Hair and Scalp Problems (Loss, Sores, Blisters, Bumps)

Numerous people are suffering from hair or scalp problems. Hair may get thinner or fall out, break off, or have very slow growth rate. Dandruff, itching or peeling scalp may cause humiliation and discomfort. Hair and scalp problems can be distressing and may effects your self-esteem, but these problems usually don’t cause any serious or life threatening medical problems.

Hair loss

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Hair loss, including thinning and breaking, is the most widespread scalp problem. Most people lose almost 50 to 100 hairs each day.

Hair gradually thins as people age, though not all people have same degree of affect, it varies from person to person. Hereditary factor of thinning or balding is the most important cause of thinning hair. You can inherit it from either side of your parents. Women having gene of this trait develop thinning hair, while men may become completely bald. The problem can start in the teens, 20s, or 30s.


Other causes for excessive hair loss, thinning, or breakage include:

  • Hot rollers, curling irons, or hair dryers can damage hair.
  • Side effects of drugs or medical treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy
  • Recent surgery, high fever, or anxiety. You may have a lot of hair loss 4 weeks to 3 months after severe physical or emotional stress. This type of hair loss usually stops within a few months.
  • Heavy metal poisoning, such as thallium or arsenic poisoning.
  • Mal-nutrition, especially insufficient protein or iron in the diet.
  • Burns or other injuries which damage hair shaft.

Sores, blisters, or bumps on the scalp

Painful sores, blisters, or scalp bumps that develop, may be caused by:

  • Hair shafts infection known as folliculitis or the skin (impetigo).
  • An allergic skin reaction.
  • A skin problem, such as acne.
  • A cyst, an epidermal or sebaceous cyst is a sac underneath the outer most layer of the skin that is filled with a greasy white substance. These cysts mostly formed on the scalp, ears, face, back, or scrotum and are caused by plugged ducts at the site of a hair shaft.


It has been noticed that, scalp or hair problem mostly occur to the people which have oily skin. Such people are more potent to be the victim of painful sores, blisters, acne or scalp bumps. Many hair care products are available, which reduce the production of sebum and cure dandruff as wall. If you have any of the above mentioned conditions, call your doctor as soon as possible.

If a visit to a health professional is not immediately required, you can use some home treatment tips.

Home Treatment

You can try one of the following measures to resolve a scalp problem.

  • Perform a skin self-exam to help identify suspicious scalp growths. Part your hair to look at your scalp. If you have trouble seeing your scalp, ask a friend or family member to check the spot for you.
  • If your baby has developed yellow crusting on his or her scalp, try home treatment for cradle cap. Rub your baby’s scalp with baby oil, mineral oil, or petroleum jelly to help lift the crusts and loosen scales, an hour before shampooing. When ready to shampoo, first wet the scalp, then gently scrub the scalp with a soft-bristle brush for few minutes to remove the scales.
  • If your baby has a bald spot at the back or side of the scalp, change your baby’s position frequently. Lying in one position may be causing the bald spot.

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  • Ana

    Hey i haue a scalp prob.

  • Ana

    Hey i have a scalp started off wit dandruff n i never had dat problem b4 den my scalp got red n irratated den my hair started gettin really dry den it started 2 smell like head like i havent washed it n days den it started 2 fall den it started 2 itch so i tried tea tree n stoped the redness so now i have dry scabs on certain parts of my scalp dat sumtines burns can sumbody please tell me wat the heck is going on wit my scalp please

  • Ana, according to the article, you should go to see a doctor. It could be impetigo or something.

  • favour

    some part of my hair is becomig bald,d scalp is swellen were its bald n it makes me not 2 b able 2 do d style i want.pls what can i d?

  • Jan Modric

    Favour, this is for dermatologist.

  • dipak agarwal

    hello i have scalp,thining and hair fall problem and was suffering form past two years.i am 22 yrs old .wat should i do? plz help

  • Jan Modric

    Common causes of hair thinning and falling off are:
    – vitamin deficiency
    – hypothyroidism
    – mercury poisoning (usually from fish).

    Do you also have dry skin, brittle nails, swelling of any body part, or other symptoms?

  • muzmarg

    Hi, my partner gets some scabby sore like things on his head from time to time, they arent itchy. Do you have any idea what they might be?
    Thank you.

  • Jan Modric

    To muzmarg.

    It can be seborrheic dermatitis.

  • marcella

    i have very ichy and burning scalp since i had surgery. can anyone help

  • Jan Modric

    Marcella, when did you have surgery and was it head surgery?

