Scalp problems: what disease?

What are scalp diseases?

The scalp is a very sensitive part of our body. It is subject to numerous daily attacks such as the use of shampoos with chemical components, coloring and aggressive brushing in particular.

Thus, many factors can cause the scalp to react to these attacks. This can result in different forms: inflammation of the scalp, hair loss, the appearance of dandruff and scales, etc. We then speak of scalp disease.

There are several scalp diseases with very distinct symptoms: alopecia, scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, ringworm, etc.

However, all represent the same discomfort for the patient who suffers from it: unsightly appearance, discomfort, itching and daily inconvenience.

Scalp diseases are classified into 3 parts: inflammatory diseases, infectious diseases and non-infectious diseases.


What are inflammatory diseases?

Inflammatory diseases are characterized by inflammation caused by the reaction of the immune system to an internal or external attack on the tissues. They are not contagious.

We mainly find: scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, lichen planus pilaris and discoid lupus erythematosus.


Scalp psoriasis

scales-psoriasisHow to recognize scalp psoriasis? And what are the causes?

Scalp psoriasis is a disease autoimmune and an illness chronic inflammatory skin. It affects 2% to 5% of the world's population.

80% of people with psoriasis are affected by scalp psoriasis.

It is a disease that affects both adults and children, with the first appearances observed around the age of 15.

Scalp psoriasis is caused by accelerated and excessive cell turnover. The cells of the epidermis then accumulate in too large quantities, which forms scales. Furthermore, scalp psoriasis corresponds to a form of plaque psoriasis.

This scalp disease is characterized by the appearance of scaly skin lesions (presence of white crusts and dead skin on the scalp) and the presence of red patches.

Hair psoriasis mainly appears at the top of the neck, at the base of the skull and behind the ears.

People with scalp psoriasis are generally prone to severe itching. In addition, it can also cause hair loss or even lead to scarring alopecia in some cases.

Scalp psoriasis progresses through flare-ups or attacks triggered by any action considered as an attack:

  • brushing too intensively
  • water too hot
  • vigorous scratching

The cause: a disruption of the immune system which can be caused by strong stress, emotional shock or digestive problems. It can also be linked to an allergic reaction following medication, for example.


How to care for and treat scalp psoriasis. Get rid of plaques and scales?

Psoriasis cannot be cured. It is nevertheless possible to relieve thanks to suitable products and effective. There are in fact different shampoos et natural treatments to try to fight psoriasis.

Le Pso Natura dermatological shampoo, 99% natural, is a good example. This shampoo is formulated without water and the main ingredient is Carapa procera oil. It effectively relieves itching from the first application. It also helps eliminate inflammation, cleanse the scalp and make scales disappear. This shampoo is used for a fortnight's treatment then as maintenance to keep new outbreaks of psoriasis at bay.


Dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis

Eczema-scalp-scalpWhat is seborrheic dermatitis?

Seborrheic dermatitis, also called seborrheic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory disease of the scalp, and more particularly of the skin.

This scalp disease is common with 1 to 3% of the population suffering from it.

This eczema of the scalp is caused by the presence of a yeast which is found on the scalp and which is activated in the event of excess sebum. The abnormal multiplication of this fungus then leads to inflammation of the scalp.

This results in Red plaques, itching, skin rashes and oily dandruff called scales.

Scalp eczema is a disease that affects adults but also children. In younger people, seborrheic dermatitis appears in the form of cradle cap.

Seborrheic dermatitis progresses through flare-ups. In addition to excess sebum, other factors stimulate scalp eczema such as stress or allergies.


How to soothe itching and treat scalp eczema?

The treatment of seborrheic dermatitis involves the use of suitable shampoos and lotions containing an antimycotic which acts on yeast. It is also recommended to use shampoos with appropriate PH levels in order to regulate excess sebum and soothe itching.

The treatments offered are generally the same treatments used to relieve psoriasis. Thus, the Pso Natura dermatological shampoo is recommended in the same way as for the treatment of psoriasis. It quickly and effectively cleanses the scalp, without drying it, and soothes itching. Finally, it helps limit the proliferation of yeast that causes scalp inflammation.


Lichen planus pilaris

Lichen planus pilaris is an inflammatory disease of the scalp and more generally of the skin. She is relatively rare and its origin is currently unknown.

