Explaining Scalp Lesions in Simple Terms

You may be concerned at the appearance of scalp lesions on your body.  Sometimes these cause hair loss, change shape, become itchy or grow.  Other times they are present from birth and don’t change at all, but still cause worry or curiosity.

Scalp lesions may be painful or not.  They can be a result of trauma, disease or just a natural occurrence on your skin.  There are many different causes and reasons for lesions to appear on your scalp, as well as on the rest of your body.

What Do Scalp Lesions Look Like?

Since there are different types of lesions, there are also varying appearances.  It’s important to understand that lesions can be considered either primary or secondary.

Primary skin lesions are from an outside cause, such as a freckle, mole, blister, nodules or wheals.  Their appearance is the first symptom present.

Secondary skin lesions are a result of the patient’s response to a primary lesion.  For instance, if you itch a wheal or patch of wheals until they burst and leave an ulcer (where the top and second layer of skin are rubbed or scratched off); the ulcer is considered a secondary lesion.

Within these two categories lesions have different appearances. 

Moles and freckles are often round and flat, with a brownish or reddish color.  They can be in groups (like freckles) or all on their own.  Often you won’t even know that you have a scalp lesion of this sort unless your hair is removed.

Blisters take on different shapes and are a common lesion to appear after sunburn or as a reaction to chemical exposure.  Nodules are harder and can be felt between your fingertips.  They are generally less than ½” across and feel like they are deeply rooted in the skin.  Papules are another lesion that looks similar, but often appears in groups like warts.

Ulcers, scales and crusts are all a result of excessive itching.  They actually change the texture of the surrounding skin and will usually leave a lasting mark.  If you have itchy scalp that could result in secondary lesions, try to tackle the symptoms before it gets to that point.  Change your shampoo to a natural brand (Tea Tree oil is often recommended to clean any scalp lesions and soothe the itchy skin) and let your hair dry naturally.

When To Visit Your Doctor

If you notice scalp lesions, you may feel that a trip to the doctor is unavoidable.  That depends on the symptoms around the lesion.

If you lose hair around the lesion, you should ask the doctor to inspect the whole scalp for other problematic areas.

If you are experiencing itchiness despite home remedies like soothing shampoo, visit the doctor to inspect for any infections, potential allergies and other irritants.

If you have symptoms such as fever and weakness, make sure you aren’t suffering from a viral disease like chicken pox or rosacea.  Whenever scalp lesions are accompanied by other signs of sickness or disease, it’s important to have a doctor examine you fully and rule out any serious illness.

Often a lesion on your scalp will be completely harmless.  You may be disturbed by the cosmetic appearance if it appears in a prominent spot, but there are ways to mask that.  Hats, hair and makeup can all be used to hide even the most obvious lesion.

Don’t automatically assume that a scalp lesion is the beginning of skin cancer.  It’s important to note the shape, size and texture of any skin lesion and contact your doctor immediately if that changes.  Most times, however, scalp lesions are harmless and will escape your notice altogether.

It may be worth a visit to the doctor to set your mind at ease, but many people live happily with scalp lesions.



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