What causes painful bumps on the scalp?

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What causes painful bumps on the scalp?
There are many different conditions or problems associated with the scalp. (Bald man from backside image by TekinT from Fotolia.com)

There are many different types of conditions or problems associated with the scalp. While an itchy scalp and dandruff can be embarrassing, other scalp problems characterised by painful bumps may cause some discomfort and concern. However, in some cases, this symptom may also indicate a more serious medical condition.

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Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a condition in which a person experiences a skin reaction when exposed to foreign substances, called irritants and allergens. Some types of irritants are solvents and acids, while some allergens are dust, drugs and foods. Either irritant contact dermatitis or allergic contact dermatitis can cause scalp reactions. This includes skin inflammation, redness, itching, pain and blisters.

Scalp Folliculitis

Scalp folliculitis, caused by an inflammation of hair follicles due to different factors that include bacterial infections, can develop on the scalp. There are many different forms of scalp folliculitis, including acne necrotica. The symptoms associated with acne necrotica are the appearance of large pustules or bumps that are pus-filled, inflamed and can cause pain. This condition may require the use of antibiotics.

Epidermoid Cysts

Epidermoid cysts, also referred to as epidermal cysts, are bumps that are firm and develop slowing underneath the skin. These cysts can grow on the scalp and secrete a malodorous, whitish material. Some causes for an epidermoid cyst are blocked or damaged hair follicles. When a cyst becomes inflamed, there can be redness, tenderness and some pain around it. Doctors can treat some epidermoid cysts by using steroid injections. Other treatment options include surgical drainage and excision of a cyst.

Viral Infections

Caused by a viral infection, chicken pox produces red spots that turn into bumps or blisters on the body and scalp. These blisters fill with fluid and can be itchy and painful. Chicken pox is a contagious disease that can cause serious complications in some people. Shingles, another viral infection, can affect the scalp area and cause painful skin rashes or blisters.

Cancer of the Skin

A type of skin cancer, called a melanoma, can develop on the scalp. It is a skin growth that can change in colour, shape or size. It also can become an unhealed sore that may bleed. A malignant melanoma on the scalp or neck is a serious form of cancer that can be more lethal than other melanomas that may develop on different locations of the body, according to Medical News Today.

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