What are Scalp Lesions?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2019
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Scalp lesions are injuries on the scalp. There are a number of things which can cause scalp lesions to appear and there are various treatment options available for patients who develop areas of damaged skin on their scalps. These injuries are usually treated by a dermatologist, a practitioner who specializes in skin care. If the lesions are accompanied with hair loss, a hair specialist may also participate in the evaluation and treatment of the patient.

Some forms which lesions can take include: Bumps, scabs, cuts, ulcerations, blisters, flakes or scales, sores, growths, or areas of discoloration on the scalp. It can sometimes be difficult to identify these lesions because they are often hidden under the hair in the early stages. The patient may note that the scalp itches, tingles, or hurts as a result of the lesion, and some patients pick at the area of abnormal skin, which can increase the severity of the lesion.


Lesions may be caused by trauma to the scalp along with cancers, fungal or bacterial infections, and skin conditions. Exposures to toxins can also cause lesions to develop, as the skin may react to the toxin by ulcerating. One problem with scalp lesions is that they can grow quite large before people realize that there is a problem, and this can made them more difficult to treat. Another issue is that people frequently pick at them because of itching or irritation, and picking can lead to infection and inflammation because infectious materials may be introduced into the wound.

A dermatologist can often examine a lesion by pulling the hair clear of the area, although sometimes it is necessary to shave a small patch for increased visibility. A visual inspection of the lesion may be enough to identify the cause so that an appropriate course of treatment can be recommended. In other cases, the doctor may need to take a small tissue sample for examination and culturing to learn more about which types of cells are involved and to identify any microorganisms which might be involved.

Treatments vary, depending on the cause. They can include removal of the lesion if it is believed to be malignant, as in the case of cancerous growths. Medications may be administered to kill parasites, bacteria, or fungi present in the lesion. People can also be given anti-inflammatory drugs to manage inflammation in scalp lesions along with medications which will reduce itching so that the patient will be less inclined to pick at the lesion.


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Post 3

How long do the sores take to heal and go away?

Post 2

@katherineg - My son had scalp lesions during his senior year of high school. We never knew what caused them, but they cleared up considerably once the summer began. I really do think it was all the stress he was under with college applications, basketball, etc. Our bodies show stress in strange ways sometimes.

Post 1

I had really bad scalp sores last year, and I think they were caused by stress. At least, feeling stressed out made them worse. Has anyone else had this problem?

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