Prevalence of Scaling Scalps: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Scaling scalps is a skin disorder that makes scaly, raised, and often reddish patches. It can be visible as a single patch or more, and affect the entire scalp. Additionally, it can spread to the back of your neck, forehead, and inside or behind your ears. In most cases it’s mild and can go unnoticed. Glen Allen scaling scalps specialist, is a board board certified dermatologist who specializes in handling such skin conditions. 

What Causes Scalp Psoriasis?

The good news is that you can’t catch the condition from someone. Dermatologists believe it results from a problem with your immune system causing skin cells to grow rapidly so that they cluster in small patches. You can develop this condition if it runs in your family. 

Some of the other likely causes include fungal infections on the tinea capitis (ringworm) which are mostly found in kids. The risk factors include contact with pets and humid climates. The condition can also be due to pre-cancers or actinic keratosis because of significant sun exposure, leading to scaly patches on your scalp. Typically, it presents scaling lesions which don’t go away and you need a dermatologist to evaluate it. 

Consequently, irritant contact dermatitis resulting from preservatives and fragrances in personal care products can bring about the conditions on the scalp causing redness and scaling. In older patients, the lack of natural sun protection leads to precancerous lesions that can feel scaly on the scalp. 

Approximately 7.5 million Americans have the condition. About half of this number have the scaling on their scalp. The skin condition can be severe and last for years resulting in incrusted and thick sores. The intense itching it produces can affect your sleep, leading to scratching and causing skin infections or even hair loss. 

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of scalp psoriasis typically include fine or slight scaling. The symptoms also range from mild to severe and include the following. 

  • Dry scalp
  • Itching
  • Red, scaly, and bumpy patches
  • Silvery-white scales
  • Dandruff-like flaking
  • Soreness and hair loss

It’s important to note that scaling of the scalp itself doesn’t cause hair loss. However, scratching the affected part repeatedly or with force, and using harsh treatments cause hair loss (at least temporarily). Nevertheless, your hair will grow right back after your skin clears. 

In case you experience any of the above symptoms, consult a dermatologist. The specialist will look at your skin and rule out other skin conditions with similar symptoms such as seborrheic dermatitis. 

Is There Treatment?

The first line of defense is to use medicated creams, gels, oils, foams, shampoos, soaps, and ointments directly on your skin. Some of these products can be acquired over the counter, however, stronger ones need a prescription.

Because it’s a common condition, most dermatologists only make a diagnosis after they evaluate the skin and scale on the scalp, mostly because there is always more than one possible explanation for this scaling. Therefore, testing is preferable to determine the right diagnosis. Testing includes a swab of the scale, and performing a fungal culture or a microscopic evaluation by a certified pathologist. 

Competent and reliable dermatologists can treat scaling scalps and other skin conditions amicably. Consult the specialists for further direction.