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Scabs on Scalp: Know What's Causing Them and Treatments for Relief

Scabs on Scalp: Know What's Causing Them and Treatments for Relief

, by AussiePharmaDirect, 11 min reading time

The scalp is the foundation upon which the beauty and health of your hair are built. It's an integral part of your overall appearance, and its condition can significantly impact your self-image and confidence. Unfortunately, when scabs appear on your scalp, these tiny, often itchy or painful blemishes can affect not only your physical comfort but also your self-esteem.

Scalp scabs can be more than just a minor annoyance. They can be indicative of underlying issues that, if left untreated, may lead to more significant problems. Understanding the causes and proper treatment for scalp scabs is essential. In the following sections, we'll take a closer look at the common causes of scalp scabs, including various treatments and home remedies that can help provide relief and improve the overall health of your scalp.

What are scalp scabs?

Scalp scabs, also known as scalp sores or scalp lesions, are small, raised areas of the skin on your scalp that have become dry, crusty, and hardened. These scabs can vary in size and colour, typically appearing as reddish-brown or yellowish patches on the scalp. They may be surrounded by redness and inflammation, making them stand out against the normal colour of your scalp.

The appearance of scalp scabs can range from small, isolated spots to larger, more extensive areas. They are often characterised by a rough or uneven texture and may resemble small, flaky, or scaly patches. While they can sometimes be subtle and inconspicuous, they can also be quite noticeable, depending on their size and location.

Scalp scabs can be more than just a cosmetic concern. They can cause discomfort and irritation, leading to various symptoms, including:

  1. Itchiness - Many individuals with scalp scabs experience intense itching. Constant scratching can exacerbate the issue and potentially lead to infection.
  2. Pain - In some cases, scalp scabs can become tender and painful, especially if they are the result of an underlying condition or injury. Painful sores on scalp can make daily activities, such as combing or brushing your hair, uncomfortable.
  3. Unsightly appearance - Regardless of whether they cause itching or pain, scalp scabs can be unsightly and affect your self-esteem. The presence of scabs on your scalp may make you self-conscious about your appearance.

The causes of scalp scabs can vary widely, and understanding what's triggering them is essential for effective treatment.

Why do you have crusty scabs on your scalp? Common causes of scalp scabs

  1.  Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis:
  • Excess oil production (sebum) - One of the primary causes of dandruff and scalp scabs is an overproduction of natural oils, known as sebum. Excess sebum can create an ideal environment for the yeast Malassezia to thrive, leading to scalp irritation and flaking.
  • Yeast overgrowth - The yeast Malassezia is naturally present on the scalp, but when it multiplies excessively, it can cause inflammation, itching, and scaly patches, resulting in dandruff and scabs.
  • Dry skin - Paradoxically, dry scalp can also lead to scabs. Dryness can cause flakiness and itching, prompting you to scratch your scalp, which can result in scabs forming.
  1. Psoriasis and eczema:
  • Psoriasis and eczema are chronic skin conditions that can affect the scalp. Psoriasis often results in red, scaly plaques, while eczema causes inflamed, itchy patches.
  1. Folliculitis:
  • Folliculitis is the inflammation or infection of hair follicles on the scalp. It can result from bacteria or fungi entering the hair follicles, leading to pustules, redness, and scabs.
  1. Allergic reactions:
  • Allergic reactions to hair care products, hair dyes, shampoos, or conditioners can cause scalp irritation, redness, and scabs.
  1. Injury or trauma:
  • Scratches, injuries, or excessive scratching due to itching can lead to scabs on the scalp.

 Scalp treatment for scabs

Dealing with scalp scabs can be a discomforting experience, but there are various treatment options available to help alleviate the symptoms and address the underlying causes. The choice of treatment depends on the specific condition causing your scalp scabs.

