Bumps on Scalp, Causes, Itchy, Painful, Red, Small, Pictures, How to Get Rid

What could be the cause of itchy, painful, small, red bumps on scalp?  Sores or blisters that develop on the scalp can be caused by a number conditions. The lumps could be caused by infection of the hair follicles, or a skin condition like impetigo. Contact dermatitis, an allergic skin condition can also be the cause of the bumps.

Some people could also develop the bumps due to a viral infection as in the case of shingles and chicken pox. In this article, we provide you with all the possible causes and how best to get rid of them both at home using simple natural home remedies and with pharmacological medicine. All this will depend on other visible symptoms that accompanies the bumps.

Why do I have Bumps on my scalp – Causes?

Many people have hair or scalp problems. Red itchy scalp bumps can be embarrassing leave alone panful. Most of these scalp condition will lead to hair loss or some type of skin rash. Most of the reported cases of scalp condition are hereditary. That is to say, the condition can be transmitted from parent to offspring.

Scalp condition that result in bumps can be caused by malnutrition or infection. Common causes of these bumps will include the following.

1. Bumps on scalp after hair cut

It is possible to develop bumps on scalp after a haircut. Poor shaving method is known to damage the hair follicles causing. Causing them to become clogged or blocked with dead skin cells and other body fluids causing raised bumps.

Sharing shaving equipment can also cause the spread of viral or bacterial infection from one person to another as is the case with ringworm.

2. Bumps on scalp from braid

It is important to know that, hair is strongest when in natural state. Use of chemical changes the structure. Chemical weakens the process and strips the hair of the natural moisture. With natural hair, braids can last for about 6-8 weeks.

For relaxed hair however, the hairline is weak, it is important therefore to use the right amount of force when braiding. Tight braiding will cause swelling, bumps and whiteness at the root indicating damaged hair follicles.

3. Viral infection

Viral or bacterial infection is another possible cause of the bumps that appear on your scalp.  A viral infection like herpes zoster virus is known to cause both chicken pox and shingles. This infections are painful and are in most cases accompanied by itchy, raised bumps.

4. Malnutrition

Malnutrition which is the lack of essential nutrition and body vitamins might also cause bumps to develop on scalp. To remedy this, you should maintain a balanced diet. Vitamin supplements can also be used especially for pregnant women and those with weak immune systems.

5. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis cause by substance that comes in contact with the body can also cause small lumps to develop on the scalp. The symptoms will vary from person to person depending on the allergen. Avoiding or discontinuing the use of the allergen will reduce further irritation.

Seek immediate medical attention when the cause of the allergy is unknown or the symptoms are not responding to treatment.

6. Ringworm of the scalp

Fungi infection as is the case with ringworm can also cause bumps and hair loss on scalp. Ringworm is a contagious skin disease that occurs in small circular patches. Anti-fungal creams can be used to relieve the infection.

7. Psoriasis on scalp

Psoriasis is a skin disease characterized by red, itchy, scaly patches. It is a chronic auto immune condition known to cause rapid build-up of skin cells. It is this buildup that cause scaling on the skin surface. Inflammation and redness around the scales is fairly common.

The condition can be triggered by stress, alcohol, injury, medication and infection.

Bumps on scalp pictures

For diagnosis, we have provided images below and throughout this topic to help you have a visual understanding of how the bumps on scalp appear. Remember, the diagnosis provided cannot be substituted for that of a professional health care provider. The images are for illustration purposes only.

Red Bumps on Scalp Images
Red Bumps on Scalp Images
Itchy Bumps on Scalp Pictures
Itchy Bumps on Scalp Pictures

Some images may be graphic, but we are of the strong opinion that they will be of help to you incases of diagnosis.

White bumps on scalp picture

The appearance of the bumps will depend on the underlying cause of the bumps. In terms of color, some people will have red whereas other will develop white bumps on scalp. Some bumps will be small whereas others will be large.

Itchy White Bump on Scalp under Hair Pictures
Itchy White Bump on Scalp under Hair Pictures

To understand the difference, we have provided some pictures of white bumps that might appear on the scalp. We have also provided those of red bumps. You can juxtapose the images, make the comparison and you will be able to know the similarities or the difference.

