Spots, scabs, bumps or rashes on your scalp can have a variety of different causes, but the first thing to know is that they’re generally not anything horribly serious, despite being distressing!
Your first step is to work out what’s going on. Here are some possible causes of scabs on the scalp - check to see if any apply to you.
Ongoing chronic skin conditions:
Scalp psoriasis: can cause thick silver-grey scales or bumps over the scalp, behind the ears and around the hairline
Scalp eczema: irritated, red or inflamed eczema on the scalp
Scalp or seborrhoeic dermatitis: itchy, flaky or scabby skin, which can be aggravated by a yeast infection or dandruff.
Infections of hair shaft or skin:
Scalp acne: clogged pores, which can be aggravated by infection
Folliculitis: usually a bacterial or fungal infection of the hair follicle
Ringworm of the scalp: an itchy fungal infection of the hair and skin
Impetigo: a bacterial infection that usually needs antibiotics to clear up
Chickenpox or shingles: appears first as pustules/spots and then as itchy scabs
Contact dermatitis: an allergic reaction to something you’ve touched or used on your scalp
Cuts or minor injuries: if you’ve scraped or hit your head, it can get infected and scab over
Head lice: tiny parasites on the scalp which can be intensely itchy and cause scabs if there’s a bad infestation; easily diagnosed as you can see the lice as you comb through the hair
Toiletries: a sensitivity to the shampoo or body wash you’re using can cause itchiness and scabs
Stress: even if you're keeping your dry or sensitive skin under control most of the time, stress can cause a flare-up and result in scabs or bumps on the scalp.
Poor diet: if your scalp is breaking out, have a look at what you've been eating; maybe you're sensitive to something or haven't been getting the nutrients you need to keep skin healthy and resilient.
Quite often, given a bit of care and attention, you can make changes that will manage the problem pretty effectively. If your scalp problems don’t clear up within a week, is very painful, keeps recurring or is showing signs of infection, then see your GP.
Three simple strategies for healthier scalps:
Every other day: wash hair with a SLS-free, unfragranced, non-irritating natural shampoo, like this one from Balmonds, which is simply a very pure and gentle wash without any aggravating nasties!
Every week: Treat your scalp with an overnight purifying, conditioning treatment, like this award-winning, antimicrobial Scalp oil from Balmonds!
All the time: boost your body’s resilience with a good diet and de-stressing strategies. See our info hub for lifestyle changes you can make to keep your skin in healthy condition.