Scalp Infections. Symptoms, Causes & Natural Options For Fast Relief & Treatment

January 25, 2010 by admin  
Filed under HERBAL REMEDIES

There are many definitions and symptoms commonly described as scalp infections.  There are in fact quite a few different reasons why your scalp may be sore, itchy, inflamed burning red or infected.  If you are like many people with chronic scalp issues – it may be driving you completely up the wall and not knowing what it is or how to treat the problem effectively after many unsuccessful attempts to eliminate it can make it seem far worse – like you are never going to get to the bottom of the problem.  Well that need no longer be so!  It can be simple to diagnose and treat it now and for good.So if you are dealing with any of these scalp infection symptoms lets first identify the problem and then some of the underlying causes.

Firstly, if you want to get to the root of your problems, so to speak, you need to be able to identify what your problem actually is.  Of course, many scalp infections & conditions look alike, so here is a brief description of some of the most common scalp conditions:
  • Red Burning Itchy Scalp
  • Dandruff
  • Ringworm
  • Dry Scalp
  • Scalp Dermatitis
  • Eczema of the Scalp
  • Scalp Psoriasis
  • Folliculitis
  • Stress Related Itching
itchy scalp image
Red burning itchy scalp can be characterized as any tingling, burning, prickly, and sensitive to the touch or a fiery hot sensation.  Often associated with an allergy, sunburn, chemical burn (sensitization of the scalp), or fungal infection.
Dandruff as most of us know is the process of continual shedding of skin cells on our scalps.  Often the cause of dandruff is simply the result of toxins, pollutants and products that have built up on the scalp particularly products like silicone – a cheap commonly used artificial shine enhancer in conditioners sold in supermarkets.
When the natural balance of our scalps is disturbed, this creates the perfect environment for the yeast fungus Melassezia Globbosa to move in and thrive. This is when the natural process of shedding our cells gets a little out of hand resulting in an unsightly condition known as Seborrhoeic Dermatitis (fancy name for dandruff) and we see the highly visible tell-tale signs of flaking and crusting.
The accompanying itch and urge to scratch are often made worse by the multiplication of the fungal yeast pityrosporum-ovale (having one big party on your scalp).  Another follow on effect of this is that the relentless scratching by the sufferer can cause small lesions which weep and ooze or become infected resulting in scalp infections.
Lumps bumps and sores are also common when the scalp is highly irritated or sensitivity has been aggravated.  Candida can be an underlying cause of yeast infections of the scalp.
Ringworm Infections of the scalp (tinea capitis) is a superficial fungal infection of the scalp. Scalp ringworm is caused by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes. Ringworm infection occurs when a particular type of fungus grows and multiplies anywhere on your skin, scalp, or nails. It is far more common in children and symptoms include red, itchy patches on the scalp, leaving bald areas. The skin might itch and be red and peel or be scaly, have swollen blisters or a rash (that can spread) and looks like black dots.  The rash is highly contagious.  It is normally treated with over the counter products containing miconazole, clotrimazole, or similar.  Sometimes prescription antifungal skin medications, such as ketoconazole are needed to clear it up.  There are also products direct from nature’s factories that can aid the healing process and act as natural antibiotics, although it must be said that ringworm is an aggressive fungus which needs to be monitored closely and treated accordingly.
Dry scalp can feel tight , a sensation that is sometimes accompanied by flakiness.  It is often the result of natural oils being stripped from our scalps by the frequent use of shampoos, hair dyes and or other hair products.
Dermatitis infections of the scalp (Seborrheic dermatitis) is an inflammatory disorder affecting areas of the head and body where sebaceous glands are most prominent.  It can vary from mild dandruff to dense flakey and greasy scale.  Once again it is often an accumulation of toxins and products built up on our scalps that our body is trying to rid itself of.
Eczema of the scalp similar in appearance to Seborrheic dermatitis but instead has the name Atopic dermatitis.
Scalp Psoriasis commonly occurs on the back of the head however multiple areas of the scalp or the whole scalp may be affected. Scalp psoriasis is characterized by thick silvery white scales on patches of very red skin and can extend slightly beyond the hairline. Scalp psoriasis, despite being partially hidden by the hair is often a source of social embarrassment due to flaking of the scale and severe ‘dandruff’. Scalp psoriasis may be extremely itchy or on occasion have no itch symptoms. It can also cause temporary baldness on the affected areas.  It is a common, chronic, inflammatory skin disease and is associated with increased risk of melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
Folliculitis of the scalp is a superficial bacterial infection of the hair follicles. It is characterized by pustules around the hair follicles and symptoms include painful brushing of hair and tenderness when rubbing your scalp around the hair follicle sites.  Treating with antibiotics for the particular bacteria is the usual course of action but can eventually cause restistance to the antibiotic used. Options include applying Evoclin Foam which is topical. Folliculitis is commonly caused by staph bacteria which also reside inside the nose and sinus cavity.   Natural oils such as tea tree and lavender have good antibacterial properties and can also be used to treat this condition.