This chronic disease affects women more often than men and appears around the age of 40.

Lichen planus mainly occurs following a psycho-affective shock or after taking certain medications. It may also be due to a immune system disruption.

It is characterized by lesions on the skin that cause burning sensations and severe itching, as well as hair loss due to inflammation of the hair follicle.

This implies :

  • red patches, characteristic of alopecia
  • the formation of scars on the scalp
  • thickening of the skin

Lichen planus pilaris is a form ofscarring alopecia, which means that the hair loss is permanent. Bald patches can be localized or diffuse depending on the case.

Furthermore, the development of this disease is unpredictable. The progression may be slow or rapid and it may disappear over time.

There is currently no curative treatment. Only treatments to try to stop or slow the progression of lichen planus pilaris, such as corticosteroids. Hair transplantation can also be an option to try to improve the quality of life and relieve the discomfort of those affected.


Discoid lupus erythematosus

Discoid lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune disease relatively rare. It particularly affects the skin of the face and the scalp.

Women between the ages of 15 and 30 are most affected by lupus.

It is distinguished by the appearance of circular red plaques at the level of the skull and in the shape of butterfly wings on the face. The hair follicle can then no longer grow, which leads to inflammation and hair loss.

If left untreated, this disease can leave scars on the scalp and lead to permanent alopecia.

Discoid lupus erythematosus results from biological abnormality.

Certain factors can favor its appearance:

  • a genetic predisposition
  • hormonal factors
  • the influence of the environment (tobacco, exposure to the sun, stress, etc.)
  • pregnancy
  • or taking certain medications.

People most likely to develop lupus are those with another autoimmune disease or those who have a family member with lupus.

It is currently not possible to cure lupus, but there are treatments to stabilize the disease, by reducing inflammation, and to avoid permanent scarring. This is mainly done by prescribing corticosteroids. For this, it is necessary to consult quickly in order to make a diagnosis and obtain appropriate treatment.


What are infectious diseases?

Infectious diseases are often contagious, you must therefore act quickly, as soon as the first symptoms appear. Make an appointment with a specialist. He will be able to prescribe the appropriate treatment to get rid of it and not transmit the disease to other people.


Ringworm is a very contagious scalp disease. It is caused by a fungus, called dermatophyte, which causes circular red patches on the scalp and which damages the hair, thus leading to its loss. This fungal skin infection particularly affects children.

Ringworm is transmitted by direct contact with an infected person or animal, or by indirect contact with, for example, a brush, comb, clothing, towel or animal hair.

To fight ringworm it is necessary to use antifungals. Several treatments are possible: to be applied locally or administered orally. It is also possible to fight against ringworm using natural antifungal methods, using lavender essential oil for example.

In children, hair will grow back naturally.

licePediculosis of the scalp

Pediculosis of the scalp is a very common and very contagious parasitic lice infection. It particularly affects children in communities (schools, daycare centers, nurseries, etc.).

Lice are transmitted during close contact and play between children, but also through the exchange of caps, scarves or hats. Long, untied hair also represents a significant risk factor.

Pediculosis is caused by lice that settle on the scalp, reproduce and bite to suck blood. This causes intense itching of the scalp but also pimples, located mainly on the nape of the neck.

To combat this infection, it is recommended to use insecticides for the scalp and to thoroughly disinfect and decontaminate the brushes, bedding and clothing of the infected person.

Pityriasis of the scalp

Pityriasis is a fungus found naturally on the scalp. However, it can be triggered

  • in case of stress, overwork
  • hormonal disruption
  • digestive disorders
  • by the use of certain cosmetic products
  • or in case of excessive sweating of the scalp.

This scalp infection is common and looks like a fungus but it is not contagious.

Pityriasis disrupts cell regeneration. It accelerates their natural reconstitution. They accumulate. Thus they come to form scales and dandruff on the scalp. Scalp desquamation is one of the main characteristics of pityriasis, this corresponds to the loss of pieces of dead skin, fine films.

However, pityriasis rarely itches and does not leave marks or redness on the scalp.


Folliculitis is an inflammation that affects the hair follicle. It is caused by the presence of bacteria that penetrate the scalp.

Folliculitis is generally linked to an infection caused by bacteria in the Staphylococcus aureus. But it can also be linked to a virus, a fungus, or even inflammation of ingrown hairs.

