What Scalp Conditions Cause Hair Loss?

Linda White

Hair loss has a variety of causes. Sometimes it has to do with the hair products you use. Other times, anxiety or stress can be linked to the problem. Sometimes, though, scalp conditions are a known cause of hair loss.

When your hair starts to thin or fall out, there is usually an underlying problem. Getting to the bottom of the problem is essential. The sooner you figure out what your condition might be, the sooner you can treat it.

Hair that starts thinning or falling out can be embarrassing. Sometimes, it can even cause irritation and pain. Because there are so many different possibilities, the treatment options can vary greatly.

Some people experience a sore scalp where hair is thinning. Again, this is often due to a skin condition or other health issues. Thinning hair can also cause itching, which unfortunately can lead to the loss of even more of your hair.

Is a Scalp Condition Causing My Hair to Fall Out?

This guide will focus on some of the most common scalp conditions. Many of these conditions have similar symptoms. Knowing what to look for is the key to being able to manage the problem. Unfortunately, not all are completely treatable. But, most people with a skin issue on the scalp can manage the problem.

Most conditions that lead to hair loss are infectious conditions. An infection doesn’t always go away on its own. Even if a condition isn’t completely treatable, knowing how to manage it can help to keep your symptoms under control. Hair that keeps falling out can be embarrassing and irritating.

Let’s look at some of the conditions that can cause it, and what you can do about it:

Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions. It occurs when a buildup of cells form. This buildup can create scaly, dry, itchy patches of skin on the scalp. Psoriasis can occur all over. Or, it can be centralized to one location, and you may only notice one or two patches.

Sometimes, it can be harder to notice this condition at first when it’s on the scalp. This is especially true if you have a lot of hair covering up the dry patches of skin. But, if your scalp starts to itch or burn, and you notice some redness, it’s worth it to take the time and get a closer look. The scaly patches can cause a lot of itching and flaking.

Psoriasis on its own can cause such a buildup that it becomes hard for your hair to grow. You may notice some thinning in certain spots. The big problem, though, is the itching. Whenever you scratch your head, you could be doing severe damage.

Scratching at the scalp can help to pull hair out, or make it easier to fall out on its own. You also put yourself at risk for infection. If you scratch enough and make your scalp bleed, debris and bacteria can get into the open wound.

Can Scalp Psoriasis Cause Permanent Hair Loss?

It is considered to be an immune system issue. There are many things that can trigger scalp psoriasis. These triggers vary from person to person. Sometimes, something as simple as a stressful situation can cause someone to experience a flare-up.

The good news is that psoriasis doesn’t cause permanent hair loss. Any thinning should be temporary. Unfortunately, this isn’t a ‘curable’ condition. Psoriasis isn’t fully treatable. It can be easily managed, though, once you know your triggers and how to take care of your scalp.

Most people with the condition find ways to manage psoriasis and live completely normal lives. Once you’re able to manage the condition, your hair should regrow and stop falling out from scratching.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect the scalp. There isn’t a ‘worm’ involved in any way. The name of this condition refers to the shape of the rash that can form. Ringworm on the scalp is known as tinea capitis.

When it forms on the scalp, this fungal infection can cause patches of hair loss all over. It starts off small but can grow and spread rapidly if not taken care of right away. It forms scaly patches that cause hair loss. This happens when the fungus seeps into the hair follicles, and the hair becomes brittle. It can break off easily and makes it nearly impossible for new strands to grow.

Ringworm is fairly easy to diagnose because of its shape. Some more symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Oozing, scaly patches

Like most fungal infections, ringworm is a contagious scalp condition. You can even get it from pets. Thankfully, it is a condition that can be treated, unlike psoriasis. Fungal infections can be hard to get rid of if not taken care of immediately. But, using an antifungal medication can get cure the problem completely over time. Once the fungus has been cleared up, the bald patches caused by it should return to normal.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition. When it affects the scalp, it can cause oily and scaly patches that can hurt to touch. Seborrheic dermatitis occurs when the sebaceous glands of your scalp start producing too much oil.