If you have a bump or lump under the skin (commonly a lump behind the ears with no broken skin or rash developing, then this could be a cyst.  Cysts are liquid filled pustules which can be painful when they become infected.  If you have such symptoms I recommend seeing a doctor to be safe.  Doctors can also treat cysts with antibiotics if they have become infected or incise them as a further but uncommon procedure if the antibiotics are not sufficient.
Stress Related Itching Stress can contribute to or worsen scalp itching as it plays havoc with our immune system and hormones which have an effect on production of sebum from your sebaceous glands.  Although it can contribute to the problem it is still somewhat of a myth.  It may appear that you have a stress rash , but it is more likely that the problem was already there in a less noticeable way, then aggravated by increased stress levels making it harder for your body to deal with the problem on its own and eliminate the problem.  Many of the treatments below include stress relieving properties – like Lavender oil for example which calms the mind and soothes the body.
Solutions – what YOU can do about it
Going to your doctor may be the best way to get an accurate answer to diagnosing your problem, but I understand that many of you may have already done this, been prescribed some form of medication of cream (even heavy duty cortisone based ones where the cortisone potency may need to be increased after time).
Often the problem either doesn’t go away from the start – or seems to subside but comes back with full a vengeance later leaving you wondering with more unanswered questions and a VERY unhappy scalp!  Well the good news is if you don’t like using these expensive and often impotent products – or even want to help them along you can use natural remedies and essential oils known to be super effective anti-bacterial busters such as tea tree oil for instance to inhibit or stop the growth of the infection and assist healing/rebalancing of the scalp.
Something that is also important to understand in curing scalp conditions and scalp infections – a factor that is missed by so many doctors, and something not disclosed by companies who sell hair products and treatments is the number of people who are allergic or sensitive to commonly used ingredients in shampoos, dandruff treatments and other hair products.  In fact MOST hair products (as many as 90%) contain at least one ingredient that is used in engine degreasers, another is a common ingredient in antifreeze.
These ingredients are cheap to produce foaming agents that make shampoo foam up, and do a fantastic job of stripping dirt and oily build up from hair.  Problem is that they sometimes do SUCH a good job that they remove all of the natural oils and sebum from the scalp thus removing the scalps natural defence against bacteria etc.  Another little known fact is that the most common ingredient (Sodium laureth sulphate) is used to induce skin irritation in test patients by drug companies to test the effectiveness of their itch relief skin creams.  When first produced and for year’s afterwards manufacturers did not know that skin was not a barrier but an absorber of ingredients & that they caused skin irritation in so many people.
So sometimes the beginning of a scalp condition can have originated from something as simple as an imbalance to the skins (scalps) sebum or an allergy to an ingredient that can easily be rectified.
Like your immune system,  if your skin has an opportunity to rebalance itself and not be subjected to incoming foreign matter and the daily stripping of its natural oils that further aggravates the problem you can allow your body to rebalance and heal itself.  Obviously buying products that do not strip your hair and scalp is an obvious step in the right direction.
Fortunately there are a lot of manufacturers such as Aveda and Akin (Purist Company) who know what consumers are suffering from these issues so have addressed this problem.  They have applied this knowledge to produce some amazing products with all of the benefits of natural ingredients, with none of the side effects at a price we can afford (Akin especially).  It need not be difficult, nor expensive to make these choices and a move to healthy hair and scalp long term.
So yes you can eliminate harsh shampoos containing sodium sulphates and go for natural Sulphate and paraben free shampoos that contain ingredients such as macadamia, wheatgerm or jojoba oils.  These oils mimic our natural sebum to some extent to help to re moisturize and nourish our scalp.
Then there are lavender, rosemary and tea tree oils which contain antibacterial, healing properties.  Neem oil is great for its antifungal properties and stops itching.  You can apply these topically to your skin for fast relief, to assist healing as well as looking out for shampoos with these natural ingredients in them.
Lavender calms the skin (as does chamomile tea cooled and used as hair rinse).
As well as buying quality shampoos containing these ingredients,  you can
create your own combinations of remedy or remedies to soothe your scalp.
You can also help it along by using natural remedies to treat infections on your scalp such as this scalp treatment containing natural oils to assist healing, detoxify and stimulate hair growth: (Add to
water (4 parts water 1 part oil) and spray onto scalp and you can add to your shampoo and conditioners also).

