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What is Scalp Disorder?

Disorders of the scalp affect many people and are often a source of embarrassment and discomfort for the affected individuals. Scalp problems can involve hair fallout and rash-like symptoms on the skin of the scalp. The density of hair and high levels of oil secretion on the scalp skin makes it more susceptible to infections and inflammatory problems. Some of the disorders can be passed on from one person to another through contact.

Types of Scalp Disorder

Some of the common scalp disorders include:

  • Dandruff: flaky skin
  • Cradle cap: greasy, yellowish crusts or scales seen in infants
  • Head lice: wingless insects that suck blood from the scalp
  • Ringworm: fungal infection
  • Folliculitis: a bacterial infection that affects the hair follicles
  • Psoriasis: an inflammatory skin condition

Symptoms of Scalp Disorder

The symptoms of scalp disorders vary from one disorder to another. They may include noticeable damage to the hair in the form of hair breakage, hair loss, and thinning of hair. The scalp might also appear flaky, crusty or itchy.

Causes of Scalp Disorder

Scalp disorders may be caused due to inflammation, infections (bacterial, viral, parasites or fungal), other associated skin conditions like psoriasis, or as a response to an allergy. Individuals suffering from certain autoimmune diseases may experience scalp problems that may not be significant in the beginning but may become serious with the progression of the disease. Certain disturbances in hormone levels in the body, genetics and nutritional deficiencies can also cause hair loss.

Diagnosis of Scalp Disorder

Your doctor may conduct a thorough examination of your head, scalp, and hair to diagnose scalp disorders. Some disorders may be confirmed by taking scrapings from the infected region and viewing under a microscope.

Treatment for Scalp Disorder

Hair loss is most often managed by treating its underlying cause, or by using wigs, hair transplants or surgical implants. Some scalp disorders can be treated by frequent shampooing with a medicated shampoo or gentle massaging with mineral or baby oil, followed by shampooing with baby shampoo. Lice kits and fine-toothed combs can be used in the treatment of lice infestations commonly seen in children. Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications (given orally or through creams and ointments) to treat bacterial and fungal infections.

Prevention from Scalp Disorder

Scalp problems can be avoided by taking proper care of your scalp and hair with regular washing and shampooing, using clean wide-toothed combs and smooth-tipped brushes, and avoiding rough combing and hard brushing, especially after a bath as wet hair is more prone to breakage. Your hair reflects what you eat, so ensure that your diet contains adequate proteins. You may include protein-rich foods such as fish, eggs, grains, and nuts in your diet for a healthy scalp.