Your scalp produces a certain amount of sebum all the time. Your body typically regulates this, so the right amount of oils are produced and distributed. Someone with this condition produces too much sebum. That might not seem like such a bad thing at first. It’s better than a dry scalp, right? Not necessarily. In fact, too much production of this natural oil can cause a buildup.

The real problem with seborrheic dermatitis when it comes to hair loss is that it causes a lot of itching. Most people use a dandruff shampoo or other treatment to help get rid of the problem. In the meantime, the clogging up of hair follicles makes it hard for new hair to grow. It also will likely trigger your desire to scratch at your scalp. As stated above, scratching can lead to hair loss, as well as increase your risk for infection.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis is an infection of your hair follicles. Follicles need to be healthy to grow new hair all the time. When follicles become infected in any way, they aren’t able to do their job well. Not only will new hair not grow, but your existing strands may not be held to the scalp well enough to withstand everyday ‘wear and tear.’

Folliculitis can be caused by a fungus, bacteria, or even a virus. Some signs of this condition include:

  • Clusters of red bumps
  • Inflammation
  • Pus-filled clusters
  • Blisters
  • Crusting over of blisters

Treating whatever type of infection is harming the hair follicles is the only way to get rid of this condition. In most cases, hair loss is temporary. Once you treat the infection, your hair follicles will go back to normal. If the infection is/was severe, though, you can experience permanent hair loss in some places. Unfortunately, this can lead to bald patches throughout the head.

Paying attention to the signs and symptoms of folliculitis is important. The sooner you recognize it, the sooner you can look into treating it effectively.

Lichen Simplex

The big problem with Lichen Simplex is that it causes nearly constant itching. You may have the consistent desire to scratch at your scalp with this condition. Something irritates the skin of the scalp and causes it to itch.

The itching sensation can almost be unbearable for some people. It becomes hard to ignore and avoid. When you scratch your head all the time, though, the skin becomes thicker. Unfortunately, thicker skin leads to even more scratching. As you know from earlier in this article, scratching can cause a lot of problems, and it can cause your hair to fall out.

Constant itching can also cause your hair follicles to become irritated. Follicles that are irritated or inflamed can also lead to hair loss.

A topical steroid may be needed to treat Lichen Simplex. It will help to reduce inflammation and the feeling of itchiness on the scalp.

Lichen Planus

Lichen Planus is an inflammatory condition. If can affect different areas of the skin and mouth. It is considered to be a type of autoimmune disease. But, the exact cause isn’t known yet. Symptoms of this condition include flat red bumps on the skin (scalp). These bumps can cause an extreme itching sensation.

Unfortunately, Lichen Planus can lead to permanent hair loss or bald spots on the head. You can treat it using topical steroid medications. Antihistamines can help to reduce the itching sensation. Antibiotics are also sometimes prescribed to help reduce your chances of hair loss.

loss of hair and painful scalp

How Do I Diagnose a Scalp Condition?

As you might notice, many of the conditions listed here have similar symptoms. Many skin conditions of the scalp cause itching, redness, and inflammation. But, they can’t all be treated the same. Some conditions may not respond to treatment at all. Instead, they have to be managed through lifestyle changes and product choices.

If you’re uncertain about your symptoms, a dermatologist will be able to determine your condition. You may be required to use prescription antibiotics or topical solutions to treat a problem.

Because one of the top symptoms of so many scalp conditions is itching, it’s essential to avoid it at all costs. Scratching at your scalp, as stated above, can lead to many more problems. No matter what scalp condition you might have, avoiding scratching your skin is imperative.

What Other Factors Cause Thinning Hair?

