Treatment for Scalp Conditions | Lynchburg, VA

Conditions of the Scalp

Scalp conditions are irritation or disease of the skin on the head, excluding the face and neck. Scalp conditions refer to various different types of diseases of the skin on the scalp. In some cases, scalp conditions are due to issues with hygiene and the use of hair care products rather than being associated with skin diseases. Some symptoms that may indicate you have a scalp condition include:

  • Itchy scalp
  • Scalp pain and tenderness
  • Rash, pimples, blisters or boils
  • Hair loss

Scalp conditions are highly treatable after accurate diagnosis by a dermatologist. Your physician will know if the scalp conditions is localized, involving the skin and hair, or if the conditions is caused by a systemic (or internal) problem that may occur on other parts of the body.

Causes of Scalp Conditions

Scalp Hygiene

The scalp needs to be washed frequently. The hair traps dirt and dust from the environment, in addition to the natural oils of the hair. Excessive dirt can cause irritation to the scalp. Hair products such as styling gels or mousse need to be washed away on a regular basis. Repeated irritation and scratching can cause small tears in the skin increasing the chance of an infection.

Hair care products used excessively, can become an irritant to the scalp. Hair dye or hair perms may also inflame the scalp especially when chemicals are left too long. These substances can cause irritant contact dermatitis or allergic dermatitis. The treatment for this scalp condition is to avoid the chemicals or products causing irritation.


Dandruff is dry, flaking skin on the scalp often caused by:

  • poor scalp hygiene
  • overuse of hair care products
  • dry skin
  • allergies
  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • seborrheic dermatitis
  • ringworm (fungal infections)

These conditions are treatable and you can greatly reduce the symptoms of dandruff. The dermatologist will diagnose the cause of the dandruff and offer you treatment options to manage it.


Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles. The infection is caused by the staphylococcus bacteria and is more likely to occur on people who shave their head. Communal bathing and hot tubs also increase the risk of folliculitis. If left untreated, the infection can cause scarring.

Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition where cells grow rapidly causing a thickening of the skin or dry, scaly patches called plaques. It can occur anywhere on the body and is usually a chronic condition. Our dermatologist, Dr. Ry Bohrnstedt will diagnose and help you manage plaque psoriasis of the scalp.

Ringworm of the Scalp

Ringworm is a fungal infection of the scalp. It can be itchy and cause dandruff. Ringworm is treated orally and topically to kill the fungal infection and reduce the spread.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory condition of the scalp. The skin becomes greasy and scaly and eventually peels away to expose the underlying reddish skin. This condition is present when excessive amounts of skin oil (sebum) is produced. Seborrheic dermatitis is the most common cause of dandruff.

Treatment of Scalp Conditions

As there are many causes of scalp conditions, there are also many treatments. A dermatologist will determine the cause of the scalp condition and prescribe the treatment that will be most effective in controlling it. In some cases, changing hair care or styling products will be all that is needed to restore the health of your scalp. Other treatments may include lifestyle modifications such as:

  • Washing hair daily or every other day
  • Using milder shampoos and conditioners such as baby shampoo
  • Use less or avoid hair styling products until condition is under control
  • Discontinue chemical applications such as hair dyes or permanents
  • Avoid wearing scarves or caps as they can exacerbate scalp conditions

Depending on the severity of the scalp condition, the dermatologist may prescribe a medicated shampoo, creams, ointments or oral medication to control the symptoms and restore the health of your scalp.

Hair Loss

It is normal to lose approximately 50-100 hairs a day. The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary hair loss occurring in millions of men and women. Fortunately, hair loss can be stopped or treated successfully. If you are experiencing abnormal hair loss or hereditary hair loss, a dermatologist is the best place to start.  

Underlying medical conditions can also cause hair loss and may even be the first sign of a disease. Thyroid disease and anemia can contribute to loss of hair. Treating the disease, will stop the hair loss.

Poor nutrition and diet is another reason people experience hair loss. Weight loss of 15 or more pounds can trigger hair to fall out, however the hair will eventually regrow without treatment. Too much Vitamin A can cause hair loss as well as too little protein.

How Dermatologist Treat Hair Loss

The dermatologist will examine your scalp and hair and ask you a wide variety of questions regarding your health history that may provide clues as to why you are experiencing hair loss. An accurate diagnosis will ensure that the exact cause of your hair loss is being addressed. In some cases, changing hair products may be all you need to stop hair loss.

There are many treatments available to slow and/or restore hair loss. Over-the-counter medications such as minoxidil is generally a first-line treatment. Prescription medicine is available in pill form to treat hair loss in men.

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