What is a scalp scab?

Scabs that develop on your scalp can result in itchiness and even affect your hair growth. The manifestation of these scabs may differ depending on the root cause and their appearance may not always look the same among people.

Scalp scabs are generally not serious and are a common problem. It could just be a sign that your scalp is reacting to an irritant. There are, on the other hand, times when scabs on scalp signal a medical skin condition.

What causes scabs on the scalp?

Several things can cause scabs on scalp. In most cases, they root from minor things like using shampoos with harsh ingredients causing scalp irritations. However, there are medical conditions that could cause scabs to develop on your scalp. These health conditions include:

  • Contact dermatitis: This is a form of eczema that is triggered when you come into contact with certain things[1], like the harsh chemicals that are present in shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care products.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis: A relatively common skin condition, seborrheic dermatitis causes inflammation on your scalp resulting in scaly patches. Dandruff is another common symptom of this dermatitis.
  • Scalp psoriasis: Psoriasis can cause thick, rough, dry, and scaly patches on your scalp and the skin surrounding your scalp. This can be another potential cause of scabs on scalp.

  • Ringworm of the scalp: This rash is caused by a fungal infection that can lead to an itchy scalp with bumps. They may appear scaly which may turn into bald patches on the head. This fungal infection is not at all caused by a ringworm and the only reason why it is called ringworm is because of the circular appearance of the patch.
  • Head lice: Anyone who is infested with headlice may develop scalp sores and scabs. Their bites may give you a tingling sensation urging you to scratch your head intensely. These parasites on your head[2] are not directly causing the sores on scalp but the itching and scratching.
  • Planopilaris: This rare inflammatory condition can result in scabs on the scalp. It’s known as an autoimmune condition of the hair follicle which can also result in permanent hair loss. Since it is slow to progress, treatment should be pursued during the onset as hair loss recovery may be difficult even while using hair growth products.
  • Shingles: These are painful rashes that can appear anywhere in the body including the scalp. They are caused by a viral infection and they may appear as red spots on scalp, bumps, and blisters that can cause scabs.
  • Eosinophilic folliculitis: This is a recurring condition of the hair follicle with an unknown cause. They may appear as red or sometimes skin-colored swelling which can be very itchy. This can cause scabs on your scalp and may impact your hair growth.
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis: This chronic skin condition is characterized by intense itchiness which causes your skin to blister. It is an autoimmune disease of the skin that is associated with gluten sensitivity.
  • Skin cancer on the scalp: In certain cases, skin cancer can grow on your scalp. These skin cancers may develop on your scalp in different shapes, colors, and sizes and can cause itchiness.


Your hairdresser might be able to confirm if you have suspicions of scabs on scalp. However, other manifestations may indicate you have scalp issues. Find out if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Itchiness is a very common symptom. The intensity also indicates the degree of severity of your scabs on scalp.
  • Dry flakes falling off your shoulders are a visible symptom. Flakes may also come off when you brush your hair or when you run your fingers through your hair.
  • Hair loss, particularly in affected areas, may also be noticeable.

Treatment Options

It is important to see a doctor if you think the scabs on your scalp are persistent.
Symptoms such as itchiness and severe pain could be a sign that you need medical treatment. While home remedies may work, it’s best to seek medical advice to establish treatment or a management plan especially when your symptoms are becoming bothersome.

Knowing the possible causes of scabs on scalp is a good way to start your treatment journey. Your doctor may present to you several treatments upon recognizing your symptoms and underlying conditions. A physical examination may also help the doctor determine the possible reasons why you are having such conditions.

While other scalp conditions can be addressed with simple remedies, chronic cases may require long-term treatments. Scalp scabs caused by a fungal infection may simply require an antifungal medication. However, more complex scalp conditions such as those related to psoriasis might place you in continuing health treatment plans.

Scalp scab prevention tips

Understanding the right treatments and knowing the home remedies for scabs on scalp is very helpful. However, prevention would always be the better option than going through all these treatments.

Taking proper care of your hair and scalp is a good starting point. Aside from your regular intake of vitamins and minerals, you can also take the Nufolix hair growth supplement to provide you with nutrients for healthy hair growth. This supplement is a great addition to your health regimen because it is packed with plant extracts which are excellent in keeping your scalp, hair follicles, and hair strands healthy.

You can also prevent scabs on scalp with the following tips:

  • Wash your hair regularly with shampoo that has natural and gentle ingredients. You can also use a conditioner to maximize hair moisture. However, it is important to regulate your hair hygiene as overwashing can cause scalp dryness.
  • Fighting the urge to scratch your head can be a challenge sometimes. If your scalp feels itchy, a gentle scratch should give you temporary relief. Intense scratching can leave abrasions on your scalp and increase the risk of infections.
  • Always be mindful of the ingredients in all your haircare products – some ingredients can be harsh and highly irritating.
Tea Tree Oil for Hair

Home and alternative remedies to treat scalp scabs

As mentioned above, your healthcare provider may prescribe you to take medications for your scalp scabs. Aside from these prescriptions, there are also some natural remedies that you can try at home. These remedies are easy to find and they are great for instant relief. You might find these two top alternatives and natural remedies as your best options.

  • Tea tree oil: This natural oil may be one of the most potent natural remedies for your scalp problems. Tea tree oil contains natural antibacterial and antifungal properties[3] that help eliminate microbes that might cause scabs on scalp and further infections. It has a refreshing effect on your scalp and soothes inflammation and itching. Diluting tea tree oil with water is highly recommended.
  • Aloe vera gel: Using aloe vera products is another great natural remedy for scalp scabs. Aloe vera helps to lessen inflammation and can also be useful for itchiness and irritation.


What vitamin deficiency can cause scalp scabs?

Zinc, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 deficiency could potentially contribute to scabs on scalp.

What can stop scalp infections?

If there is an infection, it may be due to a fungus. In that case, antifungal shampoos and ointments can be useful. Natural options, such as using tea tree oil, can also help you to get rid of your scalp infections.

What does scalp psoriasis look like?

It depends on the severity of the psoriasis. For mild cases, flaking which is similar to dandruff is a noticeable symptom. Your skin can become discolored and raised if the psoriasis progresses.


Scabs on scalp can be bothersome and might affect you in some ways. The good news is that it is not something serious. In most cases, the scabs will go away on their own. OTC medications and natural home remedies should help you treat and manage this scalp problem. However, if you think your condition is becoming persistent and is showing chronic complications, it is best to see your doctor for proper medication and treatment plans.