Inflamed Scalp Conditions
Inflammation of the Scalp

Inflammation of the Scalp


This page was designed to provide an overview of common Scalp Conditions that present as Inflamed Scalp Conditions. It introduces the simple explanation of Inflamed Scalp Conditions and possible causes of the various Inflamed Scalp Conditions and summarizes treatment options. All words ending in "itis” denote inflammation.

If you have a persistent Inflamed Scalp Condition the best treatment will be achieved from a proper diagnosis with a Certified Trichologist.



Folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicles. This Scalp Skin Condition can appear anywhere on the skin where there are hair follicles.

Folliculitis is often associated with infections and Autoimmune conditions effecting the Hair and Scalp Skin.

Autoimmune means there is a problem with the body's normal immune system response. Normally, the immune system helps protect the body but with an autoimmune disease, the immune system cannot tell the difference between harmful substances and healthy ones.

Folliculitis can be caused by hair follicle damaged due to friction from clothing, insect bites or stings, shaving, scalp skin eruptions, trauma to the scalp from tight braids, traction from hair styling techniques and poor hair extension methods and maintenance.

The resulting Follicular inflammation is from a blockage of the hair follicle from the formation of a pustule which can then be invaded and infected by the bacteria Staphylococcus and Streptococci.

Both of these bacteria are found on normal skin, but will begin to cause problems when they reach past the scalps Epidermis layer the Stratum Corneum.

Folliculitis symptoms can include a rash, itching, and pimples or pustules near or surrounding a hair follicle and the pimples may crust over.

Diagnosis is based on how the skin looks but tests can conclude which bacteria are causing the infection.


FOLLICULITIS DECALVANS is follicle inflammation that causes baldness due to permanent destruction of the Hair follicle.

Folliculitis Decalvans is a gradual inflammatory condition where the hair follicles appear tufted from the damage to the deeper hair follicle tissue.

This inflammatory process will leave scarring in-between tufts of hair.

Early signs are small areas of inflammation surrounding a hair follicle which may have slight itching.

BARBER'S ITCH is caused from a staph infection of the hair follicles in the beard area of the face. Shaving will cause further irritation.

TINEA BARBAE is similar to barber's itch, but the infection is caused by a fungus.

PSEUDOFOLLICULITIS is a hair follicle disorder that occurs mainly in black men when curly beard hairs are cut too short, they may curve back into the skin and cause inflammation.


CARBUNCLES  are a deep infection with Staphylococcus aureus of a group of hair follicles.

BOILS or FURNICLES are deep infections of the hair follicle with Staphylococcus aureus causing perifollicular abscess.

Folliculitis treatments may include immune treatment, Indocil, oral Rifampicin or Clindamycin, Flucloxacillin, Nadifloxacin, Erythromycin, Zinc Sulphate.

Antibiotics like Mupirocin can be applied to the skin or taken orally as with Dicloxacillin, or antifungal medications to control the infection.

Folliculitis usually responds well to treatment, but may come back and infection may spread to other body areas.

To prevent further damage to the hair follicles and infection,  reduce friction from clothing, and avoid shaving the area where possible.

If shaving is unavoidable, use a clean, new razor blade or an electric razor each time. Keep the area clean and dry and avoid contaminated clothing and sterilize washcloths.


Dermatitis is a description used for any inflammation of the skin.

Dermatitis can be used after a term to describe a particular cause of the Dermatitis.

For example:

Contact Dermatitis, also known as Irritant Contact Dermatitis, this skin condition is caused by an allergen or an irritating substance.

Atopic Dermatitis, a type of eczema, is an inflammatory, chronically relapsing, non-contagious, itchy, inflamed skin disorder also referred to as Prurigo Besnier, Neurodermitis,

Endogenous Eczema, Flexural Eczema, Infantile Eczema and Prurigo Diathésique.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis, which is a particular type of dermatitis that can appear as a result of a gastrointestinal condition, known as celiac disease.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis is an inflamed, itchy rash with bumps and blisters. The inflamed rash is chronic, and can continue over a long period of time left unchecked.

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a waxy, oily, scaly scalp skin condition with erymetha or reddening associated with scalp irritation and inflammation.

Traumatic Dermatitis is any form of Dermatitis caused by an irritant substance or by a physical agent.

 Nummular Dermatitis, is not a very common type of Dermatitis, with no known cause and tends to appear more frequently in middle-aged people with a personal or family history of Allergies, Asthma and Atopic Dermatitis. Several things can make this condition worse, including Dry skin, Environmental irritants, Stress and Temperature changes.

Eczematous Dermatitis, Eczema, also known as Dermatitis is an allergic condition which affects the upper layers of the skin.

Recognized by recurring persistent red skin rashes with itching, dryness and skin edema. Long term cases may result in blistering, crusting, cracking, flaking, oozing or bleeding of the skin and or scalp.

All types of Dermatitis can begin at an early age.

Dermatitis and Eczema are chronic, recurrent, skin conditions which can be frustrating and difficult to control sometimes.

Dermatitis can improve with time and body pH balance, but many people experience the symptoms on and off throughout their life.

The exact cause of Dermatitis and Eczema is not currently known, but it is thought that genetics and hereditary tendency play a part.

Some people with Dermatitis and Eczema can have other allergies like asthma, dust allergy, food allergy, sensitivity and animal allergies.

 Dermatitis treatment is focused on removing the allergen and balancing the scalp and the body pH to reduce sensitivity and allergic reactions.


Two types of Lupus are discussed here: Discoid Lupus Erythematosus and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)


Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE) is a chronic skin condition of sores with inflammation and scarring commonly found on the face, ears, and scalp.

Where the scalp is affected DLE can lead to cicatricial patches of hair loss.

DLE is characterized by various-sized well defined lesions that develop as red, inflamed patches with a scaly, crusty appearance.

The scaly patches tend to heal with atrophy, scarring and skin pigment changes.

Onset of DLE lesions may be caused by trauma, mental stress, sunburn or exposure to extreme cold.

It is possible for people with Discoid Lupus Erythematosus to later develop Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.


Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation 'erythematosus' of the skin, joints, kidneys, blood cells and other body organs.

Autoimmune means there is a problem with the body's normal immune system response. Normally, the immune system helps protect the body but with an autoimmune disease, the immune system cannot tell the difference between harmful substances and healthy ones.

The result is an overactive immune response that attacks otherwise healthy cells and tissues. The underlying cause of autoimmune diseases is not fully understood and may occur at any age.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus symptoms vary from person to person, and may come and go. The condition may affect one organ or body system first, others may become affected later.

Almost all people with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus have joint pain and swelling. Some may develop arthritis in the joints of the fingers, hands, wrists, and knees.

The most common symptom is a "butterfly" rash over the cheeks and bridge of the nose affects about half of people with SLE. The rash gets worse in sunlight. The rash may also be widespread.

Other symptoms include: Chest pain when taking a deep breath, fatigue, a fever with no cause, general discomfort, uneasiness, or feeling ill, mouth sores, sunlight sensitivity, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.

Trichologists see Systemic Lupus Erythematosus due to the associated diffuse hair loss and scalp inflammation and must ensure all clients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or suspected Systemic Lupus Erythematosus are under the care of a doctor. Only doctors can diagnose and treat SLE.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus can lead to chronic inflammation and diffuse hair loss.

A Trichologist may be able to assist in the reduction scalp irritation and diffuse hair loss associated with SLE.

SLE may also be caused by certain drugs and or medications. For information on this cause of SLE, you can research 'drug-induced lupus erythematosus'.