Scalp inflammation – symptoms, causes and therapy
This text complies with the specifications of medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been reviewed by medical doctors and physicians.
In scalp inflammation, the symptoms such as itching and burning pain quickly become a significant burden for those affected. (Image: SENTELLO / fotolia.com)
Scalp inflammation: A plethora of triggers for the same condition
Despite very similar symptoms of the inflamed scalp, their causes are often fundamentally different. Typical symptoms of scalp inflammation include:
- Itching and possibly pain,
- Skin redness and swelling,
- other skin irritations such as pimples and pustules,
- Bleeding and scabbing
- as well as sometimes hair loss
- and scarring.
In addition to bacterial pathogens and skin fungi as well as allergies, various skin diseases and parasites come into question. Therefore, the most important prerequisite for a successful therapy is the fastest possible diagnosis of the underlying disease.
The tasks of the scalp
It is vital for our well-being – a healthy scalp. As a foundation for our hair, it visibly shapes our daily appearance. In addition, with its numerous sweat and sebaceous glands, it plays an important role in the temperature and fluid balance of the body and, thanks to its sensitive surface, it provides numerous information about the current environmental conditions. Her dense coat protects her head from strong sunlight as well as from intense cold.
In scalp inflammation, the symptoms such as itching and burning pain quickly become a significant burden for those affected. (Image: SENTELLO / fotolia.com)
Scalp out of balance – possible causes
Even if the symptoms of scalp inflammation are the same – the triggers can be of various kinds. The following overview shows how both bacteria and skin fungi as well as chemical and mechanical stimuli, allergens, parasites and other diseases can unbalance the scalp.
Early recognizable symptoms
It is clearly recognizable when the scalp gets out of balance. For quite harmless starting with dandruff and head itching can develop in a short time a solid inflammation with painful swelling and redness. If one does not take these early recognizable and obvious symptoms seriously, then scalp inflammation can rapidly penetrate from the epidermis into the underlying dermis and further into the subcutis. Heavy scratching can noticeably accelerate this process. If one intervenes too late in this event, in addition to unsightly scars sometimes a more or less strong hair loss is possible.
Varied microflora on the skin surface
Like our entire skin surface, so is the scalp with a diverse microflora of bacteria and dermal fungi – about 1,000 to 100,000 microorganisms per square millimeter – colonized, with whom we get along well. If the normal composition of this microbiome is out of balance for a variety of reasons, then there can be problems. Because when the body’s own microorganisms suddenly multiply excessively and they or foreign microorganisms penetrate through the smallest injuries in the scalp, which can quickly lead to scalp inflammation. Mostly caused by bacteria is also a folliculitis (folliculitis), which is associated with redness and often with purulent pustules. And sometimes other pathogens such as herpesviruses can be active.
Skin fungi of humans and animals
Also different skin fungi can lead to a scalp inflammation. Examples of such fungal diseases of the skin (dermatomycoses) are in particular filamentous fungi. Active in the scalp area is Trichophyton, which spreads in the cornea and hair follicles and can migrate to the surrounding connective tissue. He can also spread to the whiskers and nails. Particularly common in cats but also in dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs is the skin fungus Microsporum canis. It can be transmitted from infested wild and domestic animals to humans and then from person to person. In addition to inflammation of the scalp, for example, it can also lead to hair loss.
The inflammation of the scalp can also cause increased hair loss. (Image: Jürgen Fälchle / fotolia.com)
When yeasts cause disease
Among the skin fungi which cause skin infections in humans are various yeast fungi, such as Candida and the malaria which feed on the secretions of the sebaceous glands. They are a normal part of the human scalp flora, but they can be disease-causing under certain conditions in which they multiply excessively. For example, they can cause seborrheic dermatitis, sometimes associated with severe itching. Scrape the people suffering from it on the head and injure the scalp, creating the ideal conditions for the penetration of other disease-causing germs and possibly massive scalp inflammation.
Also numerous other triggers
In addition to microorganisms and parasites, there are also a variety of other triggers for scalp inflammation. An important role here play different Ingredients of washing, care and styling agents as well as out Barber preparations, which can cause allergies in very intensive use in many people. To hard combs and too hot blow-dry The scalp also overuse and often lead to micro-injuries, which can be the starting point for scalp inflammation. Self strong stress can be the trigger. And sometimes there are other skin diseases such as psoriasis or eczema in eczema, which are the starting point for scalp inflammation.
