Itchy, Red, Yellow Scabs on Scalp Causes, Symptoms Remedies with Pictures 

What is the meaning of scalp scab? How do they form? Are these scabs curable? Usually, scratching or injuring them frequently may lead to the development of wounds or sores on your scalp. The healing process of such wounds or sores will mix dried skin cells with blood to form a layer called scab. Scabs can be yellowish, dark brown, reddish or black. They can also itch, bleed or produce a very annoying smell. Explore more on their causes, symptoms, why you should not pick them, how to treat them and more.

What causes them?

There is a wide range of causes. They usually result to different symptoms of variant severity. Here are the reasons why you may be having tehem

 Dandruff Scabs

Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis is a skin condition that do affect both children and adults of both gender. Its symptoms improve with itching, flaking and scabbing. Yellow or white crusty patches may also follow. Usually, serious dandruffs make the skin itchy, scaly and form pimples. As these pimples try to heal, their healing process may cause pimple scabs. “When pimples break, they start healing by forming small scabs on the scalp and areas affected”, confirms

Scratching Itchy Scalp

Though resisting to scratch an itchy skin is quite a hard ordeal, when your scratch your head, you will obviously bruise the skin resulting to scalp sores and lesions. As the resultant lesions heals, you will develop some small head scabs

To avoid scratching your scalp, it will be a good idea to avoid substances that may make it to itch. They include hair, dyes, and certain hair shampoos among others. In addition, there are also many skin condition that can as well make your scalp to itch like hell. With close contact with your doctor, identify the medical conditions and treat them as soon as they are discovered

Hair lice

Lice live in a dirty hair and usually they don’t transfer diseases though, they can be embarrassing and make one bothered. Their movement in the hair may make you develop the urge to scratch the head. As the itching worsens, scratching will upsurge leading to formation of sores and eventually the head scabs.

Scalp Infections

There are also infections that can lead to the severe sore scalp. The most common infections are shingles (viral infection) and ringworm (fungal infections).  Shingles or herpes zoster is usually known to trigger blisters on the affected skin. They are followed with small crusty scabs on the scalp.

Ringworm on the side, is a prevalent infection in children but can affect the adults as well. It also a serious infections that is accompanied with mass hair loss if it affects the scalp. It forms round clusters of pustules which dry to form crust and small scabs

Contact Dermatitis

This is when your body come into contact with a substances which can lead to allergic reaction of the body. Allergic reactions usually, are triggered by certain foods we eat, side effects of certain medications and beauty products that we use daily. Other substances such as latex, poison ivy or poison oak can also trigger allergic response. Allergens will lead to itching or burning scalp that may develop the urge to scratch it. Some pus-filled blisters may also be seen. When the condition get worse, scabs and bleeding may be experienced. The most significant thing is not to scratch and then application of antihistamines can also be meaningful. When all these are in vain, seek for further medical care.

Psoriasis on Scalp

This is a skin condition that occur when your white blood cells happen to attack healthy skin cells by mistake. The reason for this is not well-defined but theories are out there which tend to relate it with other health conditions. Well, psoriasis can affect any part of your body. Talk of face, legs and scalp among others.

The usual symptoms accompanying psoriasis include, “appearance of a thick dandruff-like scales or flakes and red patches” says As these patches tend to heal, they will form head scabs.

Lichen Planus

Lichen Planus or Lichen Planopilaris (when it occur on the scalp) is a skin condition that causes red or purple bumps on the skin. This condition often causes permanent scarring and hair loss alongside itching. The itching will trigger scratching that will eventually result to development to scabs. Normally, this condition vanishes of its own but can also stay longer than you may think; it can persist for years.

Scabs from oily or greasy scalp

Without any doubt, an oily scalp is  vulnerable to scabs. Excess sebum  will result to formation of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and more severe types of acne. This is when the excess oil block the pores. The resultant types of acne can be itchy, and scratching will result to sores on scalp. It is the healing process of such  sores that will form the scabs.

Hair dye

Allergic reaction and irritation from hair dye can lead to sores, itchiness and itchy scabs on scalp. Other hair products that can trigger itching and scalp irritation are shampoos, jewelry among others. Hair dyes and hair colors contain some ingredients that can causes mild to moderate to severe itching. The notorious ingredient is para-phenylenediamine. To avoid such irritations and itching, you should contemplate avoiding hair dyes containing this ingredient.

Harsh weather

In most instances, dry sore scalp does occur during winter. To some people, the drynes can be due to something else. When you develop a dry scalp, your body will respond by producing more sebum and it will be very unfortunate when produced in excess. This will clog the pores leading to all sorts of a skin lesion on this area as well as very painful sores. Small scabs will, therefore, be the product of healing lesions or sores.

Other Causes

Apart from the above 10 causes. There are also more causes that can lead to scalp condition that will initiate the formation of the scabs. They include:

  • Lupus disease
  • HIV
  • Hair bleaching
  • Stress and anxiety leading to picking of scabs
  • Cancer disease
  • Tight braids, weave and hair extensions


It is easy to recognize or pinpoint on the scabs as they are accompanied by more visible symptoms. The most common symptoms include:

  • Extreme itching sensation
  • Scalp swelling or thickening
  • Development of skin ulcers
  • Discharge from the sores
  • Burning sensation in the affected area
  • Development of rash and blisters
  • Bleeding especially when the scabs are scratched or poorly picked

Here are more symptoms that will help you dig deeper into the exact cause and recommended treatment or tell you when to see your GP.