    You can also read this article about itchy scalp:

  • cc

    hey; so i have been getting dandruff and dry scalp but when i go to brush my hair i find spots of dandruff so i pick out the dandruff and comb it out but then it just leaves a red spot and the next day theres a scab i now have two scabs and they have both occured the same exact way can you give me guidance on how to resolve this matter please thank you:]

  • Jan Modric

    To cc.

    You might want to discuss with your hairdresser about possibe causes of your dry scalp. Maybe s certain shampoo or other hair product irritates your scalp. You can also try some remedies mentioned under “dandruf” part of an itchy scalp article.

  • zerlean

    my husband color his hair with just for men hair dye about three four week ago he did not mix the whole thing like they said and his whole head was cover with sorse and he keep washing his head it with sulfur8 shampoo it was starting to get well and today he went and dye his hair the same way again by not mixing it the way it said now the sore is back and he is miserable please tell me what to do to help him I tell him to go to the hospital but he said no

  • janmodric


    it would be wise if your husband visits his doctor, who can check if there is any treatment needed to prevent eventual scaring, hair loss or other complications.

  • Tamika

    I have been suffering now with painful bumps and hair loss in the center of my hair. I had a scalp biopsy done at my request from my dermatologist and it came back as irritated scalp. I was treated for folliculitis. I have taken antibotics and have been given a hair serum to use before washing yet the bumps keep coming back andm y hair growth have yet to return. I first started havingthis problem after surgery-tonsilectomy. then I had a hernia repair surgery 3 years thereafter and will be having a the hernia repaired again within a few months. I do have dermatis of the skin and have suffered with it for years. Could this be my problem? All i would like is a solution to the problem and or a good doctor in the area to treat me so I can get my hair back to growing in the center of my head and the painful bump/sores to go away for good. I have included my email address please email mewith any advice.

  • Jan Modric


    after skin biopsy, a dermatologist should be able to provide more exact diagnosis than “irritated scalp”. Maybe there is more explanation in your medical documentation. Yes, it can be related to dermatitis, it could be seborrheic dermatitis, for example. In this case you would need different medications than in folliculitis.

  • Richard Moore

    scalp bumps like dry pimples, then small sores and scabs over a couple of months. 74 year male, generally very healthy, active, mostly bald. Much sun past summer. very slight itching (possibly mental). taking celebrex, blood pressure med (?yellow tablet, triangular), potssium.

  • Jan Modric

    Richard Moore,

    in this article the causes of itchy scalp are described. Are bumps on both left and right side of the scalp?

  • Angela

    My 12 yr old son has a bald spot on the top of head that is getting bigger and bigger. He has been diagnosed with alopecia acreata. He received 12 shots in his scalp last week and we are using a foam provided by the doctor. However, he he is still experiencing irritations that are only releived by him pulling out clumps of hair. Is there anything else we can do?

  • Dr. Chris

    Hi Angela

    I am not sure if you mean that your son has a habit of pulling out his hair (known as trichotillomania) which is sometimes the cause of hair loss in spots. This needs to be considered. If there is irritation of the scalp itself then the exact cause needs to be identified. This could be due to underlying skin problems like eczema, psoriasis or fungal infections. In most cases though, the symptoms are not going to resolve in one week. The earliest improvement may be seen in 2 to 3 weeks and it can take 4 to 6 weeks before there is a drastic change – this does not mean that the hair will grow back by then but simply that the irritation should stop after treatment. With skin diseases like psoriasis, it can take months for results. Expecting an improvement in one week may be a bit premature. If the symptoms are worsening or there is no sign of improvment after 2 to 3 weeks then you need to go backand see the doctor.

  • Angela

    Thank you for your response. I don’t beleive its a habit or stress. Something’s going on. The patch is getting larger, quick. Would you give me your thoughts on this situation? A few weeks/months before the bald spot on my son started, our hamster had a growing bald patch. I took the hamster to the vet, who suggested the thyroid and diabetes possibilities, after chosing not to run expensive tests on the hamster, I asked that they treat the hamster “just in case” for parasites or fungus. The hamster was treated one time with Ivermectin (I called back for the name). The hamster is doing great, the hair came back. I’ve looked into the medication and it appears we could try this on my son. What do you think?

  • Angela

    PS: My dr beleives it alopecia areata no further treatment avaialble and thats it. I think its a parasite, and he won’t let us try anything else. I’ve set an appt for another dr, but can’t get in until May. He’ll be bald by then. It’s growing fast.

