Scabs on Scalp: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, and How to Treat Them

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Scabs on ScalpHaving a scab on scalp condition can be an embarrassing nuisance, especially if it causes itchiness and covers the entire head. Many cases are the result of skin disorders or just having a dry scalp. Scabs on scalp are usually not a cause for concern unless they become infected. We have the top causes of scabs on scalp and home remedies that may be able to treat the condition naturally.

What Causes Scabs on Scalp?

Several skin conditions can cause scabs on the scalp, as well as health disorders and diseases. It can also be a result of various hair treatments and styles such as braiding, bleaching, and hair dyes.

1. Contact Dermatitis

Scabs on scalps could appear as a result of an allergic reaction, known as contact dermatitis. Red dry scalp scab patches can cause itchiness and burning. By physically touching a scratch, scabs will form over the open wound, which is often the result when changing shampoos, soaps, or trying a new hair product or dye. These rash-like patches can also result from latex material, poison ivy, battery acid, bleach, and any other toxins.

2. Dandruff

We know dandruff by the small white flaking appearance of dry skin. This skin condition, known as seborrheic dermatitis, presents as crusts of skin at the hair follicle site. Despite the myth, it is not caused by uncleanliness or poor health. Although it is not contagious, it can cause itchiness which can cause you to scratch and develop scabs.

3. Psoriasis

This skin condition can be quite visible on the arms but may also hide on the scalp, covered by the hair. The grayish silver scabs can appear on the scalp and cause lots of itching.

4. Seborrheic Eczema

The thick red scabs caused by eczema can be inflamed and quite itchy. The scalp becomes irritated with small bumps just as it appears on the arms and legs.

5. Lichen Planopilaris

Known as lichen planus when it appears on the skin, this condition causes the red bumps to be on the scalp. It is a serious concern if it does not clear up on its own, as it can cause hair loss and scarring of the scalp.

6. Ringworm

Ringworm of the scalp is a contagious condition affecting the scalp and hair follicles. This fungal infection causes red, scaly skin and extreme itching. It can lead to scarring and permanent hair loss.

7. Lice

The primary cause of scalp itch is lice, and this can lead to scabbing on the scalp. With every movement of the creatures, you are more than likely to scratch, causing scabs to form. Having lice is not a dangerous health effect, but the risk of infection from the scabs can be.

8. Shingles

Scalp scabs can be present with the viral infection of shingles. The same childhood disease known as chickenpox may return in adulthood as shingles, which result in scabs forming on the scalp.

9. Eosinophilic Folliculitis

Eosinophilic Folliculitis is a scalp condition often seen in HIV and AIDS patients. First, itchy sores appear filled with pus, and once they heal, dark scabs are left.

Signs and Symptoms of Scabs on Scalp

Scalp scabs can be easy to identify, but it is important to know the different types, as well as other symptoms that often accompany the scabs.

1. Yellow or White Scabs

A yellow scab usually indicates infection under the top crusty layer. It is important to note shingles also can present with these type of crusts.

A scab with a white crust means there is moisture or pus present. White caps will also appear if a lotion is used to treat symptoms.

2. Green Pus-Filled Scabs

Any colored scab such as the yellow and white, and even gray means there is infection in the wound. If this pus is a green color, it indicates a serious infection.

3. Hair Loss

Both ringworm and lichen planopilaris hair loss are symptoms in addition to scalp scabs, which include partial and complete hair loss, or alopecia. Alopecia seen with lichen planopilaris does cause permanent scars where the scabs were.

4. Casual Scabs and Bruises

Sometimes there may be scabs or bruises that seem to either reappear in the same spot or never go away. This condition could be a sign of melanoma.

How to Treat Scabs on Scalp

Some of the conditions and symptoms we have discussed may require immediate medical attention. For the scabs on scalp that pose no further complications, try one of the following home remedies.

1. Hot Towel

Dip a towel in hot water and squeeze the excess water out before wrapping it around your head. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the heat and steam to soften the scabs without damaging the scalp. Comb your hair to get rid of any loose scabs.

2. Lemon Juice

The antibacterial and astringent components of fresh lemon juice will eliminate any scabs. Mix warm oil and 10 to 15 drops of the juice for a treatment solution. Massage it into the scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it out.

3. Scalp Mask

To help prevent dry scalp scabs and itchiness, as well as to maintain scalp moisture, treat your scalp and hair to a weekly mask treatment. Use a few beaten eggs or fresh aloe vera gel straight from the plant and apply it all over your scalp.

4. Olive Oil

Loosen scalp scabs with the help of extra-virgin olive oil. It is also an excellent natural treatment for psoriasis.

Apply two tablespoons of the oil directly on your scalp and massage for several minutes. Leave it on for 10 minutes, or overnight for extreme cases of scalp scabs, before washing the oil out. Comb your hair to remove scabs gently.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Use the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar to treat itchiness and scabs. Apply it directly on your scalp and use a fine-tooth comb to remove scabs before washing your hair. Use a conditioner to avoid dryness. Repeat treatment several times weekly.

6. Oatmeal

Alleviate the itch and treat any inflammation with an oatmeal treatment. Combine uncooked oatmeal with water and apply the paste all over the scalp. Rinse it after 10 minutes and repeat daily.

7. Sea Salt

The benefits of sea salt can target symptoms of scalp scabs. Mix sea salt with olive oil to form a paste to be applied to your scalp. Wash the paste out after a 20-minute leave-in treatment. Repeat once to twice weekly.

Scabs on scalp can leave you constantly scratching your head, but too much can invite infection and permanent scarring. Underlying health conditions, skin disorders, and even the constant use of hair dyes can lead to scalp damage. You should be aware of the level of possible infection and what can be done to avoid hair loss. Most scabs will disappear on their own, but there are home remedies to treat the symptoms and quicken the healing process.


Related Articles:

Ingrown Hair on the Head: Causes, Complications, and Treatment Remedies

Ingrown Hair Cyst: Common Causes and Home Treatment



Sources:
Carteaux, C., “Scabs on Scalp,” Med Health Daily, http://www.medhealthdaily.com/scabs-on-scalp/, last accessed May 16, 2017.
“Understanding Scalp Problems,” Healthline, http://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/scalp-scabs#overview1, last accessed May 16, 2017.
“Scabs on Scalp – A Detailed Guide,” Scalp Remedies, February 23, 2014; http://www.scalpremedies.com/scabs-on-scalp/, last accessed May 16, 2017.
Hodge, V., “5 Tips for Healing Scabs on the Scalp,” Made Man, October 11, 2010; http://www.mademan.com/mm/5-tips-healing-scabs-scalp.html, last accessed May 16, 2017.

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