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What Can Cause a Painful and Sore Scalp?

Updated on June 10, 2015

Is Your Scalp Pain Causing You Discomfort?

Is your sore scalp causing you discomfort and pain in your day to day life? The pain you feel can vary depending on the severity of the scalp condition that is afflicting you. There are different kinds of conditions that can lead to a painful scalp ranging from bacterial infections, fungal infections, oily scalp, or even headaches. In certain cases the ailments will go away but if you feel persistent pain then you need to consult with your doctor. Several scalp conditions have similar symptoms making a diagnosis from a medical professional necessary to receive proper treatment.

Effects of Scalp Folliculitis

Bacterial Infections that Cause Scalp Pain

Folliculitis - Folliculitis is the inflammation of one or more hair follicles. Folliculitis can be caused by blockage of the hair follicle, infected wound, or friction caused by tight clothing. The type of bacteria that causes folliculitis is Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria. The form of folliculitis that causes hair loss on the scalp is called folliculitis decalvans. The symptoms of the infection are itching, rashes, and the development of pimples around the hair follicle. Hair loss may occur as well as scarring on the scalp. In order to treat this condition your doctor will prescribe either oral or topical antibiotic medication. Folliculitis can be spread to other parts of the body so avoid touching the infecting the area and touching another part of your body.

Impetigo - Impetigo is a skin infection that is caused by bacteria. The two forms of bacteria that can cause the infection are staphylococcal bacteria or streptococcal bacteria. Impetigo is highly contagious and can be spread easily. Due to the infection spreading through physical contact and through sharing items, children are the most common sufferers and carriers. The symptoms of impetigo are the development of sores, blisters that are filled with pus and red rashes on the skin. In order to treat the symptoms and prevent the spread of the infection your doctor may prescribe a topical cream. If you are suffering from a more severe case of impetigo an oral antibiotic medication may be helpful as well.

A Rare Case of Scalp Folliculitis

Fungal Infection of Your Scalp

Ringworm - Ringworm of the scalp, also known as tinea capitis, is a fungal infection. The symptoms of ringworm is the development of a circular red rash. Tinea capitis causes itchy skin and hair loss as well. Ringworm is very contagious and can spread through skin to skin contact. You can also become infected if you share personal items with someone that has ringworm. Pets can spread the infection as well. After diagnosing the condition doctor may provide oral medication to treat the ringworm. It may take the medication from a month or longer to stop the infection. In order to keep those living with you safe avoid sharing combs, towels, linens, and anything else that comes in contact with an infected person.

Scalp Plaque from Psoriasis

Psoriasis - Scalp psoriasis is a common type of psoriasis. Psoriasis is a condition in which your skin develops silvery scales, plaque, and excess dry skin. The other symptoms of scalp psoriasis are itching, soreness, bleeding, and hair loss. Psoriasis occurs when your immune system begins to attack your skin cells and your body begins to rapidly produce more skin cells. If you suffer from psoriasis then you most likely have a family history of the condition. Psoriasis can worsen from smoking, stress, skin irritation, and weather. In order to treat your condition your doctor may prescribe a topical treatment or a medicated shampoo. In the event of a more severe case of psoriasis you may need to take oral medication (antibiotics). Another form of treatment that can be used along with medication is light therapy where the ultraviolet light slows down the grown of the skin cells.

Effects of an Oily Scalp

Oily Scalp - An oily scalp can not only make your hair look greasy but it can cause your skin to suffer as well. The most common conditions that occur due to an oily scalp are seborrheic dermatitis and cradle cap. Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition in which your scalp develops scales, redness, and dandruff due to an overactive sebaceous (oil) glands. Cradle cap is the term used for Infants that are affected by seborrheic dermatitis. To prevent your scalp from developing itchiness, inflammation, dermatitis, and soreness you need to manage the oil on your scalp by using the proper shampoo. Shampoos that target oily scalp have the following key ingredients: coal tar, salicylic acid, and zinc pyrithione. The three ingredients combined help to reduce inflammation, clear flaky scalp, and remove scalp irritants.

Tension Headaches

Muscle Contraction Headache - Muscle contraction headaches, or tension headaches, affects the scalp, neck, and head. Tension headaches occur when the muscles on the neck or scalp become sore or contract. The causes of this type of headaches can be due to stress, anxiety, depression, or an injury. The pain you may feel from a muscle contraction headache feels as though there is a lot of built up pressure in your scalp, temples, or back of your neck and it is felt all over. The amount of times a tension headache can occur may vary from an isolated incident to daily events. In order to treat a tension headache you can get a massage or over the counter medication (aspirin or ibuprofen). If you are continuously suffering from these form of headaches its best to work with a medical professional to find the root cause to prevent them.

Hair Styling Can Cause A Sore Scalp

Hair Styling - How you style your hair may cause you to have a sore scalp. Tight braids, ponytails or hair extensions can put excess strain on your scalp. A very tight ponytail pulls on the scalp and your follicles making your scalp feel tender. In order to avoid pain from having a ponytail its best to have it looser or have it closer to the nape of your neck. Make sure to massage your scalp to ensure proper blood flow as well. Hair extensions can also be damaging if woven in tightly or sealed with heat. Extensions that are woven in tightly tug on the follicles and can cause hair loss. When hair is sealed with heat it can potentially burn the scalp or cause an allergic reaction.

Tips To Avoid A Sore Scalp

1. Wash your hair regularly and do not keep it too damp.

2. Avoid sharing personal items with those that are infected.

3. Do not keep a hair style that will pull at your follicles.

4. Be careful if your scalp has a cut or bruise.

5. Do not touch the infected area and then touch a different part of your body

Do not let your scalp stay in a poor condition. Learn more about your scalp and other causes of scalp pain


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