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What are Different Types of Head Sores?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are many various types of head sores which may occur for a variety of reasons. The most common comes as a result of scratching or rubbing in response to other existing scalp conditions, such as head lice or dandruff. Other possible causes include infection of the hair follicles or pores, a virus, or an underlying cyst. All of these conditions can be diagnosed by a doctor, and are usually completely curable with correct treatment.

Factors which may cause itching or other irritation include dandruff or dry scalp, head lice, or illnesses like chicken pox. All of these cause intense itching and irritation. When scratched, head sores may develop because the skin is already in fragile condition. Curing these sores involves first getting rid of the underlying condition.

Dandruff can be remedied by using specialized shampoos. These can be found in most grocery stores or pharmacies. Lice are generally treated using an over the counter shampoo which contains small amounts of pesticides. In some more severe cases, a prescription shampoo may be needed. Chicken pox is caused by a virus and usually has to run its course, but is generally mild and does not cause long-term complications in most people, especially if they are you.

Another cause of head sores is infections of the hair follicles, glands, or pores. This usually causes eruptions similar to pimples, and is normally caused by bacteria which are present on the skin. Irritation makes these infections more likely to occur, although anyone can be affected. Treatment may include applying warm rags or topical antibiotics, or taking prescription antibiotic pills for more extreme cases.

Infectious head sores may become swollen and very painful. Eventually a whitehead or pus-filled raised area may appear. This will usually drain after a few days, at which time pus or a blood looking substance will leak from the sore. Pain is usually diminished greatly at this time, and healing is usually quick once all the pus is drained.

Heads sores caused by a cyst may or may not cause pain or discomfort. If no pain is present and the cyst is very small and not becoming larger, no treatment may be necessary. Larger cysts that may obstruct blood flow to the brain may cause serious complications. Surgery is often required to remove the cyst or a portion of the cyst. A biopsy may be performed to ensure the growth is a cyst rather than a cancerous tumor.

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Discussion Comments
By anon991042 — On May 22, 2015

I have discoid Lupus and have always attributed the lumps on my scalp to that. The lumps sometimes appear to have a he'd and other times they don't. They seem cyclic. I have large bald spots on my scalp that are scared by this irritation. These are a symptom of discoid lupus in my case. I was told that these lesions

Appear on boney areas is is the norm for this auto ammune disease. There may be clear fluid at times that can be expressed from these lumps or pimple type lesions, other times no. I was diagnosed 35 years ago and have only been dealing with this symptom approximately the past 5 years. It really got much worse after two bouts with shingles.

By anon985447 — On Jan 15, 2015

My nine year old daughter has picked up an infection in her hair and it is scaring me. It is giving out pus and also her hair is falling out. What should I do and what can I use? Also the boils are painful and they itch.

By anon946985 — On Apr 23, 2014

I have had scalp sores for five years now. It all started when I got a staph infection from picking acne on my back. After a round of antibiotics everything was clear, then after a month or so, my scalp broke out in scabby, inflamed sores. I went to about five dermatologists and they all just prescribed antibiotics. Again this would take care of it for a few months, but then it would come back.

I switched to a Trader Joe's tea tree shampoo and also started a gluten free diet. Alcohol and sugars also seem to affect it as well. I also take probiotics. This diet seemed to control the problem so it was tolerable. I would still get some spots, rarely bad ones. If I had a breakout or a spot that wouldn't go away, I would use Clindamycin Phosphate topical solution (prescribed by my most recent dermatologist). This stuff works wonders. It takes about a week to clear up a spot.

By anon941463 — On Mar 23, 2014

There is a great topical treatment named "Dalacin" that cures all of the problems in less than a week.

By anon925152 — On Jan 09, 2014

I have been getting heaps of sores all over my head. I have had them for over a year. I've been to the doctor four times and every time they give me antibiotics and that doesn't fix the problem. What else could it be and what should I do?

By anon360026 — On Dec 23, 2013

My 4 year old daughter has a dry scalp and had one lump at the back of her head. Hair from that part also began disappearing. It's been a week and I'm treating her with medicines and today I discovered five more cysts on different parts of her head, followed by increased itching. Can anyone tell me what this is and whom should I see for treatment?

By anon326227 — On Mar 20, 2013

To help heal head sores, try a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture of apple cider vinegar instead of shampoo. Apply it to the scalp for a couple minutes. It may burn because of the cuts, but this will get better. Then rinse with a large cup of water that has 15-20 drops of combination tea tree oil and lavender oil. Smells good, feels amazing.

By OeKc05 — On Dec 08, 2012

If I don't use dandruff shampoo twice a week, I have problems with flaking. Whenever I see a clump of white flakes forming right above my forehead on my scalp, I have to scratch it away, because it is highly visible to anyone who is looking at me.

The clump is usually pretty thick, so I have to scratch for awhile to remove it. This makes my scalp turn red. If the flakes return the next day, I scratch them away again, and then, I get oozing red sores.

You'd think that the promise of head sores would be enough to keep me from scratching, but I just can't bear having dandruff in such an obvious location. I realize that head sores aren't attractive, either, but I got teased for having dandruff as a kid, and I think that scarred me emotionally.

By orangey03 — On Dec 07, 2012
@shell4life – The sores on the head from lice are just caused by all the constant scratching that kids do to relieve the itching. If you can keep the kid from scratching while you are treating him for lice, he probably won't develop head sores.

Head sores caused by dandruff are about the same. If you can resist the urge to scratch while you are getting rid of the condition, then you shouldn't have a problem.

By shell4life — On Dec 07, 2012

I've never had lice, and I thought all that the lice did was make your head itch. I didn't realize that lice could cause head sores on the scalp. That would be an extra unpleasant thing to have to get rid of and would make the condition worse.

By StarJo — On Dec 06, 2012

I get sores on my head that resemble pimples. They occur either at my hairline or on my scalp a few inches from my hairline, and they appear as red lumps.

Sometimes, they form a white head, but other times, they just stay red all over. Once I feel them with my fingers, I can't help but squeeze them.

I don't know if it's because they are located right on a nerve or what, but squeezing these head sores is always much more painful than squeezing a regular pimple. They remain tender for a good while afterward, too.

By anon294887 — On Oct 03, 2012

Go to a dermatologist and get scalp scraping to determine if this is scabies or demodex mites.

By anon293279 — On Sep 25, 2012

I'm a 30 year old female with thalassemia major. Two days ago, I got pus in my scalp. My doctor gave me a three day course of the antibiotic Zocef.

By anon151456 — On Feb 10, 2011

I had a test and I have a very bad reaction to Cobalt Dichloride. I have sores all over my scalp. I tend to pick my head at night to remove them. My head burns the next day. Help.

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