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Sores on Scalp: What Are the Causes and How Can You Treat Them?


Sores, blisters, lesions, lumps, or bumps on your scalp can be caused by a single medical condition or they can be worsened by several factors causing them recur frequently. They may be red, itchy, painful, swollen, and tender to the touch. In addition, they can be solid or filled with fluid. 

Sores on scalp may be accompanied by:

  • Itchy scalp;
  • Bleeding or bruising;
  • Redness;
  • Burning sensation;
  • Swelling;
  • Ulcer formation;
  • Tenderness;
  • Tingling or other unusual sensations.

    Table of Contents

    • What are the common signs of scalp problems?
    • What are the causes of sores on scalp?
    • Scalp Psoriasis
    • Seborrheic Dermatitis
    • Ringworm
    • Shingles
    • Lichen planus
    • How can you treat scalp sores?

      What are the common signs of scalp problems?

      Most scalp conditions result in dry, oily, or flaky skin, as seen with dandruff, and might lead to hair loss or skin rash. In addition, any abnormality like a bump followed by pain tingling, itchiness, numbness, bruising, pain, and swelling can be a symptom of a scalp issue. 

      Because these symptoms are common among various scalp conditions, specific causes are difficult to pinpoint. However, the most common causes for various scalp issues are a buildup of cosmetic products (hair dye or dry shampoo) on the scalp, infrequent cleaning, increased stress, and certain climate or environmental factors.

      What are the causes of sores on scalp?

      Scalp sores are a symptom of various skin conditions, so it is best to see a dermatologist, who can help determine the probable cause. However, here are some of the common causes of scalp sores:

      sores on scalp how to solve

      Scalp Psoriasis

      Psoriasis is a noncontagious skin condition that causes thick, silver-gray scabs all over your scalp, and these can often affect the whole body. According to AAD, psoriasis appears as a result of an overactive immune system that causes the buildup of skin cells in the form of itchy, scaly, and rough patches on the skin. You can use shampoos with coal tar or salicylic acid, coconut oil, castor oil, black seed oil, and essential oils like tea tree, lavender, and peppermint oil to help ease the symptoms.

      Seborrheic Dermatitis

      Seborrheic dermatitis is a form of eczema that results in rough patches on the skin and scalp.  These rough patches are itchy and flake off the scalp and onto the hair and your clothes. According to a 2015 review, you can treat dandruff with essential oils of bergamot, garlic, tea tree, and thyme. According to a 2009 review, peppermint oil is known for its cooling effect on the scalp and for reducing dandruff. 


      Ringworm, also known as dermatophyte infection, is a contagious fungal infection involving your hair shafts, scalp, and skin. Itching and scaly patches are two common symptoms. Typically, to treat this condition you'll have to take oral antifungal medications or use a medicated shampoo that contains selenium sulfide. 


      According to CDC, over a third of the United States population will develop shingles at some point in their life. They are painful rashes on the scalp that progress into blisters. Shingles can occur on the skin and scalp, and you'll notice itching, pain, and tingling in the area before the rash develops. You'll have to take prescribed antiviral medications if they don't heal within two to four weeks. 

      Lichen planus

      Lichen planus (for skin) or lichen planopilaris (for scalp) is a noncontagious condition that causes purple or red bumps. It is a relatively rare scalp or skin condition, thought to be caused bu an autoimmune disorder, leading to patchy hair loss, redness, and scaling. Prescription anti-inflammatory treatments provided by a dermatologist are often the best course of treatment.

      Other Symptoms of Scalp Disorders:

      White/Yellow Scabs: Excess application of ointments, lotions, conditioners, or hair creams can trap moisture within the crust of the scab and develop pus. White or yellow bumps are typically signs of an infection. 

      Hair Loss: If you notice patchy hair loss, seek medical help because it can be due to lichen planopilaris.

      Frequent bumps in the same area: Getting scabs on the same spot on your scalp over and over again could be a symptom of melanoma and needs to be investigated immediately.

      How can you treat scalp sores?

      You can try home remedies like warm compresses, aloe vera gel, lemon juice, neem leaves, and apple cider vinegar to treat sores on the scalp. You can also pamper yourself with oil therapy that will hydrate and moisturize your scalp and soothe sores. 

      Here is what you can use:

      WOW Castor Oil

      WOW Castor Oil

      WOW Skin Science’s 100% pure, undiluted, and cold-pressed castor oil can nourish skin, hair, scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, lips, and nails. It has multipurpose benefits and can mix well with various essential oils that give a natural boost to your scalp and hair’s health. 

      Made from the highest quality castor seeds, this oil is rich in vitamin E, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids that strengthen and protect the skin and hair. Used in an overnight hair treatment, to calm an itchy and excessively dry scalp, it will soothe and reduce irritation and flaking, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

      WOW’s Onion Black Seed Hair Oil

      WOW’s Onion Black Seed Hair Oil

      Onion black seed oil is rich in essential nutrients that can help prevent hair damage, nourish, and soothe scalp conditions that cause irritation, pesky flakes, inflammation, and sensitivity. In addition, WOW Onion Black Seed Oil is non-sticky, non-greasy, reduces hair breakage, tames frizz, and, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, helps promote a healthy scalp. 

      Apply the oil to your hair and wrap it in a hot towel for deeper penetration. 

      Rahul Bhatia

      Rahul is the published author of "Heads Or Tails" and Quora writer with over 1.6 million views. He is a keen observer who enjoys the simple joys of life. He strongly believes true beauty is not how beautiful your face is but how beautiful your heart is.

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