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What is a Sore Scalp?

A sore scalp can be a discomforting condition, often signaling underlying issues such as dermatitis, tension headaches, or hair care habits. Accompanied by symptoms like redness, flaking, or tenderness, it warrants attention. Visual cues in our accompanying pictures highlight common signs. Have you ever experienced these symptoms? Discover their implications and ways to soothe your scalp in our detailed guide.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

A sore scalp is an uncomfortable condition that involves itching, rashes, and often redness accompanied with a burning sensation. Often, the scalp is tender to the touch, making it difficult to comb hair or in some cases rest the head on a pillow. One of the more common reasons for a sore scalp is due to a condition known as ringworm of the scalp. Fortunately, there are effective methods to treat this and other types of scalp conditions.

One of the first things to do when a sore scalp develops is to make an appointment with a dermatologist. A thorough examination of the scalp can be conducted to determine the exact origin of the tenderness and itching sensation. Identifying the underlying cause for the soreness is imperative, as the origin and the severity of the condition will determine which treatments are most likely to clear up the problem.

A sore scalp can be tender to the touch.
A sore scalp can be tender to the touch.

It is important to note that the sore scalp may not be the result of an underlying medical condition, but is the result of an allergic reaction to a particular hair dye. There is even the possibility that soreness may develop due to tying back the hair in a severe hairstyle and thus creating a constant pull on the hair follicles. When the origin of the scalp problem is something of this nature, simple lifestyle changes will usually lead to resolution of the problem in a short period of time.

Ointment may be used to calm a sore scalp.
Ointment may be used to calm a sore scalp.

After the underlying cause for the sore scalp has been determined, the dermatologist will proceed with a series of treatments appropriate for the current status of the scalp condition. In some cases, this may involve nothing more than the use of a medicated shampoo that will help to reduce the scalp irritation and begin to clear up the rash. In cases that are somewhat more advanced, the application of topical creams and ointments may be used to supplement the medicated shampoo.

Medicated shampoos might be able to help with a sore scalp.
Medicated shampoos might be able to help with a sore scalp.

While there are many over-the-counter products that are formulated to help with minor cases of sore scalp, it is typically a good idea to obtain a firm professional diagnosis before spending time and money with these options. Non-prescription treatments may or may not address the specific reason for your discomfort. As a result, you receive no relief and may even cause the condition to worsen before finally seeking professional care.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including TheHealthBoard, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including TheHealthBoard, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

Sara007

Ringworm of the scalp is a huge problem for children as the fungal infection is easily spread in close quarters to those whose immune systems are still developing, or are damaged.

If your child gets a sore scalp and it appears that there are crusty patches that cause pain to your child make sure they see a doctor right away. While this kind of infection isn't overly dangerous, it is uncomfortable and contagious.

You can use a shampoo with selenium sulfide alongside the medication your doctor gives you to help rid your child of the infection. A sore scalp is never fun, but luckily ringworm is easily cured though the process can take months.

lonelygod

I say if you have recently developed a sore scalp that you should try switching your shampoo and conditioner before heading straight to the dermatologist.

I didn't know it was possible, but you can actually develop an allergy to a product even if you have been using the same thing for years. I loved my shampoo but suddenly found I was getting dandruff and that my scalp was sore.

My wife got me to use her shampoo for a little bit and the symptoms of my sore scalp went away. I think if you are having a similar problem that you should try switching you bathing products first, as doctors can be expensive.

mendocino

Good to remember that children have much more sensitive scalp than adults do.

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    • A sore scalp can be tender to the touch.
      By: oocoskun
      A sore scalp can be tender to the touch.
    • Ointment may be used to calm a sore scalp.
      By: Coprid
      Ointment may be used to calm a sore scalp.
    • Medicated shampoos might be able to help with a sore scalp.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      Medicated shampoos might be able to help with a sore scalp.
    • Ringworm of the scalp may cause excessive flakiness.
      By: Jasmin Merdan
      Ringworm of the scalp may cause excessive flakiness.
    • It may be difficult to comb one's hair when suffering from a sore scalp.
      By: phasinphoto
      It may be difficult to comb one's hair when suffering from a sore scalp.
    • Ringworm, one possible cause of a sore scalp, often presents as a circular rash.
      By: schankz
      Ringworm, one possible cause of a sore scalp, often presents as a circular rash.
    • Keeping one's scalp clean may help avoid the development of head sores.
      By: naka
      Keeping one's scalp clean may help avoid the development of head sores.