Sometimes parasites are also active
After all, parasites also provide for a “living” scalp. Kindergarten, school and daycare children are particularly at risk from head lice. These two to four millimeter large flightless insects, visible to the naked eye, are harmless but uncomfortable and disgusting. They can be transmitted to other people through close scalp contact. For this reason, and also because scratching can provoke scalp inflammations, something should be done as quickly as possible against head louse infestation, which incidentally has nothing to do with poor hygiene and can affect anyone.
Treatment of scalp inflammation: who helps in a specific case
Although in most cases of scalp inflammation, the family doctor or the dermatologist is the optimal address. But sometimes, as in the case of parasitic attack from head lice, for example, going to the pharmacy can help.
In some cases, help with scalp inflammation can be sought directly in the pharmacy. (Image: rh2010 / fotolia.com)
Consult a doctor for scalp inflammation
Treating the scalp inflammations based on such different triggers is a great challenge. The symptoms that are almost identical in practically all scalp inflammations, such as severe itching, swelling, redness and inflammation and the associated pain, require very different therapeutic approaches, depending on the underlying trigger. In order to start a targeted therapy, it is therefore essential to recognize as quickly as possible which underlying disease is present in the specific case. And that’s often a very difficult task for the very experienced doctors, given the multitude of possible triggers. Apart from a few typical clinical pictures, which can be recognized at first glance, they require a careful diagnosis. Therefore, the treatment of scalp inflammation as early as possible in the hands of a dermatologist or a dermatologist.
Careful diagnosis is crucial
Only physicians have the necessary diagnostic options in case of doubt. Even if, based on their experience, they already recognize various symptoms, which could trigger the disease, the assumptions are underpinned by targeted examinations. These include examinations of blood, secretions and smears by a laboratory, the creation of cultures and often skin cell, hair and allergy tests. Even if this careful diagnosis requires some time, one should take the time and, until the diagnosis results are available, limit oneself to the treatment of the unpleasant side effects of scalp inflammation, such as pain. For a premature untargeted therapy with the wrong medication is not only shot into the void, but it also often unwanted side effects are generated. These include, for example, resistance due to the unfortunately far too widespread unscrupulous use of antibiotics.
Therapy: The more targeted, the more promising
Basically, most scalp infections are curable. However, the success of the therapies used depends crucially on how well one uses the possible treatment methods.
Give the body’s defense time
In addition, you should allow the body enough time to deal with his body’s defense mechanisms with the disease. Because the inflammation with accompanying symptoms such as itching, swelling, redness and pain is nothing more than the response of the body’s immune system to intruders of all kinds that can harm him. Very often, the body’s own defense systems manage to defeat these invaders as well as other triggers, so that sometimes even a therapy that supports the body’s defense can be dispensed with.
Use medicines as targeted as possible
Sometimes, however, it is appropriate to support the body’s own defense reaction by administering suitable medicines. As soon as the triggers of a head skin are recognized and you know which “enemy” to fight, you can use the medicines displayed for this very purposefully. Against bacterial pathogens are then usually used the most effective pathogen-specific antibiotics. And both by taking drugs (orally) and with locally effective agents. In some cases, however, antibiotic-free preparations can also be used.
Fungal infections of the scalp, such as seborrhoeic dermatitis, are relatively common causes of scalp inflammation. Accordingly, medicamentous therapy must be based on antifungals. (Image: lial88 / fotolia.com)
Against skin fungi are given the appropriate antimycotics, which are usually applied locally as ointments, tinctures, shampoos and rinses. Sometimes, as for example with Microsporum, a combination therapy of orally administered anti-fungal agents in skin and hair follicles and topical agents is also appropriate against the hairy fungal spores. In short, there is no universally effective universal therapy against scalp inflammation caused by bacterial pathogens and the various skin fungi, but one must always proceed in a targeted and pathogen-specific manner. These treatments can be supported by anti-inflammatory agents as well as by locally used preparations that promote the healing process.
Never scratch, even if it itches so hard
Such drugs are also used to treat scalp inflammation that is not triggered by microorganisms. In order to promote the healing process here, a consistent renouncement of care and hairdressing products with recognized allergens is required. In addition, mechanical stimuli recognized as being triggered are to be avoided by combs that are too hard, too hot blow-dry and excessive sun exposure. And a very important rule in any type of head inflammation is: do not scratch it, even if the scalp still itches so hard. Because the minirises in the scalp caused by scratching are a veritable gateway for the penetration and spread of any kind of pathogens and many triggered by them inflammatory sequelae.
