Sores on your head or scalp can hurt and may be embarrassing. Unless you’re skilled at taking back-of-the-head selfies, they also can be hard to see.

dermatitis in scalp

What causes these lumps and bumps that can make things like brushing your hair painful? It can be anything from minor local infections to signs of a health condition that can affect your whole body.

Most aren’t serious. It’s a good idea, though, to see your doctor if they bother you. This is especially true if:

  • Your head sores last more than a few days or won’t heal.
  • You have a lot of sores or they keep coming back.
  • You’ve noticed any changes in the shape, size, or color of bumps or lumps on your scalp.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis happens when your skin reacts badly to something that touches it. You might get it on your scalp from shampoos or other hair products. Or you could get it from a poison oak leaf brushing against your head. It causes patches of red, itchy, scaly skin. When it’s severe, it also can lead to crusty, oozing sores.


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