Types of Scalp Problems

Types of Scalp Problems

Types of Scalp Problems

Pityriasis Amientacea
This can be wickedly bothersome: it consists of tight scales in patches anywhere on the scalp. In time, these scales ‘build up’ on themselves, cling closely together and result in hard patches with matted hair at the roots. It can also, and often does, cause hair loss. But hair loss from it is usually reversible. The most common age, it seems, is between thirty-five and fifty. It is not difficult to cure when correctly treated similarly to pso­riasis.

This is a hard, patchy scale most often confined to the upper nape of the neck. It can be maddeningly itchy, and scratching aggravates it by making it bleed. The persistent physical trauma of scratching can cause the flakes to become even harder. It is most common in middle-aged women, and as its name suggests, is associated with nerves and the nervous system. Treatment is similar to that of psoriasis.

Contact Dermatitis
As its name implies, this is an inflammation of the scalp due to con­tact with an allergy-producing product, the most read-about being the severe reaction from hair coloring, which can occur in a very small percentage of those using them. But there are sometimes instances whereby a mild itching and flaking occurs if there is a sensitivity to a specific ingre­dient in one of the hair care products you use. This doesn’t necessarily always occur, which leads me to believe that other factors are also involved, one of them being stress, another food and others a combination of what you use on your hair in the way of styling.

AIDS and Scalp Flaking
I have not yet seen any documentation on the prevalence of ‘dan­druff in those people with AIDS. I have seen many HIV positive males and a few females. The first medical writings on AIDS were published around 1988, and some medical journals cite eczema as an early sign. Other symptoms may include premature greying, a flaky or dry skin and extra hair shedding. But heavy scalp flaking is not uncommon. Stress can also be a factor in these, and of course the stress involved in suffering from AIDS is huge. Also, AIDS drugs can cause hair fall and skin flaking.

This is an inflammation of the hair follicle whereby a tiny pustule is formed at the hair follicle’s opening. It can cause intense itching and tenderness – and result in the hair of the follicles affected being shed prematurely. Treatment with antiseptic creams or lotions, or sometimes an antibiotic, clears the condition. It is another one with sporadic flare-ups.

Not often mentioned these days, although rare, it does occur, and should be borne in mind with pre-pubescent children. Also, the introduction of the antibiotic griseofulvin has almost wiped it out. Ringworm is a fungus infection and can result in scaly circular bald patches. It is easy to diagnose and the antibiotic works very rapidly.

This often affects the scalp but is relatively easy to diagnose because the face and cheeks show signs of red blotches and scaly patches. The scalp almost always has some flaking and itching.

Lichen Simplex
These are small, round, flat and hard skin surfaces with an almost leathery look. It is very much alike to neurodermatitis, but the con­tinual scratching and rubbing cause a ‘lichenfication’ – a thickening of the area that is constantly rubbed. Stress is thought to play a role in this, too. Salicylic acid cream together with sulphur and tar extract applied on a daily basis is beneficial. Alternatively, 1 per cent or 0.5 per cent of cortisone is often used.

You will have seen, yet again, how often stress affects scalp prob­lems. Stress is, unfortunately, impossible to adequately control, but its effect should not be forgotten in any skin or hair complaint.

Tick Bites
Don’t forget these in any scalp itching, particularly in the summer and autumn when ticks are at their height. The wonderful word ‘no-see-ums’ sums up ticks, and on warm, humid summer evenings they can certainly be bothersome. The only way to adequately deal with them is to wash your hair before going to bed.


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