Oils To Relieve Itching: Lavender, German Chamomile and Eucalyptus Oils
(Mixed together and dabbed locally on effected areas has a soothing effect).
Neem oil is also a very good dandruff preventative which can be added to any of the formulas detailed below and is excellent for psoriasis and eczema scalp infections.

Scalp massage with lavender oil (not scented – the real oil) is another
wonderful way to relieve the tension from a
sore scalp as well as treat the
issue.  It also helps to re grow hair and repair the damage done to your
follicles by chemicals in shampoos causing thinning hair.  (Lavender is known to stimulate hair growth too).

There are many more powerful scalp remedies you can use to treat infections on your scalp as well as many shampoos that are excellent value, contain no nasties to aggravate your scalp and hair follicles.  It can be really simple to treat scalp problems by treating yourself to your own pampering session using natural oils to help heal your scalp infection.  And then be kind to your hair and scalp by using only products that nourish your hair and scalp such as Aveda or Akin brand shampoos.  You can assist the healing process and help restore balance back to your scalp and you hair will appreciate and reward you for it too by becoming less brittle, stronger and shinier.
As with all natural remedies please patch test first.  It is not intended for this information to replace a doctors medical advice, so please see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.  The responsibility of obtaining doctors diagnosis and using remedies is yours.

Dandruff, Dry Scalp Causes and Remedies

January 25, 2010 by admin  
Filed under HOME REMEDIES

Dry scalp can feel “tight”, a sensation that is sometimes accompanied by flakiness & dandruff. It is often the result of natural oils being stripped from our scalps & can be caused by the frequent use of shampoos, hair dyes and or other hair products resulting in a disturbance to the natural balance of our sebum and ph (acid mantle).

You rarely come across anyone who has the skin that has the perfect balance of oils these days. It is either excessively oily skin or dry skin. Unfortunately, so many people these days are cursed with the latter. We come across hundreds of products to take care of this problem of dry scalp and skin, and we fall prey to the advertising campaign to buy and use these products. Do we ever think of what goes into these products? And, do we pay any attention about the effect these chemicals and oils have on our skin? The companies that sell us these products certainly won’t be bringing these causes to our attention.

Dry scalp problems & dandruff are mostly seen in those with dry skin. Itchy scalp and dandruff are the immediate problems associated with excessive drying of scalp. Further worsening of this condition can result in inflammation and sores of the scalp and lesions. If not attended to properly, then these can flare into much worse situations that people seek help for and end up requiring long-term medications. (Even steroids and other nasty drugs).

The dryness is caused by the stripping of natural oils from our body. Various causes attributed to this, some of which are:

  • Pollution
  • Exhaust smoke
  • Hard water
  • Toxins in Cosmetics / Shampoo that strip and dry our scalps and skin
  • Bad eating habits and not drinking enough water

We may not be able do anything to change the environmental conditions, which also include the quality of water available in your area, but there is definitely much you can do for little or no cost to enrich your scalp with moisture and nourishing ingredients that soothe & heal. For instance:

