We received an email from Sharad, who was worried about his father. His father, who is 80+ in age, was developing tiny pustules, on his scalp and forehead. Sharad wanted to know if this was a cause for worry and what could be done about it.
Here is what we wrote to him:
While we will be able to give you a precise diagnosis, only after we have personally examined your father From what you are describing, we think that your father might be suffering from erosive Pustular Dermatosis of the scalp. Normally, this condition presents itself in the form of small pustules, which are visible on the scalp, forehead and even the temples of elderly people. In certain cases, the same pustules can also be seen on the legs. If you are noticing the pustules on the scalp, chances are that it could have been caused because of the skin being severely damaged due to excessive exposure to the sun.
Normally, these pustules progress and take on the form of yellowish brown crusts. If the condition progresses too much, it can result in scarring as well as extensive baldness. In most cases, the pustules are filled with bacteria, mainly staphylococcus aureus.
If you ask us what the exact cause of erosive pustular dermatosis of the scalp is, we would not have a precise answer for you. However, most studies point towards damage caused by exposure to the sun. There have also been research studies, which have shown that the condition could stem from injuries, even those caused through surgical procedures.
In most cases, there is a very simple course of treatment, which starts with soaking the pustules in a solution of potassium permanganateor acetic acid solution. There will be visible improvement with the application of topical steroids. After having examined the particular patient, we might also prescribe a course of antibiotics.
We suggested to Sharad that he bring his father to our clinic, wherein we could conduct an in depth examination and may be a skin Biopsy to get exact diagnosis and offer a more personalised course of treatment.