The scalp has the task of protecting the head from external influences. At the same time, it ensures healthy and beautiful hair. Problems with the scalp, such as itching, burning or dandruff, are not always immediately serious. However, you should not simply ignore these signs that your body is sending you. There are very effective means and methods to counteract this.
What are scalp problems?
If the scalp is healthy, it ensures shiny, vital hair . Itchy, scaly and excessively greasy scalp, on the other hand, indicates health problems that should be clarified by a doctor. At best, a dermatologist should make the exact diagnosis and initiate treatment.
What can be the triggers for scalp problems?
The causes of scalp problems are varied. Sometimes it is due to one's own behavior, in other cases it is due to underlying diseases. These triggers can be considered in most cases:
Diseases: Inflammatory skin diseases such as neurodermatitis, seborrheic eczema or internal diseases such as psoriasis and fungal infections can trigger symptoms.
Climatic factors: dry heating air, UV radiation
Hair styling: hot blow-drying, wrong care and styling products
Mental stress: stress, depression
Different scalp problems and their signs
Common signs of scalp problems are burning and itching combined with redness. However, the symptoms can also occur separately.
Since numerous nerves end on the scalp, the sensation of itching can be particularly pronounced. In this case, there is often a barrier disorder in the skin , which impedes it in its protective function. The result: pathogens can more easily trigger infections. If you scratch more to counteract the itching, you will only make the problem worse by making the scalp even more sensitive.
If you have an itchy scalp, you should always see a doctor who can rule out possible causes and initiate treatment. In addition to diseases , hormonal changes, parasitic colonization (such as head lice), sunburn and malnutrition can also be the underlying causes. Taking certain medications should also be considered as a trigger for an itchy scalp.
Many men and women are affected by a dry scalp. It causes various symptoms such as severe itching, redness, burning, dandruff and feelings of tension . This can be caused by environmental factors such as UV rays, cold or heat, as they can irritate the scalp . Other triggers for dry scalp are stress and intolerance to cosmetics as well as allergies to certain foods. In most cases, micro-inflammation is responsible for the pain.
If you suffer from a dry scalp, you should only wash your hair with lukewarm water , because hot showers remove moisture from the skin. It is also recommended to air dry your hair instead of using a hair dryer. Mild shampoo helps with pain and discomfort. We especially recommend a few drops of olive or coconut oil, which are gently massaged in and allowed to take effect overnight.
In contrast to the dry scalp, there is a greasy scalp, which is often accompanied by oily and yellowish dandruff . The scalp becomes greasy when there is increased sebum production . Tallow consists mainly of fatty acids and proteins and is an important part of the protective acid mantle that protects the skin from external influences such as pathogenic germs and fungi. Sebum also has the task of making the hair supple and hard-wearing.
Itching often occurs with an oily scalp, as it has to do with a shift in the pH value and a disturbed skin barrier. Various causes have to be considered. On the one hand, a greasy hairline and stringy hair with a greasy shine can be due to a lack of hygiene . Much more often, however, exactly the opposite is the case: Frequent hair washing, strenuous styling or unsuitable care products have a negative effect on sebum production. Other possible causes are changes in hormone levels or a genetic predisposition .
Head fungal infections (tinea capitis)
Mushrooms that are on the body are initially something completely normal. It becomes problematic when they start to spread uncontrollably , as this can have a major impact on well-being. If the scalp is affected by a fungal infestation, itching and even hair loss are often the result.
In many cases, fungi are transmitted by pets such as cats, because they often carry the pathogen. A greasy scalp can also contribute to the infection, since the substances in the sebum serve as a breeding ground for fungi . These secrete metabolic products, which can then lead to inflammation of the skin.
If symptoms are not particularly severe, antifungal solutions and creams can help. If the infestation is particularly bad, it is advisable to see a doctor who will prescribe antibiotics if necessary.
Dandruff and scaly scalp
Normally, healthy skin renews itself every 28 days , with dead cells sloughing off the top layer of skin and being replaced by new ones. In some cases , this process is accelerated , resulting in dandruff. Depending on the skin type and the number of skin cells, these condense into clumps of cells. The scalp comes off , with white to yellowish scales appearing in the hair.
Dandruff is often harmless. Special anti-dandruff shampoos can quickly help alleviate the problem. Sometimes, however, there is a serious illness behind it. Therefore, it is advisable in this case to consult a doctor.
A distinction must be made between dry and greasy dandruff. There are different reasons for this.
Skin diseases as a cause of flaky scalp
In some cases, skin diseases are the causes of flaky scalp. These may differ from each other in terms of other symptoms.
Dry scalp with scaling (Pityriasis simplex capillitii)
In this disease, dry scalp is accompanied by disruption of the hydrolipidic film , which affects the composition of the microflora. This creates micro-inflammatory foci that are not firmly localized and trigger the dandruff.
Visible dry scales with cell clusters between 100 and 1000 corneocytes are the result. These are accompanied by an agonizing itching and redness. In the case of this disease, refrain from frequent hair washing, as this can worsen the clinical picture.
Treatment can usually be easily done at home. Use shampoos that regulate the pH value, have an anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing effect.
Seborrheic Scalp Eczema (Seborrheic Dermatitis)
This skin condition is common in middle-aged men and is characterized by greasy scales that appear yellowish . It is not a contagious disease.
Androgen , a male sex hormone, leads to increased sebum production . The causes have not yet been finally clarified, but certain yeast fungi could be responsible. The disease can also be inherited.
The course of treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms . For example , antifungal agents and cortisone preparations are suitable. Shampoos for the scalp area also support medical therapy. These products should be antifungal and anti-dandruff. The affected skin areas often recover quickly after treatment.
Atopic scalp eczema (neurodermatitis)
Atopic dermatitis is characterized by dry scaling and irritated, itchy and inflamed scalp. The eczema is not always equally pronounced, but occurs in phases.
Genetic predispositions are possible causes. However, the individual characteristics are strongly dependent on various factors. These include allergies, bacteria and mental illnesses, to name just a small selection.
Dandruff-dissolving preparations can be used for a short time. Mild shampoos and scalp tonics provide support. This is intended to soothe the skin and prolong phases without flare-ups.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease . Only in rare cases is it limited exclusively to the scalp. The symptoms are difficult to distinguish from those of seborrheic dermatitis. Sharply demarcated and reddened, sometimes slightly raised accumulations of skin flakes appear.
Cell renewal is very accelerated in this disease. There are many options available for treatment, but they should only be carried out by professionals. Shampoos with salicylic acid, selenium disulphide, light ichthyol and tea tree oil can be used to support this at home.
How to deal with the different scalp problems?
No matter what symptoms you discover: A disease of the scalp should always be taken seriously . First, try to stay away from irritating and inflammatory shampoos and styling products . It is important that you arrange a doctor's appointment at the same time, because this is the only way to make a diagnosis and arrange for further treatment.
There are also some care products on the market, such as vitamin C serum , that have been specially developed for people with scalp problems. Try to find something that is good for you and your skin. A healthy scalp not only feels better, but also ensures strong and vital hair.