Itchy Bumps on scalp

Itchy bumps on scalp can be an uncomfortable sensation on the skin. Itching has been known to cause the unconfutable desire to scratch your skin. The following three condition are the common known cause of itchy scalp bumps.


Ringworm is a contagious itching skin disease that occurs in small circular patches mostly on the scalp. The condition can also affect the feet. It is caused by a number of fungi. The most common form of ringworm is athlete’s foot. Athlete’s feet is a ringworm that affects the skin between the toes.

On scalp, ringworm will have the following symptom:

  • Itchy patches
  • Scaly and red bald spots
  • Painful patches or bumps on scalp

Anti-fungal creams and ointment are the best medication for skin ringworm. These medication can be accessed even without prescription. In case the symptoms persist, you need to seek medical attention.


This can be said to be the lack of proper nutrition. The condition can be caused by not eating enough, not eating at all or not eating the right things. The condition can also be due to lack of proper nutrient absorption body the body.

Malnutrition can cause the following:

  • Hair loss, pale skin or fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Heart palpitations

You need to seek professional dieting cancelling if malnutrition is the cause of the itchy bumps on scalp.

Seborrheic eczema

Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, seborrheic eczema is a mild dermatitis. It is a skin condition that affects the scalp, face and torso. The condition is known to cause scaly patches, red skin and dandruff.  The condition does not affects your general body health.

It is not contagious neither is it a sign of poor personal hygiene. The condition can however be uncomfortable and cause a lot of embarrassment.  The condition is a long term condition which calls for repeated treatment.

Bumps on scalp that hurt or painful

Do you have bumps on scalp that hurts or are painful? With lumps on scalp, it is very possible to develop painful sores or blisters that hurt or irritate the skin. Most people will complain of a burning sensation, a continued urge to scratch the bumps and inflammation.

small Red Painful Bumps on Scalp
small Red Painful Bumps on Scalp

For most people, the lumps may be caused by infection of the hair shafts a condition known as folliculitis, a skin condition such as impetigo, allergic skin reaction otherwise known as contact dermatitis or a viral infection as is the case with chicken pox and shingles.

The irritation, inflammation and itching can be managed at home using topical ointment such as anti-inflammatories and anti-itching creams. Depending on the extent of bacterial infection, oral or topical antibiotic may also be used. See your health care provider if these symptoms persist or becomes unbearable.

Bumps on scalp hair loss

Bumps on scalp can lead to a condition known as alopecia. Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss. The hair loss can be temporary or permanent. The most common form of hair loss occurs gradually and is referred to as androgenetic alopecia. A combination of hormones and heredity (genetics) is required for this condition. Lumps on scalp with hair loss is common in people with the following conditions:

Alopecia areata is a temporary hair loss that occurs when the immune system mistakenly mounts an attack on the hair follicles. The reason for the immune system attack is not known. With this condition, hair loss occurs in patches that are quarter-sized and shaped, hair loss will also occur in random places on the scalp.

Another condition known to cause bumps, patches and hair loss is Ringworm (tinea capitis). It is a contagious skin diseases that occurs in small circular patches. The condition is caused by a number of fungi and mainly affects the scalp and feet. Those with ring worm will have itchy patches, scaly and red bald spots, brittle hair and painful scalp.

Bumps on Scalp causing Hair Loss
Bumps on Scalp causing Hair Loss

Seborrheic dermatitis is another possible cause hair loss. The condition is a skin disorder that affects the scalp, face and torso. Those with these condition will have scaly patches that can either be yellow or white, hair loss may occur especial if the condition is on scalp and the affected area will be red itchy and greasy.

Inadequate supply of essential nutrients or Nutritional deficiencies can also cause hair loss. Those with malnutrition will have hair loss, pale skin and unusual food cravings. They will also have constipation and heart palpitations.

Bumps on scalp under hair

Pimple like lumps on scalp under hair forms when the hair follicles on scalp become inflamed. This is a condition known as scalp folliculitis. The condition causes red scalp bumps that are tender or itchy. Scalp folliculitis is common in both males and females.

