Bumps on Scalp: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

bumps on scalp that hurt

Red, painful bumps can appear on the scalp for numerous reasons. Skin conditions, infections and inflammation may cause hair roots inflammation, causing pimple-like bumps or rashes as well as loss of hair in some areas. Comprehending possible factors for their advancement can assist guide treatment and responsiveness. Some conditions might require immediate medical interest. If bumps persist and pain becomes bothersome, contact a physician for assessment and treatment.

Pimple-like bumps on the head can be brought on by several conditions, consisting of seborrheic dermatitis and folliculitis. Although these illnesses have various causes, both of them can be bothersome and hazardous if left without treatment. Pimple-like scalp bumps can be humiliating and difficult to hide, making it is necessary to comprehend their causes and solutions.

Symptoms Bumps on Scalp

Pimple-like bumps on the head can be tender, scaly, itchy, irritated and red in appearance. The bumps can be crusty and might be filled with a pus-like material. They can also be surrounded by oily or greasy skin. In addition, hair loss can take place in the area of scalp around the bump. In some cases, such as when the bumps are the result of seborrheic dermatitis, red bumps and scaling can appear on other areas of the body such as the ears, nose and eyelids.

Possible Causes of Bumps on Scalp That Itch and Hurt

Bumps on the scalp can be triggered by a skin problem called seborrheic dermatitis. According to the MedlinePlus website, this disease takes place due to the yeast malassezia and an excess production of oil on the skin. Triggers might include stress, irregular bathing, alcohol-containing creams and obesity. Red bumps can also be because of a scalp infection called folliculitis. This happens when the hair follicles end up being infected by a fungus, virus or bacteria after becoming harmed.

Tinea Capitis
Tinea capitis, or ringworm of the scalp, causes round, red, flaky bumps on the scalp’s surface area. This is because of the mold-like fungus tinea, which infects the skin and quickly progresses if not effectively controlled. Bumps are typically hurt with incessant irritation and may be filled with pus, according to MedlinePlus. Ringworm of the scalp requires antifungal medication prescribed by a doctor. Numerous treatments prevail.

Folliculitis is the inflammation of one or several hair follicles anywhere on the skin, MedlinePlus says. It begins when hair follicles end up being damaged due to external inflammation of blocked follicles. In general, the area appears red, rough and pimple-like, displaying hurt along with itchiness. Folliculitis decalvans is a condition influencing just the scalp and results in scarring in which hair never grows back. Staphylococcus aureus is the bacteria accountable for this condition and generally requires numerous antibiotic treatments to ward off the infection, according to the Singapore Medical Association.

Scalp Psoriasis
Red, rough spots of skin with discomfort that may extend beyond the hair line shows scalp psoriasis. Symptoms are similar to sebhorreic dermatitis of the scalp, in which there is no pain– just itchiness and bumps remaining restricted by the hairline. This condition can range from mild to severe with thick, crusted plaques associateding with basic symptoms. The National Psoriasis Foundation says scalp psoriasis can become less responsive to medications over time, so turning or combining treatments assists in combating the condition. Tar items and salicylic acid help deal with mild cases, whereas prescription topical or oral treatments need assessment by a health care specialist.

Treatment  for Bumps on Scalp

Seborrheic dermatitis can take advantage of over-the-counter hair shampoos including medications such as resorcin, selenium, salicylic acid, coal tar or zinc. In severe cases, a doctor can recommend corticosteroid or ketoconazole shampoos. Scalp bumps due to folliculitis can be corrected with topical or oral antibiotics. These can relieve the infection and help in reducing any itchiness or swelling. Chronic or painful bumps that are boil-like may require surgical drainage to increase recovery time and relieve pain.


The MedlinePlus site suggests that a patient contact a doctor or dermatologist if scalp bumps are consistent or do not react to home treatments. It is likewise crucial that the sufferer alleviate the bumps thoroughly and gently. When it comes to an infection, he should clean the scalp two times a day utilizing an antibacterial soap. Shaving the scalp ought to be avoided as much as possible if suffering from bumps on the head.


Both seborrheic dermatitis and folliculitis can be hazardous if left without treatment. Besides triggering humiliation and issues with self-confidence, both conditions can result in severe fungal or bacterial infections. These infections can eventually take a trip to the bloodstream and lymph nodes. With folliculitis, painful boils can establish underneath the skin’s surface, leading to severe pain and scarring. In addition, irreversible hair loss can take place if the hair follicle becomes destroyed.

Last modified: August 5, 2016


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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