What are Scalp Lesions?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Scalp lesions may be treated by a dermatologist.
Scalp lesions may be treated by a dermatologist.

Scalp lesions are injuries on the scalp. There are a number of things which can cause scalp lesions to appear and there are various treatment options available for patients who develop areas of damaged skin on their scalps. These injuries are usually treated by a dermatologist, a practitioner who specializes in skin care. If the lesions are accompanied with hair loss, a hair specialist may also participate in the evaluation and treatment of the patient.

Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to patients to help manage scalp lesion inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to patients to help manage scalp lesion inflammation.

Some forms which lesions can take include: Bumps, scabs, cuts, ulcerations, blisters, flakes or scales, sores, growths, or areas of discoloration on the scalp. It can sometimes be difficult to identify these lesions because they are often hidden under the hair in the early stages. The patient may note that the scalp itches, tingles, or hurts as a result of the lesion, and some patients pick at the area of abnormal skin, which can increase the severity of the lesion.

Anti-inflammatory drugs and creams might be used to treat scalp lesions.
Anti-inflammatory drugs and creams might be used to treat scalp lesions.

Lesions may be caused by trauma to the scalp along with cancers, fungal or bacterial infections, and skin conditions. Exposures to toxins can also cause lesions to develop, as the skin may react to the toxin by ulcerating. One problem with scalp lesions is that they can grow quite large before people realize that there is a problem, and this can made them more difficult to treat. Another issue is that people frequently pick at them because of itching or irritation, and picking can lead to infection and inflammation because infectious materials may be introduced into the wound.

A doctor may need to take small tissue samples in order to identify any microorganisms involved in scalp lesions.
A doctor may need to take small tissue samples in order to identify any microorganisms involved in scalp lesions.

A dermatologist can often examine a lesion by pulling the hair clear of the area, although sometimes it is necessary to shave a small patch for increased visibility. A visual inspection of the lesion may be enough to identify the cause so that an appropriate course of treatment can be recommended. In other cases, the doctor may need to take a small tissue sample for examination and culturing to learn more about which types of cells are involved and to identify any microorganisms which might be involved.

Scalp lesions may take the form of flakes or scales.
Scalp lesions may take the form of flakes or scales.

Treatments vary, depending on the cause. They can include removal of the lesion if it is believed to be malignant, as in the case of cancerous growths. Medications may be administered to kill parasites, bacteria, or fungi present in the lesion. People can also be given anti-inflammatory drugs to manage inflammation in scalp lesions along with medications which will reduce itching so that the patient will be less inclined to pick at the lesion.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon243289

How long do the sores take to heal and go away?

Alan1945

@katherineg - My son had scalp lesions during his senior year of high school. We never knew what caused them, but they cleared up considerably once the summer began. I really do think it was all the stress he was under with college applications, basketball, etc. Our bodies show stress in strange ways sometimes.

katherineg

I had really bad scalp sores last year, and I think they were caused by stress. At least, feeling stressed out made them worse. Has anyone else had this problem?

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    • Scalp lesions may be treated by a dermatologist.
      Scalp lesions may be treated by a dermatologist.
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to patients to help manage scalp lesion inflammation.
      Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to patients to help manage scalp lesion inflammation.
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs and creams might be used to treat scalp lesions.
      Anti-inflammatory drugs and creams might be used to treat scalp lesions.
    • A doctor may need to take small tissue samples in order to identify any microorganisms involved in scalp lesions.
      A doctor may need to take small tissue samples in order to identify any microorganisms involved in scalp lesions.
    • Scalp lesions may take the form of flakes or scales.
      Scalp lesions may take the form of flakes or scales.