  • You could make some changes to your eating habits to include drinking more water to hydrate your skin and scalp and flush out contaminants and toxins in your body,and of course the fresh fruits and salads that we know we should all eat more of but often don’t,
  • Or most people don’t realize how much you can do to help yourself avoid the causes of dandruff, dry ot itchy scalp by making informed and wise decisions in your choice of cosmetics and hair products. For example, many big brand shampoos and cleansers that contain Propylene Glycol (antifreeze) Sodium lauryl sulfate, Sodium beryl sulfate, or Sodium Laureth Sulphate (same ingredient that is in engine degreaser). They are formulated for cleaning away oils – that they do,but the consequences can be painful and destructive to our scalp and hair follicles. If you want to treat a dry scalp, these are definitely to be avoided, especially those products containing SLS. SLS  is known to cause many different disorders if a person is exposed to it including dry scalp because is strips the natural oils from your skin that protect your scalp from fungal infections like melassezia globbosa (dandruff) and excess flaking.
  • You can use natural remedies for dandruff or dry scalp that you can make at home to soothe and treat a dry scalp

Moisturizing your dry scalp is the solution to many a problem like itchy and flaky scalp. There are many home remedies available to relieve you from various scalp conditions. Natural oils and moisturizers act on the scalp, restore the oil content, and reverse the damage caused by SLS and such harmful chemicals. There are many of the natural oils like Lavender, German Chamomile and Eucalyptus Oils along with neem oil that are just as powerful and do wonders in moisturizing dry itchy scalp. Some of these oils like the neem oil also act as antiseptic. There are many oils I recommend and show you how to use them in this ebook Beautiful Hair & Healthy Scalp Secrets & Remedies.

The pollutants and harmful toxins in the air and water are something we have to live with, but it doesn’t mean we have to put up with a dry itchy scalp for the rest of our lives.
 
Once you are educated and know how, its easy to maintain a healthy hair and scalp using low cost natural oils (that have plenty of other uses too) to keep your hair and scalp in balance and rejuvenated. And by making wise choices (that often save you money) you can look after your scalp and prevent it from being stripped of the natural goodness that we are all born with.

So in summary – you too can have richly nourished hair and scalp anytime you want if you know how to use the gifts and natural scalp home remedies we are given from nature and by making minor adjustments to what we expose our scalps to in the form of shampoos, hair products etc.

Dandruff Picture   Picture Of DandruffDry Itchy Scalp, Dandruff, Burning Red & Itchy Scalp Remedies

OK, you’ve got some issues with scalp conditions,you know it, I know it. But what causes things like dandruff, dry itchy scalp and burning?

Well, many people will tell you that Dandruff  is caused by the process of continual shedding of skin cells on your scalp. It can be caused by a fungus called melassezia globbosa or from toxins, pollutants and products that have built up on the scalp, particularly products like silicone – a cheap commonly used artificial shine enhancer in conditioners such as Pantene.

The insidious illusion here is that most people don’t understand what really causes our scalps to react this way in the first place and why our bodies respond this way.

If you take one step back, thats when the story really starts – from the many to harsh irritating ingredients in hair products your scalp is subjected to on an almost daily basis. And yes, this includes dyes, shampoos, conditioners and styling products with ingredients such as propylene glycol and SLS in them. These chemicals strip the natural oils from your skin and even corrode it, as well as your eye membranes. 


One of worst culprits is Sodium Laureth Sulphate, or SLS. It causes excess flaking due to a yeast (dandruff bacterial growth) or by your own immune response to chemicals (which also results in flaking). SLA can also cause build-up on the scalp of hair products.

Surely it makes sense that when the natural balance of your scalp is disturbed, this creates the perfect environment for the fungus Melassezia Globbosa to move in and thrive. This is when the natural process of shedding your cells gets a little out of hand resulting in an unsightly condition known as Seborrhoeic Dermatitis (fancy name for dandruff) and you see the highly visible tell-tale signs of flaking and crusting. Then you start scratching,and it gets worse. accompanying itch and urge to scratch are often made worse by the multiplication of the fungal yeast having one big party on your scalp!

But scratching just makes it worse,and can cause small lesions which weep and ooze or become infected. Lumps bumps and sores are also common when the scalp is highly irritated or you’ve aggravated a sensitivity.

