Sores on Scalp or head may be painful or painless, itchy or not itchy. They are usually red in color and often ooze. Whereas they are often harmless, they can be a sign of serious skin problems such as cancer. Depending on the cause of the sores, you can get rid of them using home remedies or seek medical treatment after proper diagnosis. Explore facts about sores on your scalp or head, including their pictures, causes, signs, and symptoms.
Summary of Page Contents
- Signs and Symptoms
- Sores on Scalp Pictures
- Causes of Sores on Scalp
- Painful Sores on Scalp
- Red Sores on Scalp
- Oozing Sores on Scalp
- Itchy sores on scalp
- Sores on scalp Cancer
- Treatment of Sores on Scalp
- Home remedies for Sores on Scalp
- When to See a Doctor
- Sources and References
Signs and Symptoms
Sores on scalp are one of the common scalp problems. They may be an indication of mild or serious health problem. This condition is characterized by the following signs and symptoms.
- Itchy spots or patches on scalp that look like burns
- Redness, tenderness, and inflammation of scalp
- Brittle hair on the affected area of the scalp
- Complete loss of hair to form random patches on head
- the scaly, dry or leathery skin on the scalp
- red, pink, white, yellow, brown or dark spots on scalp
- the fluid-filled blisters that crust over the skin of the scalp
- tiny or large bumps like a boil on head
- lesions on the scalp that won’t heal
- the sores may dry up to form scabs on the scalp
Other strange symptoms can also accompany sore on your scalp. These symptoms include a headache, pain in the back of the neck and pain on entire scalp. Nerve damage of scalp by the sores might be the reason for a headache and pain in the back of the neck.
Sings and symptom of sore on the scalp may vary from one person to another based on the causal agent. For instance, fungal infection on the scalp can lead to sores that may appear as white patches while bacterial infection may lead to painful red bumps in the affected area.
Sores on Scalp Pictures
Natural, it is not possible to see parts of your scalp by using your own eyes. However, you can use two mirrors that are fixed on the walls that are used for the purposed of focusing image to view all part of the head. You can also use front camera on phone to take self-picture of your scalp with sores to see how they may appear.
If you are not in a position to access self- camera or cosmetic studio mirrors, no need to worry. We have provided illustrative pictures of sores on the scalp in relevant parts of this post to show you how they might look like.
You may use these pictures or images provided to get a clue about your scalp condition before seeking more help from medical experts.
Causes of Sores on Scalp
Sores on the scalp may appear due to various reasons or factors. The type of sores on your scalp may majorly depend on its causes. Some sores on the scalp are a benign condition that may not scare you. Occasionally, a scalp may develop chronic sores that are alarming to be a more serious health problem that needs medical treatment.
Causes of sore on the scalp include the following:
1. Lupus on scalp
Sore on your scalp can appear as a consequence of lupus diseases. This is a chronic autoimmune disorder that is characterized by serious skin damage with a rash on the scalp or any other parts of the body. It can also lead to inflammation of joints, damage to liver, heart, kidney, and lungs.
These conditions occur due to malfunctioning of the immune system that does not distinguish between normal body cell and foreign pathogens in the body. The body immune systems are stimulated to produce antibodies that attack healthy body cells and tissue. This leads to inflammation of the skin with sores.
2. Contact dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is a skin condition that develops from an allergic reaction. The skin of your scalp can develop rashes and sores when it becomes into direct in contact with strange substances that can stimulate an allergic reaction to show up on the affected area.
The common allergens that can induce an allergic reaction on your scalp include hair dye, harsh shampoo, poison ivy or any other hair treatment chemicals. Harsh hair dyes and treatment chemicals can irritate the skin of the scalp to form burns like sores.
3. Seborrheic Dermatitis
Dandruff on the scalp is a symptom of Seborrheic dermatitis. This condition is associated with itchy flaky skin that forms white patches. Also, white or yellow sores that crust over and attached to the shaft of the hair can show up.
The condition can affect anybody regardless of the age. Newborns, toddlers, teens, and adult can show up dandruff on their scalp. The main cause of Seborrheic dermatitis is not clearly known and it is not related to cleanliness. Despite washing your hair with shampoo daily, you might develop Seborrheic sores on scalp.
4. Fungal infection on scalp
Ringworm is a known yeast infection that can affect the scalp to develop itchy white scales and sore on the affected area. If ringworm is not treated, they can advance into red inflammation, loss of hair and scarring on the scalp.
This condition is quite common in infants, babies, toddlers or children. Teens and adults can also be affected by yeast infection on their scalp if they have a weak immune system. Ringworm is highly contagious and it can spread very fast with a population.
5. Head lice
Head lice are parasitic insects that can cause sores on scalp. The parasitic insect on the scalp can cause irritation that you may scratch into open sore. These sores can develop into scabs on scalp when they are infected by bacteria or fungi.