  • Dr. Chris

    Hi Angela

    Yes, in this case, it would be wise to get a second opinion. Hopefully you are seeing a dermatologist this time. We don’t offer treatment advice because it is against our editorial guidelines. Ultimately, there is no certainty of diagnosis here. There is possible some association between your son’s problem and that of the hamster but it is not for us to say or guess if that is the case. See the other doctor.

  • Cheri

    I have had this terrible itching on my scalp back of neck behind ears, all the places that itch when you have lice. the problem. I don’t have lice but i do have terrible dandruff suddenly. The itching gets so intense at times I have to go into the bathroom at work, take my hair down (I have long hair and have to keep it up for work) I flip my head over rub the heck out of my head then put it back up. It feels better after that and also after i give a thorough combing but it only lasts for about 20 minutes before the itch returns. i have used selson blue, t gel and head and shoulders itchy scalp shampoos and also taking benadryl daily. nothing is helping and its getting so i don’t even want to leave the house. i have also on my days off NOT washed my hair to try to get some oil to the follicles but that hasn’t worked either. Help I am ready to shave my head

  • Dr. Chris

    Hi Cheri

    You need to see a dermatologist immediately. Trying to manage this condition with OTC (over-the-counter medication) is not the way to approach this condition and it will just continue to progress to a point where medical treatment at a later stage may have to be more aggressive and it will take longer to heal. What has to be differentiated here is whether this is just dandruff or you possibly have dermatitis/eczema as well which is affecting the skin on your neck. In terms of the dandruff, it is often more than just dry skin and a fungal infection may be playing a part in this. With the dermatitis, the exact type has to be diagnosed (read more on types of eczema) and appropriate treatment commenced. Any trigger factors also need to be identified and removed. So before you take extreme measures like shaving your head, speak to your family doctor about a referral to a dermatologist. Remember that if you are using hair extensions, chemical straighteners, hair dyes, and so on, stop these first before you see the dermatologist.

  • jackie

    I have terrible itching behind ears back neck and top of scalp I don’t have dandruff or head lice tried different shampoos from t gel /head shoulders /baby shampoo /non perfumed Tec nothing works have you any idea’s

  • Hi Jackie. You need to see a dermatologist. There are a host of different conditions that could be causing these symptoms, such as a fungal infection of the scalp, different types of dermatitis and even psoriasis. A dermatologist can assess your scalp and diagnose the condition. Thereafter the appropriate treatment will be prescribed. Trying to manage the condition on your own with no success thus far will only delay proper medical treatment, allow the condition to get worse and possibly even lead to complications. You may also find this article useful –

  • Tilonda Payton

    My baby is almost two years old and she has these sores in the back of her head and some knots on the back of her neck I was thinking that the rubber bands was doing this to her head but when I comb her hair she is always crying and saying it hurt in the back of her head and she also has a rash on the back of her neck as well so know when I comb her hair I just grease it real good in the back and let it get air

  • Hi Tilonda. A number of scalp conditions can cause sores like these. You may want to look at a possible fungal infection of the skin (ringworm or tinea capitis) or bacterial infection (impetigo) among other conditions. It is advisable that you consult with her pediatrician. It may need to be medically treated before it spreads or complications arise that can damage the scalp and hair follicles.

  • Avantika Chopra

    I have face and back acne which is very mild. Lately i have developed small bumps on my scalp. They are itchy but without an opening or head but they can be easily felt.
    Could you please suggest me a home remedy to cure the same.
    Ps: I have oily skin & scalp but dry hair.

  • HI Avantika. Although it is very likely that the ‘bumps’ on your scalp is related to your current acne, it could also be another condition entirely. Medical advice is therefore recommended. As a policy we do not prescribe remedies or treatments to users in the event that there are adverse effects. We do not recommend treating yourself. Rather see a doctor, or in this case a dermatologist or trichologist, get a proper diagnosis and then follow the doctor’s prescribed treatment accordingly.

  • Krystal

    Hi. My scalp became heavy in dandruff like I’ve never had before. It lasted a couple weeks. Then I noticed a week ago (so now going on one week) I had a very sore tender head around my soft spot. I couldn’t really touch it but felt of lumps. After about 3 to 4 days I noticed a couple big lumps around the soft spot still and a gross yellow color kinda feels like a scab but is filled wit puss like stuff greasy fluid. Any idea what it is and if I can pull off? Thank you.