It is similar to a button, mainly centered around a hair, which forms a red ball, painful to the touch and filled with pus. It is also accompanied by itching.

Folliculitis is, in most cases, not contagious. However, there is a risk of spread when using jacuzzis or hot tubs. It is also not recommended to share your towel or razor.


What are non-infectious diseases?

Non-infectious diseases are diseases that are hereditary or caused by stress. They are therefore not contagious.

Alopecia hair lossTelogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium is characterized by diffuse and abundant hair loss. Hair loss is in fact faster than regrowth, which causes holes in the hair. This disease can affect both men and women, regardless of their age.

There are two forms of this disease:

- Acute : When the fall is sudden and rapid. This usually happens as a result of a trigger.

- Chronique : When the falls fluctuate over several years and are dotted with regrowth. Telogen effluvium is said to be chronic when hair loss lasts more than 6 months.

The cause can come from emotional shock, pregnancy, stress, drug treatment or even high fevers.

Furthermore, it is not abnormal to suffer from acute physiological seasonal telogen effluvium, during the spring or fall season. It is when acute alopecia becomes chronic that it is considered abnormal. It is then very often due to endocrine or metabolic causes.

Telogen effluvium is in most cases reversible. However, on average you have to wait 1 year for regrowth to be complete.

Treatment for this scalp disease is based on the use of anti-hair loss products and taking vitamins.

Alopecia areata of the scalpAlopecia areata

Alopecia areata is also called plaque alopecia. It's a autoimmune disease which causes complete hair loss or hair loss in small areas of the body. In fact, it is a deficiency of the hair follicles, the latter stop renewing themselves which causes hair loss.

Alopecia areata is characterized by sudden hair loss. Beyond the scalp, it can also affect the beard, eyebrows or even eyelashes.

It generally begins with the appearance of patches without hair which spread little by little, thus forming bald patches on the scalp. The hair can then grow back but it happens that new loss appears over time. Alopecia areata is different for each person, it can be more or less severe and more or less frequent.

Alopecia areata can be caused by different factors including:

  • significant stress
  • a deficiency of the immune system
  • psychological or even genetic factors.

Treatment for alopecia areata is based on the use of topical corticosteroids in cream or gel. It is also possible to resort to surgery with the installation of hair implants.

It is important for people who suffer from it to be psychologically supported.

Furthermore, it is a disease that is not irreversible, patients can therefore hope for complete regrowth.

Pseudoalopecia areata

Pseudoalopecia areata is a form of alopecia of the scalp which affects both adults and children.

Unlike alopecia areata, pseudo-alopecia areata is scar. This means that the hair loss is irreversible. The roots are destroyed, so regrowth is not possible.

This disease is characterized by slow alopecia which forms on small areas of the scalp. It is mainly observed on the top of the head. Pseudoalopecia leads to permanent alopecia.

The causes raised are often psychological or emotional in nature.

Furthermore, pseudo-alopecia areata patches can be linked to the scarring stage of certain diseases such as chronic lupus erythematosus or lichen planus pilaris.

However, treatments exist to slow or block the progression of pseudoalopecia areata.



Trichotillomania is a behavior disorder. It is characterized by a repeated and unconscious urge to compulsively pull out one's hair or body hair.

This phenomenon can lead to alopecia in certain areas of the scalp.

It mainly occurs in children but can also appear in adults, in which case it is more of a psychological disorder linked to stress or unease.

Trichotillomania generally reveals an emotional problem and is believed to have neurological and genetic origins.

People affected by this condition generally do it either reflexively or to relieve anxiety or tension.

However, the resulting consequences (unsightly appearance, psychological consequence) aggravate the underlying problem by accentuating the patient's discomfort.

The most effective treatment for this condition is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Conclusion on scalp diseases

Scalp diseases are varied and numerous. They require a medical consultation in order to make a diagnosis and follow appropriate treatment. Furthermore, they affect the well-being of thousands of people on a daily basis. It is therefore important for all people who suffer from it to feel supported and to be accompanied, if they wish, by psychological follow-up.


Sources :

France Psoriasis Association

Lichen planus pilaris – Sfdermato

Lice – symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention – VIDAL

Alopecia areata: what is the cause? | Livi

Hair loss – symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention – VIDAL


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5 shower gels and soaps for psoriasis

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