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Crusty Spots on the Scalp

author image Nicki Howell
Nicki Howell started her professional writing career in 2002, specializing in areas such as health, fitness and personal finance. She has been published at health care websites, such as HealthTree, and is a ghostwriter for a variety of small health care organizations. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Portland State University.
Crusty Spots on the Scalp
Special shampoos can treat crusty spots on the scalp.

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that is easily treated, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This skin condition causes crusty red spots on the scalp. The spots may be itchy and uncomfortable. Although this condition isn’t harmful, it can be irritating and a source of embarrassment. Treatment options may assist in keeping seborrheic dermatitis under control.

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Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by a variety of factors. Malassezia, a type of yeast, may be responsible for developing crusty spots on the scalp, according to Stress and fatigue can also increase the likelihood of developing this condition. Outbreaks are typically worse in the winter time, when skin is more likely to be dry.


Nonprescription lotions containing corticosteroid can be applied to the crusty spots to minimize inflammation. An anti-fungal topical cream that includes the active ingredients ketoconazole or ciclopirox can also be applied to the affected skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. A medicated shampoo that contains tar, ketoconazole or salicylic acid can also assist in treating seborrheic dermatitis.

If skin isn’t responding to nonprescription treatments, your doctor may recommend a stronger prescription version of over-the-counter products.


Avoid using shampoos that contain fragrances and irritants, recommends If skin is itchy, take a warm bath with a little bit of oatmeal to soothe the scalp. When taking showers, prevent excessive scalp dryness by using warm water instead of hot water. It’s also important to avoid scratching the scalp, which increases your risk for scarring and infection.


Some people think that seborrheic dermatitis is most likely to occur in adults. Babies can also develop this condition, however. It is then referred to as cradle cap. Use a mild baby shampoo or your baby’s hair. Loosen dry patches of skin by applying baby oil to the scalp and rinsing with a gentle cleanser. Brush the hair after the treatment to further slough off dry skin.


Patients struggling with seborrheic dermatitis should contact a doctor. This condition may occur in patients with underlying health issues in the nervous system, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Patients with immune system disorders may also be at higher risk for developing this condition. Your doctor can evaluate your overall health to determine if an underlying cause is to blame.

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