A)  When black, brown or red

The scalp scab can have variant colors i.e. black, brown and red depending on the causes and circumstances. As the lesions or sores tend to heal, black and brown scabs or crusts are common figures. Red sores or scabs may be as a result of irritation, injury or bleeding in the areas of scalp patches.

B). White and yellow in color

While some moisture tend to be captured within the crust, white scabs on scalp may develop. This can also be a sign that, some pus are developing within the crust

Yellow pus on the other side can just symbolize serious infection. Such pus usually oozes from scalp areas with sores. Another symptom for infection on sores with green pus. This can be a symptom of more advanced infection. They can also be accompanied by very disgusting odors. You should see your doctor immediately once you discover yellow or green pus forming.

C)    Scalp Scabs and hair loss

Hair loss or what is known as alopecia is another important and common symptoms. Scalp scabs usually cause temporary hair loss but there are some that can lead to severe hair loss that could even be permanent. Common conditions known to lead to alopecia are; ringworm and lichen Planus. Ringworm is a fungal infection that can be treated. On the other side, lichen planus has no well-specified cause but it usually clear of its own though, can also persist for year leading to even permanent hair loss.

How to Get Rid of scalp scabs

Scabs on scalp treatment depend on the causes and the severity of the symptoms. Both medical treatments and home remedies can be employed to relieve or prevent them. Below are various ways you can use to effectively get rid of sores and scabs:

Medical Treatments

Topical antibiotics

For cases of infected ones, topical antibiotics can be of a greater relief. These medications come in the forms of creams, lotions, and gels. Antifungals are also available for sores caused by fungal infections. Common antibiotics include Polysporin and Neosporin treatments

§  Antihistamine Medicines

If you are having allergies and sensitive skin may be to substances such certain hair shampoos, hair dyes and more hair product, then you can relieve the resultant discomforts using antihistamines. More medications for eczema and psoriasis such as steroidal cortisone Cream can also be applied.

Salicylic-infused Shampoos

Scalp scabs caused by psoriasis can be effectively treated using shampoos containing salicylic acid. If this does not work for you, then you can proceed to your dermatologist.

Selenium and zinc pyrithione Shampoos

If dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis is what is causing your problems, then shampoos containing selenium and zinc pyrithione will help to manage the growth of the Yeast.

Home Remedies

For mild or moderate cases, natural home products can help soothe the itching and ease the pain resulting from sore or scabs. These home products comprise of essential oils that form perfect natural skin moisturizers and humidifiers to heal the scabs.

Tea Tree Oil

This natural product has antifungal properties and therefore can be very appropriate for treating the itchy scabs on scalp. You need to mix about 10 drops of this oil in a ¼ cup of jojoba oil and then apply the mixture on it. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes then rinse it off using water and medicated shampoo for scalp sores.

Olive Oil

This is another perfect remedy to treat them including if they are itchy. It has been widely and proved to be very effective. Just massage your hair and scalp using olive oil and leave it there for 10 minutes. Rinse it off with water and shampoo. This procedure should be applied thrice a week until a positive result is achieved.

Egg Mask Remedy

This is a wonderful protein that can really be excellent in treating scalp scabs. Whisk three egg yolks in a bowl and then apply the mask on your head using your fingers. You should ensure that all the scalp is covered with this mask. Leave it there to dry up and then rinse using warm water. This will get rid of debris as well as be nourishing it.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a very excellent soothing gel. It help relieve the itching and limit many skin infections. To apply this remedy, get fresh aloe vera gel and then apply the thick gel on the areas infested with sore and scabs. Leave it for about 30 minutes and then wash off using medicated shampoo. Repeat the procedure until you get satisfying result.

Other natural home products that can be used include; lemon juice, onion juice, apple cider vinegar among others.

Important prevention tips

Though there are many effective ways to treat scalp scabs, carrying out early prevention can be ideal. So here are ultimate tips for early preventions:

  • Don’t pick or scratch the scabs: This is very important. It obvious that your scab may itch but scratching or picking them can aggravate the problem. You know picking scab will extend their healing period? The clot or scab formed during the healing process will keep away the bacteria but picking or scratching will lead to damaged skin that will allow bacteria to enter, leading to secondary infections
  • Maintain your scalp moisture: Always maintain its moisture to avoid itching or irritation. Avoid hot showers or exposing your head on the sun for longer periods. You can also opt to use moisturizing products such shampoos but you must consult your doctor about the excellent product for your scalp. You can also use a humidifier in your house during winters or cold temperatures.
  • Avoid using the harsh product: in case you have hypersensitive scalp, you should avoid hair coloring since hair dyes can trigger irritations and itching resulting in development of scabs.

Talk to a doctor

Due to wide range of causes, knowing the root of your scalp problem should be done immediately. Remember the cause may include deep rooted conditions that we cannot unveil unless we see a doctor. Home remedies are also good to apply, yet if the problem persists it is best to consult a Doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible.

List of References
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