Therapy supporting natural medicine
In addition, numerous funds from natural medicine can be effective in supporting therapy. Externally as an envelope, wash, rinse, bath or ointment and internally as tea herbs such as Bärlapp, chamomile, lavender, marigold, sage and pansies can be used. Helpful may also be cold head wrap and possibly rinses with vinegar water. However, the effectiveness of such measures is highly dependent on the particular underlying disease that has triggered a scalp inflammation. Therefore, they should always be agreed with the attending physician or the attending physician. This also applies to a scalp-friendly diet for longer-lasting therapies. This diet should be as basic as possible and contain vitamins of the B group, especially vitamin B12.
In head lice, the walk to the pharmacy
The funds required against head louse infestation and detailed instructions for their use can be bought without prescription in any pharmacy. Even after a single treatment, the unpleasant subtenants on the scalp are largely eliminated. And if you repeat the treatment after one week, the problem should be solved. By the way, head lice are home to pets that you do not have to and can not handle, because most head lice are extremely dangerous for the pets. If no head lice can be detected in spite of an intensive search for head lice, nowadays severe itching should also be considered as possible parasites, including itch mites – especially if the itching also affects other parts of the body.
Prophylaxis is not always easy
Can the development of scalp inflammation be prevented in view of the multitude of possible triggers? Certainly not with a general approach. And sometimes not at all, as in the case of parasite infestation. Nevertheless, following some basic rules of care, hygiene, and nutrition can help reduce the risk here and there.
Avoid unnecessary injuries and irritations
Minor lesions of the scalp are always a gateway for the entry of pathogens into the scalp. Therefore, one should always be careful to avoid unnecessary damage to the scalp. Specifically, this means that you do not treat the hair with too-hard combs, nor blow-dry it too hot, nor expose it to intense sunlight by wearing a light headgear. For daily hair care recommend the mildest possible care products without fragrances and preservatives. This is especially true for the widely used hairstyling preparations and some hairdressing preparations for dyeing, bleaching and styling.
Excessive hygiene can harm
One should also accept that in many cases it is absolutely not necessary to wash the hair daily or even several times a day. Because as important as the regular hair and scalp care is – less can sometimes cause more. It should not be forgotten that every wash, depending on the means used, the temperature of the water and the duration of washing, unbalances the natural scalp flora as well as the activity of the numerous sebaceous glands and sometimes drains the scalp unnecessarily. Then it can happen again and again that the body has problems with the restoration of the natural balance or changes in the composition of the scalp flora are triggered.
Close contact with pets can significantly increase the risk of scalp inflammation, which is why distance should be kept if necessary. This applies even more to stray dogs and cats. (Image: lial88 / fotolia.com)
Care in handling stray animals
With a view to the skin fungi of the skin, which are able to trigger scalp inflammations, a careful handling of many animals is recommended. These include mainly cats, but also dogs, rabbits, rabbits and guinea pigs. Particularly high is the risk of infection, if you come too close to stray cats and dogs in southern Mediterranean countries. This does not only apply to people, but also, for example, to domestic animals taken on holiday. And if especially children have become infected, then the home and cuddly animals that remain at home are in danger. That’s why you should always keep an eye on these when it comes to skin fungus diseases of the scalp.
The development of scalp inflammation can certainly be influenced by the diet. Above all, one problem is an inadequate supply of the eight B vitamins that are involved in the metabolism, several of which are also responsible for a healthy skin. These vitamins have to be supplied to the body with food, since he can not produce them with the exception of vitamin B3. For a sufficient supply of vitamins of the B group, both numerous plant and animal foods are required. This can lead to significant deficiencies in exclusively vegan diets. Important herbal suppliers of B vitamins include vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, spinach and lettuce, lamb’s lettuce and endives, but also lentils, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, bananas and wheat germ. The animal B vitamin suppliers include veal, beef, liver, chicken and turkey, as well as eggs, clams, fatty fish such as herring and mackerel, and various soft cheeses.
Conclusion: Scalp inflammation is not the same as scalp inflammation
Scar inflammation and scalp inflammation can be completely different diseases despite the same symptoms, so that a timely diagnosis of the underlying disease is essential for a targeted therapy. And with a few exceptions, scalp inflammation is well curable. (IVD)
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