Bumps & scabs on the scalp

Written by vanessa newman
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Bumps & scabs on the scalp
Washing your scalp with medicated shampoos can help psoriasis. (the bathing woman image by sumos from Fotolia.com)

An occasional bump or scab on the head is quite normal, especially if your scalp is exposed to the elements. But if these happen more regularly, then there might be an underlying medical reason. A healthy scalp is usually free of irritations or growths and will produce healthy hair. Certain conditions lead to scalp issues; some are merely bothersome while others are quite serious. Taking good care of your scalp is important for your health.

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The Scalp

The scalp is part of the integumentary (skin) system and is made up of blood vessels, hair follicles, nerves, oil and sweat glands. The oil glands produce a substance called sebum which keeps hair and skin soft. According to the Atlas of the Human Body, your scalp can have 100,000 hair follicles. These could be in a growth, resting or shedding phase. The causes of bumps and scabs on the scalp might be psoriasis, warts, ringworm, skin cancer, acne, dermatitis (skin inflammation) and more.

Scalp Bumps

A bump is a soft or hard lump that might be sore or cause no pain at all. Certain conditions like acne, types of skin cancer, warts and even scars from cuts or pimples can cause scalp bumps. Since acne can occur anywhere on the face or body, the scalp is certainly not immune. There may be oil build-up in your hair or even bacteria that gets trapped. Waxy, shiny, or white bumps on sun-exposed areas like the head can be basal cell carcinoma. It is a good idea to have scalp bumps evaluated by a medical professional before selecting treatment.

Scalp Scabs

A scab is a dry or crusty patch of skin that might be red, purple, white or even have a silvery sheen. Conditions like psoriasis, skin cancer, ring worm and dermatitis can cause scabs. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, there is a 50 per cent chance it will affect your scalp. In serious cases, your whole scalp may be covered with thick, crusty-like scabs. One sign of skin cancer is a sore that does not seem to heal, bleeds and then scabs over according to MayoClinic.com. These sores can be visible or hidden under hair. Although unlikely to affect adults, scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) is a fungal infection. While, dermatitis is a skin inflammation from an ingested source (wheat) or an external one (fragrance or latex) that can cause lumps and bumps and even be sore to touch.

Healthy Scalp

Using a mineral oil on your scalp relieves dryness. For good general hygiene and to prevent ring worm, avoid sharing combs, brushes and hats. You need to get your scalp skin and hair follicles healthy to minimise scalp problems. Too much humidity and heat can trigger a psoriasis outbreak. Clean the scalp frequently with gentle ingredients. Natural herbs like thyme, sage and fenugreek might help acne reports Ensbio.com.

Scalp Treatments

Treat your scalp with shampoos, topical medications, scalp massage and surgical procedures (wart or skin cancer removal). Also try to avoid stress which can bring on conditions like psoriasis. For mild psoriasis, use medicated shampoos with tar or salicylic acid. Severe cases need topical treatments or methotrexate that heals systemically. Antifungal creams and good hygiene like shampooing often can treat ring worm. The best remedy for dermatitis is to avoiding the irritant completely along with topical medications. Consult a doctor if scalp bumps and scabs do not resolve themselves in a reasonable time frame (several weeks).

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