The head lice can spread very fast though direct in contact with the person having it. Head lice is not a vector insect hence they cannot transmit other infection. This insect can be controlled by maintaining high standards of cleanliness.
6. Lichen Planopilaris
Lichen planus or Planopilaris is an infection that causes red, pink or purple bumps on the surface of the skin. The condition can lead to painful sores and loss of hair. The more disappointing thing about this infection is that it can result in permanent scarring on your scalp.
The condition is common to individuals with middle age. Lichen planus on the scalp can stay on your skin even for many years without clearing away. The condition can be managed by the application of corticosteroid creams.
7. Eczema on scalp
Eczema is chronic skin disorder that is associated with red itchy scales on the affected parts of the skin. The scalp can form thick scabs that might itch and cause a discomfort. Other than affecting your scalp, the condition can show up on the neck, face, arms, legs, back or any other parts of your body.
8. Eosinophilic Folliculitis
This is conditions that show up as itchy sores on scalp and on any other parts of the skin on the body. The affected area may develop fluid-filled blisters that ooze out pus. This condition is common to people that are infected with HIV/AIDS.
9. Psoriasis on scalp
Psoriasis is chronic skin infection that can affect different parts of the body including the scalp. This disorder causes thick silvery white or gray scabs that spread all over the scalp. The condition can cause intense itchiness on the head that can cause a discomfort. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that can be treated by a qualified doctor.
Shingles are a painful rash that can develop into fluid-filled blister and sores on the skin surface. It can also lead to sores on the scalp, face, neck, back, arms, legs or any other parts of your body.
Similar to chicken pox, shingles are caused by Varicella zoster virus. After the infection of the chicken pox, the virus remains in your body in a dormant state. Once this virus is activated, they can cause shingles to appear on the skin surface.
11. Cancer on scalp
Cancer is a life-threatening disease that can cause bumps, tumors, and sores on any parts of the body. This condition can also affect the skin of the scalp to develop chronic sores like tumors that can bleed easily
12. Impetigo on scalp
Impetigo is a bacterial infection that leads to dark rash and blisters on the affected area of the skin. Like any other parts of the skin, the scalp can also be affected by this condition. Impetigo is a common infection in infants, toddlers or young children. This infection is highly communicable.
13 Other causes
Sore on your skin scalp can develop due to other causes. For instance, cosmetic practices on dressing the hair like too tight hairstyles, helmets and headbands might cause skin injuries on the scalp that develop into sores. In addition, acne and hair cysts on the scalp can be infected by bacteria or fungi to develop into open sores.
Painful Sores on Scalp
Any sore on your skin can be painful due to damaged tissue and nerves in the affected area of the skin. The swollen skin, inflammation and burning skin on the scalp can be felt as a consequence of sores on the head region.
Painful sores on your scalp might stimulate the nerves around the head region to cause a headache and pain in the back of the neck. The common scalp conditions that can lead to severe pain include; lupus, eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, shingles, skin cancer, insect bites, and Seborrheic dermatitis.
You can relieve painful sores on your scalp by using suitable painkiller from over the counter. If the pain persists after taking painkiller drugs, you can seek the help of the doctor for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Red Sores on Scalp
Red sore on the scalp can appear as flat spots, fluid-filled blister, pimples or patches on the affected parts of the skin. most spots might appear as red in color due to inflammation of the skin tissue as the blood vessel are damage to interferes with the proper circulation the blood of the area affected.
A sore on the scalp may not always be red in color. They might also appear as white, yellow, brown, grey or black depending on the causal agent and your skin tone.
Oozing Sores on Scalp
The fluid-filled blisters or bumps on your scalp can burst into open oozing sores. The sore can weep out thick fluids like pus that finally crust over to form scabs on scalp. The weeping sores might discharge fluids with or without the bad smell.
The common skin infection that can lead to oozing blisters on scalp includes lichen planus, ringworms, eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, shingles, folliculitis, and contact dermatitis.
Itchy sores on scalp
Do you have an itchy sore on your scalp? If you scratch your scalp with fingernails because of a constant irritation, this might be something more serious than dandruff. Itchy sores might be a symptom of a more serious condition such as autoimmune disorders, viral or bacterial infection.
The common conditions that can cause an itchy sore on head include:
- Psoriasis: this is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by red raised sores and scaly silvery grey itchy skin.
- Head lice: this is a parasitic insect that can invade your scalp and cause itchy sore to show up.
- Ringworms: is a fungal infection that that can cause itchy red sores surrounded by whitish patches on the scalp.
- Folliculitis: the infection of hair follicles by bacteria can lead to itchy sores or bumps on the scalp.
- Eczema: This is another autoimmune disorder that may cause intense itchy sores on the affected part of the skin.
