Common Scalp Problems: How To Treat Them

Hair loss is, in its simplest sense, a scalp problem. Whether you suffer from genetics-related pattern baldness or you are losing your hair due to other factors, the health of your scalp plays a direct role in the health of your hair. But hair loss is just one of many ways that your scalp can cause you discomfort, embarrassment, or grief.

Tens of millions of Americans deal with a variety of scalp problems and spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to resolve these issues. Here are some of the most common scalp problems we see at the Miami Hair & Skin Insititute, along with ways you can effectively treat them, usually on your own.


Dandruff may be annoying or embarrassing, but it is not usually a cause for worry or a sign of something more serious. This condition is simply a visible sign that the skin cells on your scalp are producing new cells faster than is typical. This results in excessive shedding of dead skin cells, which then fall from the scalp as dandruff flakes.

While there is no “cure” for the condition, you can keep dandruff under control with over-the-counter medicated shampoos like Head & Shoulders or Selsun Blue. If OTC remedies fail to do the trick, you may need prescription anti-dandruff shampoo.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

A mild form of dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis can cause a reddening of the scalp and the production of a lot of oil. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the condition is more common in individuals with oily skin or hair, acne, or psoriasis. As with dandruff, attempt OTC shampoos to alleviate the problem and see a doctor for a prescription shampoo if it persists.


While psoriasis can develop anywhere on the skin, it most often shows up on the scalp when the body makes too many new skin cells. Those cells can build up and form thick, itchy, crusted scales.

Steroid creams or ointments are usually effective at treating scalp psoriasis, as are shampoos containing tar or salicylic acid. Severe cases may need prescription oral or injectable medication.


Folliculitis, which appears as small pus-filled pimples on the scalp, is a condition involving inflammation or infection of hair follicles. It is usually caused by bacteria that make their way into the follicles from an infection nearby. You can also irritate the follicles when shaving or using makeup, or by certain fabrics in clothing.

While some mild cases clear up without treatment, an antibiotic can take care of the issue quickly.

Scalp Sunburn

Balding individuals or those with thinning hair are particularly vulnerable to sunburn on the scalp. Too much sun can turn your hair brittle, dry, and more prone to breaks and splits. Additionally, sunburn on the scalp can not only be the result of having areas of thinning or absent hair, but it can also cause hair loss, at least temporarily. Protect your scalp with scalp sunscreen or a hat, especially in the summer.

Schedule an Appointment for a Hair Loss Evaluation Today

If you are concerned about your hair loss and are ready to do something about it, we invite you to schedule a hair loss evaluation at the Miami Hair Institute. Drs. Nusbaum and Rose are internationally acclaimed hair restoration surgeons with more than 40 years of combined experience. To receive a personalized evaluation and hair restoration plan, contact us online or call our office at 305-925-0222.