  1. Over-the-counter (OTC) solutions:
  • Anti-dandruff shampoos - Anti-dandruff shampoos typically contain active ingredients like pyrithione zinc, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, or salicylic acid, which help combat the fungal or microbial overgrowth responsible for dandruff and scalp irritation.
  • Moisturising shampoos and conditioners - Normally, these products contain hydrating ingredients like glycerin, aloe vera or hyaluronic acid which help hydrate the scalp, reducing dryness and the likelihood of scabs forming.
  • Coal tar shampoos - Coal tar is a thick, dark liquid derived from coal during the carbonisation process. It is particularly renowned for its ability to slow down the growth of skin cells, making it valuable in treating conditions where rapid cell turnover on the scalp leads to issues like itching, scaling, and inflammation. It is used to manage conditions such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and dandruff.
  • Topical steroid creams or ointments - Topical steroids are typically available by prescription, and work by reducing inflammation and suppressing the immune response in the affected area of the skin. 
  1. Prescription medications:
  • In cases of more severe or chronic scalp conditions, such as psoriasis or severe eczema, your dermatologist may prescribe prescription medications. These can include topical corticosteroids to reduce inflammation or antifungal treatments to combat fungal infections.
  1. Home remedies:
  • Some individuals prefer natural remedies for scalp scab relief. A few options include:
    • Aloe vera gel
    • Tea tree oil - dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in a carrier oil (like coconut or jojoba oil) before using to avoid irritation
    • Apple cider vinegar - A diluted solution of apple cider vinegar may help balance the scalp's pH and reduce flakiness.

Scalp care for prevention and maintenance

Taking care of your scalp is essential not only for treating existing scabs but also for preventing future issues, and this means avoiding harsh scrubbing or excessive rubbing, as it can exacerbate scalp irritation. Even tight hairstyles like braids or ponytails can strain the scalp and potentially lead to scabs, which is why it is always recommended to opt for looser hairstyles when possible.

Consider incorporating the Allay Organics Scalp Therapy product into your scalp care routine

When it comes to addressing the unique needs of sensitive skin, especially conditions like psoriasis and eczema, it's essential to choose products that prioritise gentle, natural ingredients. Allay Organics is your best choice when it comes to skincare and scalp care as they are designed for individuals with sensitive skin conditions. In particular, the Scalp Therapy is the one product to go for as the bioactive ingredients in the product provides a deeply penetrating treatment to soothe irritated, itchy, and flaky scalp. 

Plus it contains beneficial ingredients like ginseng extract, ginger extract, and onion bulb extract. Here’s how and why they should work for your scalp conditions:

Ginseng Extract

Why it works: Ginseng is a popular herb known for its numerous health benefits, including its potential to improve scalp health. It contains ginsenosides, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Scalp scabs are often a result of inflammation, and ginseng can help reduce this inflammation, thus alleviating discomfort and promoting healing.

How it works: Ginseng extract, when applied topically in the form of a shampoo, it can improve blood circulation in the scalp, which helps in delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles. This can encourage hair growth and scalp healing, including the reduction of scabs. Ginseng also possesses antioxidant properties that protect the scalp from oxidative stress and free radical damage.

Ginger Extract

Why it works: Ginger is another potent natural remedy for various ailments, including scalp conditions. It contains bioactive compounds like gingerol, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties make ginger extract effective in treating scalp issues like scabs, dandruff, and itching.

How it works: Gingerol also has antimicrobial properties that can help eliminate the bacteria or fungi such as the Candida albicans that is responsible for scalp issues. By reducing inflammation and promoting a healthier scalp environment, ginger extract can contribute to the resolution of scalp scabs.

Onion Bulb Extract

Why it works: Onion bulb extract is gaining attention for its potential to improve scalp health and promote hair growth. Onions contain sulfur compounds and quercetin, which have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. These properties make onion bulb extract a viable option for managing scalp scabs.

How it works: Onion bulb extract is typically applied topically as a scalp treatment. Sulfur compounds in onions can help stimulate blood circulation in the scalp, ensuring that hair follicles receive adequate nutrients. Quercetin can help reduce inflammation and itching, providing relief from scalp discomfort. Additionally, the antimicrobial properties of onion extract can help combat scalp infections that may contribute to scabs.

When to see a dermatologist

While many scalp scabs can be managed with over-the-counter treatments and home remedies, there are instances when it's crucial to seek the expertise of a dermatologist. Here are signs and symptoms that indicate the need for professional evaluation:

  • Persistent and recurring scab on scalp in same spot
  • Severe itching or pain
  • Bleeding or oozing of pus
  • Hair loss in conjunction with scalp scabs
  • Worsening symptoms (scabs on scalp that won't heal)
  • New or unexplained symptoms alongside scalp scabs, such as swelling, redness, or changes in the appearance of your scalp


The information provided in this blog is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is based on research that the team at Aussie Pharma Direct had acquired and general knowledge. The content is not a substitute for professional medical, dermatological, or any other professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician, dermatologist, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or skin condition.


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