professional to understand more about the reasons for the condition. In most cases, the hair can be restored, but you need to get to the reason for the immune system to be angry.
In more extreme cases, the hair will completely fall out. There’s little that you can do about getting it back.
The Hair Starts to Thin
Again, this could be a sign of aging. However, there are other reasons for the hair to start becoming thin, especially if you’re young. It’s not a condition to ignore, especially if you’re not pregnant or going through menopause. Hair loss is a sign that your hormones have been disrupted.
Genetics could be at play. If your parents suffered hair thinning at a young age, there are high chances that you will too. However, weight loss and some other life changes can also be involved. Hair thinning is common in older women.
There are steps you can take to avoid the hair thinning too much. Make sure you get plenty of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and protein in your diet. Vegans are more likely to suffer hair thinning because they don’t get these nutrients enough, so talk to your doctor about the right foods and supplements to take. Without the nutrients, the fats and carbs can lead to a lack of support for the hair follicles, disrupting the amount of oxygen that gets to the cells.
The products you use can also affect the thickness of your hair. If you regularly get your hair treated in some way, you’ll want to reduce the amount you go it. Chemicals, heated treatments, and some brushes can all damage the hair follicles.
Red, Dry Crusty Sections on the Scalp
Do you get red itchy sections along the scalp? They can be itchy and rough and sometimes look like a rash forming all along your scalp. There is a chance that you have eczema, and yes, it’s just like getting eczema on your skin!
This is also known as atopic dermatitis and appears when the skin doesn’t create enough ceramides. The ceramides help to lock the moisture into the scalp, preventing the roughness and dryness. When you don’t get enough, the skin starts to become flaky and itchy. At first, it can look like dandruff, but it eventually spreads and is difficult to control without the right treatments.
There are various reasons you could develop eczema, with one of those being genetic. However, you can take steps to reduce the itchiness and other symptoms by getting fragrance-free shampoos. Use natural oils to help moisten the skin and lock that moisture in throughout the day. Avoid heated products and chemicals as much as possible, keeping your showers warm instead of hot.
Protect Your Scalp to Protect Your Hair
Conditions on the scalp shouldn’t be ignored. While your hair currently hides many of them, it won’t for long. The conditions on the scalp can lead to problems with the hair growth. You can start to experience more adverse side effects and see your hair thinning or gain bald patches. If the conditions are in children, they can prevent children from getting the thick hair they should.
There are natural treatments for many conditions, including simply changing your shampoos for something more botanical based. If you still have problems, talk to your doctor and be referred to a scalp specialist who will help to lock down the exact condition you have.