- Seborrheic dermatitis is another condition that may cause itchy sores on your scalp
Sores on scalp Cancer
Exposure of your scalp to harmful UV rays from the sun and tanning bed are risk factors that can encourage skin cancer on scalp. Other carcinogenic substance such as heavy metal, poisons and tobacco products can also lead to the development of any type of skin cancer.
Cancerous condition on the scalp can start to show up as painless tumors and chronic bumps that finally develop into sores that won’t go away easily. It is difficult to detect early stage of cancer hence the condition can spread and damage large areas of the body tissue.
Type of skin cancer that can affect the scalp to develop sores:
- Basal cell skin cancer (BCC): it typically occurs on the lower epidermal layer of the skin. This type of cancer on the scalp can show up as tiny pink or red spots that can bleed easily when your comp your hair.
- Squamous cell cancer (SCC): it affects the squamous cell on skin layer. It manifests as scaly patches that develop into raised red bumps and sores that may crusts over on the scalp.
- Melanoma skin cancer: this is the most dangerous type of skin cancer that develops from melanocytes. It may appear as dark spots on scalp. It can also be brown or pink depending on your skin color.
Treatment of Sores on Scalp
If sores on your scalp are likely to advance to a more serious health problem, you can seek the help of your doctor for medical treatment. Your doctor will use the suitable diagnosis plan to determine the cause of your health problem before giving you an appropriate medical treatment.
The common treatment methods that your doctor might use include the prescription on medicinal oral drugs and steroid creams (lotions) for external application. Surgical procedure and laser treatment might also be used to remove chronic sores on the scalp.
After medical treatment, your doctor will give you a way forward on how to use the prescribed drugs within a given period of time until sores on your scalp go away.
Home remedies for Sores on Scalp
You can get rid of mild sores or scabs on your scalp caused by minor infections such as fungal, dandruff, acne and allergic reaction by using simple home remedies. You can try the following treatments that include:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an effective home remedy that can help to get rid of scabs on scalp. The reagent has strong antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to facilitate the healing of sores on the skin.
How to use:
- Mix ¼ glass of apple cider vinegar with equal amount of warm water
- Wash your hair with this solution
- Use warm water to rinse your scalp
- Repeat this procedure once in a day for few weeks
- Olive oil
Olive oil has a natural antiseptic property that can help to heal sores on the scalp. It can also soothe the itchy dry scalp. Also, olive oil is an excellent skin moisturizer that can help to heal fast scabs on scalp.
How to use:
- Warm about ¼ glass of olive oil
- Apply the oil to your scalp and massage it with your hand gently
- Wear a shower cap and leave the oil to stay on your hair during the whole night
- The next morning, wash your hair with shampoo and dry it with a towel
- Repeat the treatment once in a day before going to bed for few weeks
- Alternatively, you can use coconut oil, castor oil or any other essential oil
- Aloe Vera
You can use Aloe Vera gel, cream or juice as a home remedy that can help to get rid of sores on scalp. The herb has the ability to relieve itchiness and facilitate the healing of scabs on scalp.
How to use:
- Apply the Aloe Vera gel, cream or juice directly on your scalp
- Use your hands to spread it all over to the affected area of your scalp
- Allow it to stay on your scalp for about an hour
- Wash your hair with mild shampoo and dry it off with a towel
- Do this treatment twice in a week
- Lemon juice and honey
A combination of lemon juice and honey has a powerful healing property for sores on scalp. Lemon juice has citric acid that acts as the antiseptic while honey has soothing and moisturizing abilities to relieve itchy sores on your scalp.
How to use:
- Mix two tablespoons of lemon juice with equal volume of raw honey
- Apply the mixture to your scalp and spread it using the finger
- Allow it to stay on your scalp for about 30 minutes
- Wash your hair with mild shampoo and warm water
- Repeat this treatment three times in a week until scabs on your scalp go away
- Baking soda
Baking is a good home remedy to treat sores on scalp. The reagent has the astringent properties that can initiate the healing of sore on your scalp.
How to use:
- Mix one teaspoon of the baking powder in one cup of water
- Use the mixture to wash your hair
- Rinse your hair with warm water
- Repeat this treatment twice per week
You can use other home remedies such as the application of Neem oil, sage extract, hydrogen peroxide, chamomile tea, peanut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, tea tree oil or any other suitable natural treatment that can help to get rid sores on your scalp.
When to See a Doctor
You can see your doctor over the sores on your scalp when you notice the following:
- When your scalp has chronic sores that have persisted for more than three weeks without any improvement
- When sores on your scalp are accompanied by other strange symptoms like fever, headache, back pain any others
- If your scalp has chronic sores that can bleed easily when you comp your hair
- If scabs on your scalp are itchy and cause a discomfort
- When your baby has strange sores on scalp that look worrisome