A scaly scalp is a common occurrence with a plethora of possible causes, such as bamboo hair syndrome, dandruff, and scalp psoriasis. Some problems, like a vitamin deficiency or emotional stress, are believed to trigger dandruff or cause flare-ups to become worse. Whatever the cause, treatment is usually available in the forms of shampoo and conditioners, healthier eating habits, and dietary supplements. Avoiding dry scalp triggers can help a person reduce his or her amount of flakes and itchiness, but it is important to remember that, contrary to the popular myth, dandruff, scalp psoriasis, and other scaly scalp conditions do not normally lead to baldness. In addition, it is normal for the condition to eventually return after a successful treatment due to dry scalp triggers or genetics.
One condition that can cause a scaly scalp is referred to as bamboo hair syndrome. The main symptom of this condition is that the shaft of the hair literally looks like bamboo, with a distinctive overlapping pattern. Other accompanying symptoms of this condition include susceptibility to asthma and thin amounts of hair. This inherited condition is rare, and treatments include antihistamines, topical steroids, and antibiotics for associated skin infections.
Another condition that can contribute to the presence of a scaly scalp is dandruff. Dandruff is essentially dead scalp skin coming off the head. The problem is that, while all skin cells die and fall off as they are replaced, sometimes this process is accelerated. This accelerated natural process is sometimes chronic, caused by extreme temperatures or aggravated by other irritations. In addition to scaly patches of scalp, dandruff is typified by itchiness and white flakes of dead skin in the hair.
Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease that tricks the body into accelerating the growth of skin cells. This condition commonly appears as white or red patches of scaly skin, and it can affect the entire body or just one spot, like the scalp. Some researchers believe the disease is genetic, but it also seems to occur after an injury to the skin. No cure has been discovered for scalp psoriasis, though it can often be effectively managed with topical treatments.
The treatments for scaly scalp vary as much as its underlying causes. Some of the conditions require medicated washes and topical ointments, while others may require oral medications such as antibiotics. Scaly scalp is always caused by another condition, and thus diagnosis is of utmost importance when seeking a treatment for it.