December 1, 2017

Scalp Pain: Causes, Treatment, and More…

The basics

Scalp pain can be caused by a number of things, from easy-to-treat dandruff to infection or infestation. Common symptoms like prickling, burning, or tingling sensations, as well as flaky, itchy skin. Keep reading to learn more about the possible causes and what you can do to treat them.

CAUSES

What causes scalp pain?

Common causes of scalp pain include the following:

Skin disorders

Dermatitis is a common issue associated with a general inflammation of the skin. Symptoms include an itchy rash and swollen skin. You may also experience blisters, crusts, or flakes. These symptoms can be triggered by contact with many common things, such as:

  • certain metals
  • certain soaps
  • poison ivy
  • certain cosmetics
  • pollution
  • water
  • certain laundry detergents
  • certain hair products

Infections

The infections can be painful, sore, or warm to the touch. They often affect the back of the neck, the back of the scalp, or the armpit. Sometimes, pus can be squeezed out from these skin lesions.

Fungal infections of the scalp, such as tinea capitis and tinea versicolor, are most common in children and can result in hair loss.

Infestations

What may look like flakes of dandruff could be lice. If you’re experiencing any itchiness or have red bumps that may crust or ooze, you should seek immediate medical attention. Lice are highly contagious and can live up to 30 days on your scalp or body. Lice eggs can live even longer.

Headaches

A tension headache can also cause scalp pain. Stress, depression, or anxiety can cause or worsen your symptoms, making muscles tense.

 

Other possibilities

Scalp pain can also be caused by:

  • sunburn
  • heat
  • cold
  • wind

This pain can also be worsened or triggered by hair loss. For women, hormones associated with the menstrual cycle may also contribute to scalp pain.

RISK FACTORS

Risk factors to consider

Those with naturally greasy or dry scalp are more prone to scalp pain and may even experience sensitive skin in other areas. You may also be more likely to experience symptoms if you:

  • are stressed
  • are anxious
  • are depressed
  • live in an area with a varying climate or cold temperatures
  • have allergies
  • have asthma
Depending on your symptoms, you may need to seek medical attention. If first-line treatments aren’t relieving your irritation, your doctor may prescribe stronger medication or special shampoo. If special care is needed, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist.

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