So what about anti-dandruff shampoo? Well many of these may contain ingredients that help to stop flaking and/or kill bacteria that manifest as dandruff such as ketoconizole or salicylic acid. They do the job of masking the symptoms temporarily, but ironically and astoundingly most of them also contain the irritating ingredients that caused your problem in beginning!

That leads us to Natural Remedies as alternatives which can definitely help to soothe and heal your scalp (as long as you are eliminating the cause at the same time),.got you wondering about scalp home remedies?

So why should you want to use a natural remedy for your dry, itching scalp or scalp lesions problem? Well, for one thing, they don’t have any of the side effects of commercial products irritating your scalp and perpetuate the problem, and even worsening the cycle of flakey, itching scalp!

Natural remedies are just as powerful if not more so than their toxic counterparts assuming that you use them correctly. Better yet, dry scalp home remedies for scalp itching are non-toxic so you don’t damage your poor scalp further, or worse yet, end up with a sensitized scalp and scalp sores.
Honestly, you don’t have to use chemical dandruff stuff that burns your skin and can cause burning, itchy or red scalp.

So what natural remedies can help? Let’s take a look,here’s just some of the oils I recommend for dry scalp & dandruff.

Natural Herbal Ingredients For Dry Scalp Home Remedies:

Zinc Pyrithione: 
Wonderful stuff for scalp conditions. First synthesized in the 1930′s, this is the most widely used active ingredient from a natural source. It’s used to treat dandruff, seborrheic dermatitus, psoriasis, eczema and numerous other skin and scalp disorders. It has strong anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.

Willow Bark: 
Willow bark contains Salycylic acid which is natural derivative of the Salycylic acid used extensively in antidandruff shampoos. It occurs naturally in willow tree bark. Key additive in many skin care products. Causes skin cells to slough off more readily keeping pores open.

Peppermint Oil: 
This oil with the naturally-uplifting scent features penetrating and analgesic qualities to heal scalp inflammation. It’s also good for settling your stomach.

Guava: 
Guava is an herbal analgesic. It’s also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic. If you’ve scratched your itchy dry scalp until it hurts, this is what you need.

Horsetail:
This baby is a positive herbal storehouse of vitamins and minerals, and revitalizing properties. If you want to give your dry, itchy scalp a makeover, this is the stuff.

Nettle:
If you’ve got scalp inflammation, this is the one you want. It’s an herbal anti-inflamatory, anti-histamine, and it’s rich in minerals.

Dandelion Extract:
Got problems with seasonal allergies that cause dry scalp or scalp itching? This is a natural allergen suppressant!

Aloe Barbabenis:
If you’ve got scalp lesions or scalp sores, you’ll want to try this wonderful item, which is a natural anti-irritant.

Neem Oil (My Itchy Scalp Remedy Must Have):
Neem ought to be named neat for all the stuff it does. It’s derived from a type of tree bark. Neem is an effective fungicide and insecticide (great for head lice when used with geranium, rosemary, lavender and eucalyptus oils).

As for the scent,well, it packs quite a punch, but you simply can’t beat Neem for effectiveness. If you’ve got itchy scalp, neem is what you need.  In clinical studies Neem extracts and oil were found to be as effective as coal tar and cortisone in treating psoriasis with none of the usual side effects accompanying the use of Neem as there was with Coal tar and cortisone.  Neem extracts and oil removes redness and itching when applied directly to your scalp,and it’s a great skin conditioner.

Tired of eczema? Then neem oil is your solution. Clinical studies demonstrate that even the application of weaker Neem leaf extracts effectively cured acute conditions of eczema with the fresh cold pressed oil with its high concentration of active ingredients. Scalp inflammation is another thing neem’s good for. Neem effectively kills the bacteria that cause acne and studies prove that Neem will reduce inflammation caused by acne and other bacterial infections.

It’s also good for other skin conditions such as Dry Skin, Wrinkles, Dandruff, Itchy Scalp, Skin Ulcers and Warts which can be effectively remedied with soaps and other products containing Neem oil.

Included here is an extensive list of remedies and causes of scalp conditions containing these and more oils & other ingredients (many from your kitchen and garden) in this ebook:
“Beautiful Hair & Healthy Scalp Secrets & Remedies
How To Finally Be Free From Dandruff & Scalp Irritation Quickly And Easily – 100% Guaranteed!