4 Common Diseases That Affect Scalp

A scalp is a usual type of skin that is covered with thick hair and consists of various sebaceous glands and sweat glands.

The scalp is consists of five layer tissue:

  • The skin - It is a thick layer of the scalp and is richly endowed with sebaceous glands.
  • Connective tissue - It is made up of fat lobules and the principal blood vessel and nerve of the scalp lie in this layer.
  • Aponeurosis - It is a fibrous sheet that is found over much of the vertex of the skull.
  • Loose connective tissue - It is the thin layer that accounts for mobility of the scalp on the underlying skull.
  • Periosteum - It covers the outer surface of the bones of the skull.

Scalp skin is less sensitive as compared to other parts of the skin but it involves high prevalence of pruritus. The scalp can easily develop other skin problems as well such as dandruff, itching, odor and many more. With increased skin problems and conditions related to the skin surface, the scalp becomes more sensitive and more likely to develop severe scalp conditions. There are various problems of the scalp and here is the list of some of the scalp problems.

1. Tinea capitis

Tinea capitis, also known as scalp ringworm is an infection of the scalp which is caused by the fungi known as dermatophytes. Dermatophytes commonly infect the keratinous tissues. The superficial layers of the epidermis, especially the stratum corneum, and the keratin rich appendages, such as the hair and nails of the living host, are invaded by these dermatophyte Most often, it occurs in school age children but it can also occur in adults. Tinea capitis is characterized by redness and scaling of the scalp which looks like dandruff and it is accompanied by itching, hair loss, and bald patches. It is a disease that affects the hair shaft and hair follicles.

In severe cases, tinea capitis can cause swelling and pus from an infected area and some children may also experience fever and swollen glands in the neck. Tinea capitis is a contagious disorder and it can contaminate things like hair brushes and towel. Also, these infections can live in the environment for a long period and hence, this disease can develop after months. The severity of this disease can vary from one person to another and the symptoms may also differ.

2. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin disease which not only affects the skin but also affects the hair of an individual. It causes thinning of hair and hair loss. It can also affect the scalp and it is known as scalp psoriasis. According to the researchers, almost half of the people who are diagnosed with psoriasis have scalp psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic and painful condition that adversely affect the quality of life of the sufferer. It is characterized by the skin lesions that are localized or generalized and are accompanied by itching, stinging and brain. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition that is associated with systemic manifestations, especially arthritis.

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Lesions of psoriasis are pink or red in color and they are covered with silvery white scales. These plaques or lesions can occur in different shapes and size and it can also develop in the skin that is damaged. There are different types of plaques in psoriasis:

  • Chronic stable plaque psoriasis - It is the most common type of plaque which appears symmetrically and most often it involves areas like knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp.
  • Guttate psoriasis - It is sometimes triggered by a sore throat and is characterized by patches that are numerous in number but small in size.
  • Unstable psoriasis - In this type of psoriasis, the patches lose their sharp edge and sometimes join up. Sometimes it causes the skin to become red.
  • Pustular psoriasis - It is characterized by the bump that is filled with white and thick fluid that is composed of white blood cells.

3. Folliculitis

Folliculitis is defined as an inflammation of hair follicles and it is characterized by red bumps that are often itchy and painful. It is a condition in which a dome shaped pus bump appears at the opening of the hair follicles. Folliculitis can occur on any part of the body. Folliculitis can be itchy and sometimes it can be tender.

Folliculitis can be caused by various factors such as irritation, many times when the hair regrows after shaving, the hair becomes regrown and causes inflammation. Occlusion is another common cause of folliculitis, when the hair products are greasy, can clog the follicle and cause inflammation.

4. Scalp pruritus

Scalp pruritus is defined as a sensation that provokes an individual to scratch. Patients suffering from scalp pruritus experience itching sensation in the scalp that is quite different from the itch that occurs on skin locations. According to some studies, there are various factors that can lead to the development of this disease, such as an excessive intake of caffeine. Yes, there are some evidence that suggests that caffeine intake increases the serotonin level and can exacerbate the condition. Also, it is believed that stress can also exacerbate the itching of the scalp.  

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