Sores on Scalp

Sores on Scalp Red, Itchy, Painful, Causes, Pictures and Treatment

Sores on the scalp or head are very painful and embarrassing. It is quite difficult to see these head sores, especially at the back unless you are skilled to take selfie images. You will also notice scalp scabs after crusting of the bleeding blisters on the scalp causing sores.

In this post, you will discover some of the common causes, pictures, and treatment of these head sores that are giving you sleepless nights. The post will also describe some of the head sores that may occur due to lupus and even cancer.

Why Do I Have Sores on My Head?

There are several factors that may lead to the formation of bumps, lumps, and blisters on the scalp causing sores. However, most of these factors are not serious since they can either be treated using simple home remedies or do disappear on its own.

These factors resulting in head sores usually range from simple local infection to underlying health conditions. It is advisable to see your doctor in case of the following circumstances:

  • When the scalp sores last more than a few days or won’t heal.
  • In case you have a lot of sores that keep coming back.
  • When there are frequent changes in the shape, size, or colour of bumps or lumps on your scalp.

Here are some of the common factors that may result in head sores:

  • Infection of the hair shaft
  • Fungal scalp skin infections
  • Bacterial infections on the scalp skin
  • Viral infections on the head skin
  • Autoimmune disorders on the scalp
  • Allergic skin reactions
  • Skin problems (acne)
  • Seborrheic dermatitis that results in dandruff
  • Skin cysts – epidermal or sebaceous
  • Excessive sebum production

Sores on Scalp Causes

According to the dermatologist on WebMD, head sores usually appear due to many factors or reasons. The type of head sores on your scalp usually depends on the underlying cause. However, most of the scalp sores are usually due to benign conditions that usually heal on takes a short period to heal.

There are some circumstances that you may develop scalp sores that are chronic and very painful. This may require medical treatment. The causes of scalp sores, therefore, include the following factors:

Contact Dermatitis

According to doctors on WebMD, contact dermatitis is a scalp condition that happens when your scalp skin comes into close contact with something. This might be due to ingredients from shampoos or general scalp cosmetics.

Sometimes, you can develop scalp sores due to a poison oak leaf brushing against your scalp skin. Therefore, you may notice red patches, itchy and scaly scalp skin. You may experience crusty and oozing sores on the scalp in case they become severe.

It is recommended to stay away from these factors that lead to contact dermatitis and this will make the scalp skin to heal after 2-4 weeks. Consult your dermatologist to conduct skin test in order to figure out what is causing the sores on the scalp. Also, avoid switching shampoo brands more frequently.

Scalp Cysts

These are usually smooth and firm lumps that develop around the hair follicles. The hair follicles are known to attach each hair on the scalp. However, scalp cysts usually grow very slowly and they do not cause any pain.

When scalp cysts are infected, they become inflamed, swollen, painful and weepy. The oozing fluids usually have a bad smell. It is important to note that cysts on the scalp are generally harmless and usually go away on their own.

It is advisable to consult your doctor in case of cysts on the scalp bother you. The doctor will treat the cysts on the head using a steroid shot in order to relieve the inflammation and drain it out.


This is a type of scalp condition that occurs due to the infection caused by fungus, bacteria, and virus. The scalp problem usually looks like pimples or painful red bumps on the scalp with or without whitehead. These types of scalp sores are basically crusty and scabby.

You should note that this scalp problem usually clears up without any form of treatment. It is advisable to keep the area clean and you can apply a warm compress to make it feel better. It is recommended to visit your dermatologist if this type of scalp problem lasts for more than 3 weeks.

Head Lice

According to the dermatologist on WebMD, head lice do not cause scalp sores by themselves. However, they do result in the itchy scalp. Therefore, the constant itching of the scalp may result in pain and infected sores.

In case you suspect that you have head lice, you will notice their eggs that are attached firmly to the hair shafts. Therefore, you may be required to go for the special type of shampoo over the counter to help gets rid of head lice fast. Consult your doctor in case the shampoo does not help to treat out.

Scalp Ringworm

Ringworm is the type of scalp condition that is usually caused by a certain type of fungi. It is important to note that ringworms are not real worms like tapeworms. Depending on the location of occurrence on the body, ringworms go with different names.

Therefore, jock itch usually appears on the inner thighs near the groin and athlete’s foot on the soles of the feet. In case you develop ringworms on the scalp, the condition is known as tinea capitis.

Tinea capitis usually result in hair loss and patches of itchy scalp skin that usually gets worse at night. Sometimes, you may experience painful pus-filled sores on the scalp known as kerion.

You note that this scalp condition is quite common among children and toddlers. It rarely affects adults. The oral prescription is the best form of treatment for this type of scalp condition. You never use ringworm creams and powder on the scalp.

Scalp Psoriasis

This is another type of scalp problem that may result in itchy patches of red and flaky scalp skin. Frequent urge to itch may result in bleeding and scabbing. You should also note that psoriasis not only affects the scalp but also other parts of the body.

Some of the common areas where psoriasis usually occurs apart from the scalp are back of the elbows and knees. Always consult your doctor when you intend to treat psoriasis. However, you can use special shampoos that contain coal tar or salicylic acid to control the scalp problem.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

This is a type of scalp eczema that may result in dandruff. It is however very mild as compared to other scalp problem. The scalp eczema usually results in itchy patches and scaly scalp that oozes and scab. However, the symptoms of this scalp condition usually come and go. It is worse during the winter season.

You should note that there is no exact cure for scalp eczema. You can use special shampoos, medicines, and creams that help get rid of the symptoms that come along with scalp eczema.