Aside from scalp or skin conditions, there are dozens of possible factors that can lead to hair loss. If you’ve gone through the conditions listed here and don’t believe they apply to you, take a look at some other possibilities. Losing your hair can be unnerving. Knowing what causes it can help you to fix the problem. Some other common reasons include:

  • Physical stress: When your body goes through a traumatic or stressful situation, it can respond in different ways. This type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium. Your body can shock your hair into falling out. Thankfully, these situations only create temporary hair loss. In most cases, your hair will return to normal with no permanent damage.
  • Emotional stress: Emotional trauma can have the same effect on your body as physical trauma. Stress is often linked to hair falling out. This occurs because your body’s immune system becomes weakened. It can attack your hair follicles. When the follicles are compromised, hair can fall out easily. It also becomes harder for new hair to grow. Consistent stress can become a big problem for healthy hair growth.
  • Dietary issues: Many different dietary issues can lead to hair loss. For example, not getting enough protein (the building blocks of hair). Too much Vitamin A can also lead to hair loss. If you think your nutritional choices might be linked to losing your hair, try to create a diet plan that encourages hair growth.
  • Hormone changes: Everything from pregnancy to hypothyroidism can be linked to hair loss. If your body isn’t creating enough of the hormones you need for healthy hair growth, you could notice thinning reasonably quickly.
  • Styling choices: Over-styling your hair may not seem like a big deal. But, the constant pulling and tugging at your roots can cause stress on the follicles. It can weaken them to the point where it’s easy for your hair to fall out.

scalp problems that lead to thinning hair

Is the Loss of Hair Preventable?

If you have a scalp condition, treating it is the only way to prevent hair loss. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, it’s not possible to 100% prevent the loss of hair. People get different conditions for different reasons. There are also extra circumstances that can cause hair loss.

You may not be able to prevent this problem altogether. But, there are a few tips you can keep in mind to lessen your chances of hair loss for any reason.

These tips are useful for both men and women who are experiencing hair thinning or loss:

  1. Don’t use high heat hair tools. They can make your hair brittle, making each strand easier to break and fall off.
  2. Make sure your diet is right for hair growth. Things like dark leafy greens and lean means can contribute to a healthy head of hair.
  3. Use the right products. Sometimes, a product itself can lead to hair loss. But, there are also dozens of helpful over-the-counter products on the market. Try to find shampoo specifically designed to restore or encourage hair growth. Switching up your products to something more practical can make a big difference in how quickly and full your hair grows.
  4. Boost your scalp’s circulation by massing it. A scalp massage can do so much more than just relax you. It can also improve your scalp’s circulation, which stimulates the follicles that will grow your hair. You don’t need someone else to do the massage for you. Simply rub your fingers in slow circles all over the scalp until you’re satisfied. Even a few minutes a day can benefit your locks. It’s a great way to reduce stress (another hair loss culprit) and encourage growth at the same time.
  5. Avoid chemicals at all cost. Both men and women get their hair colored professionally. Some women also get perms. Any chemical processing or harsh product chemicals can create problems. You could be allergic to an ingredient, have a sensitive scalp, etc. If you’ve never had any processing before, it’s important to talk to a doctor about that. Never take this medication without contacting a doctor first.

Can Scalp Conditions Be Controlled?

If you have a skin condition like psoriasis or eczema, there is no way to get rid of it completely. This might seem unnerving at first. After all, you can’t think about much else besides constantly wishing they weren’t there.

Thankfully, almost every type of scalp/skin condition is manageable. They may not all be curable, but there is no reason they should dictate your life. When it comes to certain skin conditions, this is true. Eating a proper diet, staying healthy, and taking care of your skin with the right over-the-counter products is the best thing you can do. Even people with serious scalp conditions don’t experience flare-ups regularly with proper care.

Refer to this guide if you’re worried you might have a scalp condition. It may be readily treatable. Some of these problems go away on their own. Others are easy to manage and get rid of. You don’t have to deal with an itchy and irritated scalp forever. And, in most cases, any hair loss caused by the conditions listed here will be temporary.

Copyright 2018 by DryScalpGone.