With a spectrum of hair care products available online and over-the-counter, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to getting scalp treatments for just about any scalp and hair condition.
However, what do you do when these treatments aren’t enough, and when should your condition warrant a visit to a scalp specialist? Here are 10 signs to look out for!
A persistently itchy scalp that lasts for several weeks or more could signify anything from head lice to dermatitis. Other accompanying symptoms to take note of include:
- Pus-filled bumps or blisters
- Hair loss
- Open sores
If over-the-counter products don’t work, and you experience other worrying symptoms, visit your hair and scalp specialist for a proper scalp analysis.
Although a persistently itchy scalp can be frustrating, it is important to avoid scratching your scalp to prevent aggravating your condition and causing further damage. Instead, let your healthcare provider know. They may be able to provide treatment options that help alleviate the itch and soothe your skin.
Flakes or scales
Flaking or scaling of the scalp could be caused by underlying conditions such as:
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Eczema (Atopic dermatitis)
- Fungal infections
- Contact dermatitis
Take note of how your scalp skin flakes — are they white or yellowish? Are they more pronounced and silvery? These could clue you in on what kind of underlying condition you may have.
Treatment and management of your scalp is highly dependent on its underlying cause, and a scalp specialist will be able to determine this with a thorough scalp analysis and various non-invasive tests.
Hair loss is a natural part of our hair growth cycle, and the average person can lose 50 to 100 hairs per day. However, if you experience thinning hair or bald patches, this may be a sign of an underlying disease. The most common types of treatable hair loss conditions are:
- Androgenetic alopecia — Androgenetic alopecia is a hair loss condition caused by overstimulation of the hair follicles due to androgens. This, in turn, leads to shorter and thinner strands of hair. Men start to lose hair above both temples and recedes, while women often experience it at the top of their head and middle part.
- Alopecia areata — Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles, causing patchy hair loss.
These types of hair loss can be treated with microneedling, or a combination of treatments to help rejuvenate the scalp, stimulate the hair follicles, and regain hair growth.
Scalp pain or tenderness
A painful or tender scalp could be caused by anything from too much tension or stress to a scalp infection. Scalp tenderness or sensitivity could be the result of:
- Wearing hairstyles that are too tight
- Scalp infections
- Overexposure to the sun
- Injury or trauma to the scalp
- Neurological issues
- Allergic reactions
- Alopecia or hair loss
- Viral diseases, like shingles or measles
- Acne or cysts
If your prolonged scalp pain is accompanied by symptoms such as fever or swelling, it would be ideal to consult a scalp professional or doctor to diagnose your condition.
Persistent redness or irritation
Not rinsing the shampoo off properly during a shower can cause a red and irritated scalp. However, a persistently red or irritated scalp could be a sign of contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis refers to an inflamed and sensitive scalp caused by contact with an irritant or substance that triggered an allergic reaction. In severe cases, you may also experience blistering, discolouration or an itchy rash.
The first step to alleviating the redness and discomfort is to find out what’s irritating your scalp. A scalp specialist or board-certified dermatologist can help.
An unpleasant-smelling scalp should go away with proper shampooing. It is generally caused by the build up of dead skin cells, sweat and oil. However, scalp odour could also be a sign of a bacterial, fungal or yeast infection.
Visit your hair and scalp specialist for a thorough skin analysis. You may just need an intensive scalp cleansing treatment, or medicated creams and shampoos.
Scalp lesions refer to bumps, blisters or discoloured patches that form in some areas of the scalp. In severe cases, these lesions can bleed or be filled with pus, which could be a sign of an infection.
It is important not to scratch your scalp lesion, and to use a gentle shampoo to prevent further irritation to the scalp. Your medical professional can run tests on your scalp to determine the cause of your scalp lesions, and to provide a proper treatment plan.
Product sensitivity could be a sign of a hyperactive or hypersensitive scalp. A visit to your scalp specialist can help determine what products are causing the irritation, and what alternatives can be used for your sensitive scalp. Generally, your symptoms should subside when you find the right hair care product for your scalp.
A proper consultation and skin analysis can also help discern if you have any other underlying conditions that require medical attention
Changes to scalp texture
Changes in scalp texture can be caused by excessive oil production, a dehydrated scalp or a combination of other factors, such as:
- Underlying skin conditions — Underlying skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema, could cause thickened or raised patches on the scalp, changing scalp texture.
- Scalp infections — A bacterial, fungal or yeast infection of the scalp could result in pus-filled bumps, sores or inflamed skin, changing the texture of certain areas in the scalp.
- Hormonal changes — Changes in scalp texture could be the result of hormonal fluctuations. These hormonal imbalances can affect the scalp’s texture and sebum production.
Other than cosmetic concerns, changes in your scalp texture could indicate underlying conditions. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and changes to skin texture, including the scalp, could be a sign of other physiological changes in the body. This makes it important to rule out serious conditions, and to get appropriate treatment when needed.
Scalp treatment in Singapore
When medicated shampoos and topical creams don’t seem to work, you may need professional scalp treatment.The first step is to find out what’s causing your hair and scalp symptoms, and this can be done with a quick visit to your scalp specialist.
TrichoLab is a hair scalp specialist in Singapore, dedicated to providing hair and scalp solutions to address a variety of scalp concerns through science-based treatments and procedures. Schedule a consultation with our professionals today!