Other Causes

Most of these scalp problem is usually less common as far as head sores are concerned. They include scalp acne, viruses like chickenpox and autoimmune diseases like pemphigus.

Sores on Scalp Pictures

Bumps on scalp pictures can help to identify some of the common symptoms and signs that come along with head sores. These scalp conditions pictures can help you, doctors, to be able to understand the main cause of head sores.

In this post, you can explore various sores on the scalp pictures in case you are not skilled to take images of head sores on your scalp. We provide relevant and illustrative pictures to show you how scalp sores look like.

Here are some of the sample of head sores pictures that can give you some clues about the cause and treatment of the various scalp problems. They include:

Painful Sores on Scalp

Damaged skin tissues on the scalp can result in scalp pain in the affected part of the scalp. Head sores can also trigger swelling and inflammation of the scalp skin. You will also experience a headache and neck pain since the nerves in the area are interfered by the painful sores.

Some of the common scalp problems that may result in painful scalp sores are lupus, eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, shingles, skin cancer, insect bites, and Seborrheic dermatitis.

You can buy over the counter painkillers to help ease the pain caused by the painful head sores. It is advisable to seek medical treatment in case the severe head sores do not respond to the painkiller drugs.

Sores on Scalp Lupus

Lupus is a type of autoimmune disease that may trigger some certain antibodies to attack healthy tissues in the body. These antibodies in the body can also result in pain and inflammation apart from attacking healthy tissues.

According to doctors on WebMD, lupus is a non-contagious condition but it is chronic. According to medical research by dermatologists on mayo clinic, patients with lupus usually experience certain rashes of skin lesions.

These rashes mainly appear on the areas of the body that is directly exposed to the sun like the head, face, and neck. Lupus on the scalp can also result in hair loss and scarring.

You can visit your doctor for treatment of lupus using corticosteroid creams or calcineurin inhibitors. In the case of mild cases, you can use dapsone medication.

Sores on Scalp Cancer

According to dermatologists on Cleveland clinic, skin cancer mainly occurs in areas that are highly exposed to UV rays from the sun. Most of these parts are scalp, face, neck, arms, and hands.

It is important to note that there are several types of skin cancer and most of them are non-contagious. It is advisable to pay close attention to the changes of scalp skin including sores that don’t heal, scaly or raise scalp patches, and even scalp spots that have a dynamic colour as well as size.

Therefore, you can visit your doctor to conduct the scalp skin exam and take a biopsy on the affected region on the scalp. This will help in diagnosis and treatment. You should note that the treatment of skin cancer depends on the type, stage, and overall health.

Itchy Sores on Scalp

What causes sores on the scalp? Can itchy sores be that cause of head pain? Well, frequent scratching of the scalp with your fingernails or any sharp object can result in the appearance of itchy sores on the scalp. The itchiness is usually more serious than normal dandruff.

You should note that itchy sores on the head could be due to a more serious condition like autoimmune disorders, viral or bacterial infection. Some of the mild conditions that cause itchy sores on the scalp include:

  • Psoriasis
  • Head lice
  • Ringworms
  • Folliculitis
  • Eczema
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

Red Sores on Scalp

According to the dermatologist on WebMD, red sores on the head usually appear as flat spots, fluid-filled blister, pimples or patches. The spots on the scalp causing the sores are usually red in colour as a result of inflammation of damaged skin tissues like blood vessels.

This usually interferes with the proper circulation of the blood to the area affected. You should also note that the colour of the head sores will not always be red in colour. Sometimes, you will notice a white, yellow, brown, grey or blackhead sore depending on the cause.

Oozing Sores on Scalp

You can experience open oozing sores on your scalp due to the presence of fluid-filled blisters or bumps on the scalp. These blisters can ooze out thick fluid that looks like pus and form scabs on the scalp after some time.

Sometimes, weeping blisters might discharge fluids that either smelly or odourless. The common causes of these types of head sores that ooze include lichen planus, ringworms, eczema, psoriasis, impetigo, shingles, folliculitis, and contact dermatitis.

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Shampoo Causing Sores on Scalp

There are different shampoo ingredients that might result in head sores. Some of the common ingredients that cause head sores include Lauryl and Laureth Sulfates, Triethanolamine, Fragrance, and Penetration Enhancers.

This type of head sores happens due to an allergic reaction when these ingredients touch the scalp skin. If you are experiencing this type of sores on the scalp due to shampoos, always try to switch the brand. You can also consult your dermatologist to help determine the cause.

Scalp Sores Treatment

There are several home remedies that can help to get rid of sores on the scalp. Some of the commonly used natural remedies at home include:

Tea tree oil

It can be found naturally or as a component in shampoos and other scalp cosmetics. Some people may develop an allergic reaction after using it. However, it is known to be effective in the treatment of scalp sores that are caused by dandruff and psoriasis.

Aloe vera gel

You can obtain the gel directly from the raw leaf or as an OTC product. Apply the gel directly on the affect region on the scalp. This might also help to treat scalp eczema and psoriasis as well as head sores.

Fish oil, or omega-3, supplements

Most of these supplements are found in pill form. They help to relieve the inflammation caused by conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Always consult your doctor before using these products for the treatment of scalp sores.

Other helpful tips

This might involve taking preventive measures such as the following:

  • Don’t Scratch
  • Keep Your Scalp Clean
  • Maintain Personal Hygiene
  • Brush Your Hair Several Times A Day
  • Avoid Products Which Contain Sodium Laurel Sulphate


  1. Why Do I Have Sores on My Head?
  2. Sores on Scalp:
  3. Types of Sores on Head:
  4. Effective Home Remedies To Treat Scalp Pain:
  5. Scabs & Sores on Scalp: