While all of us pay a lot of attention to our hair, we do tend to neglect our scalp, which is actually just as important. For many people, the start of their hair loss lies in their ignoring the health of their scalp. There are several conditions that can affect the scalp, and is the case with all illnesses, understanding the root cause is the first step for proper diagnosis.
There are numerous conditions that can affect the scalp and some of them might start in infancy! Some of the most common conditions include:
Seborrheic dermatitis: This is a condition, that in the mildest form, is dandruff. The severe versions could lead to excessive production of oil and even reddening of the scalp. In this condition, your scalp will feel very greasy and this could lead to acne or even psoriasis. The condition is most commonly seen in people who already have oily skin.
Cradle cap: Like dandruff, this is yet another version of seborrheic dermatitis, but this condition is seen most commonly in infants, especially those below six months of age. The condition typically presents itself with greasy scalp and crusts or scales, which are slightly yellowish in colour. However, this is not a very serious infection and does not even require any medication as well. Parents could try running a little oil on the scalp, as this will loosen the crust, and then the same can be washed off with baby shampoo. Medicated shampoos could also be utilised, under directions from a doctor.
Head lice: There are very few children who have not dealt with hair lice and it generally affects the ages between three and eleven. Lice can spread quite easily and children are most susceptible to the same at school, summer camps or any place where there are several other children in close proximity. These small insects thrive on blood and the eggs are laid quite close to the scalp. While lice do not lead to any serious infections, they can cause severe itching and are generally frowned upon by school authorities. There are several medicated shampoos available and most of them can be purchased over the counter.
Dandruff: Perhaps the most common of scalp conditions is dandruff and it can be detected by the presence of white flakes on the scalp. These flakes are caused due to the excessive build-up of dead skin and the shedding of the same. There is no actual known cause of dandruff, but it is generally considered that it is caused due to certain types of fungus. Dandruff is not contagious and does not cause any serious problems; however, it can cause severe itching and the flakes can fall on dark clothes, leading to embarrassing situations.
The condition can be taken care of by washing hair and scalp on a regular basis with shampoos that contain either of these:
- Selenium sulfide
- Zinc pyrithione
- Salicylic acid
- Coal tar
Most of these medicated shampoos are available over the counter or a doctor could prescribe a stronger combination for persons suffering from severe dandruff.