The condition is caused by bacterial infection. On scalp, folliculitis is common inn people who do not wash their hair regularly, those who wear tight hats or constructive head wears. The condition is common in summer when the air is hot and humid.

Bumps on scalp and neck

It is common for those with small raised bumps on their scalp to develop the bumps on other part of their body like on the neck. The rate of spread, the size and color of the bumps will depend on the underlying condition causing them on the first place.

Small Bumps on Scalp and Neck
Small Bumps on Scalp and Neck

Seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis are the common cause of these bumps. Seek immediate medical attention if the bumps spread at an alarming faster rate.

Red bumps on scalp not itchy

Most cases of mild infections of the causes of scalp bumps will have itchy less bumps. This will also depend on the extent of or the spread of the infection on scalp. For example, if contact dermatitis is what is causing the bumps, then the symptoms exhibited will depend on how long you have had the allergy or the type of allergen causing the bumps.

Topical ointments and emollients can be used to relieve the skin of the itching. Natural remedies like aloe Vera gel and tea tree oil contain natural anti-itching properties that can also work the magic at home.

Small raised bumps on scalp

A number of condition might cause small raised lumps on scalp. Though some of the condition will not pose any health risk, some like ringworm can be embarrassing, irritating and painful. Small scalp bumps can be caused any of the following conditions.

1. Lichen planus

This is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by itchy non-infection small, flat topped pink lesions. The symptoms of the condition will vary depending on the part of the body that is affected. On scalp, the symptoms will include:

  • Purple raised bumps that are flat at the top.
  • Itchy skin
  • Thicker scaly patches might also be seen

The exact cause of these condition is unknown. He condition is more common in adult over 40 years. There is no single treatment option for the condition. Treatment are available to relieve the symptoms. Topical ointment and steroids can be used to relieve the itching and control the rash.

2. Folliculitis

Folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicles. Folliculitis is a common skin condition caused by bacterial or fungal infection. At the first stages of infection, folliculitis will appear as small red bumps or white headed pimple around hair follicles. The infection can then spread ad turn into healing crusty sores.

Folliculitis is not life threatening. However, the condition can be itchy, sore and embarrassing. For mild cases, topical ointments like anti-itching creams can be used to relieve the symptoms. Oral or topical antibiotics can also be used. See your health care provider in cases of severe infection.

3. Impetigo

Impetigo is a contagious bacterial infection forming pustules and yellow, crusty sores. The condition is known to cause red sores that can break open, ooze fluid and develop a crust. The sores and bumps can occur anywhere in the body.

You need to see your doctor if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Sores or bumps that begins as small red spots then changes to blisters
  • Bumps that oozes fluid and look crusty
  • Bumps and sores that increase in size and number.

Oral or topical antibiotic is used to treat mild cases of impetigo.

4. Contact dermatitis

A red itchy rash can also be caused by substances that comes in contact with the skin. The rash is in most cases not contagious or life threatening but it can be very uncomfortable. Possible causes will include soaps, cosmetics and plants.

Most cases of contact dermatitis can be managed and handle at home. However, you need to see a doctor when, the substance causing the allergy can’t be identified or the symptom aren’t responding to treatment. Emollients, topical and oral corticosteroids can all be used to treat the rash.

5. Chicken pox

Chicken pox is an infectious disease known to cause mild fever and a rash of itchy inflamed blisters. The condition is caused by a virus herpes zoster virus. It is common in children who are afterward immune to future infections.

Common symptoms exhibited include fever, loss of appetite, severe headache and general feeling of unwell. According to the National Institute of Health, aspirin should not be used to treat chicken pox. This is because it has been linked to a fatal condition known as Rey’s syndrome known to cause organ damage. Vaccination can be used to prevent against chicken pox virus for those who have not developed the condition before.

6. Shingles

This is a viral infection caused by the same virus causing chicken pox. After the virus enter the body, even after treatment, the virus lays dormant in the nerve tissues. The condition causes a painful rash that can appear anywhere. It most often appear as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around the torso.

Though not life-threatening, shingles can be very painful.

How to Get rid of Itchy Bumps on Scalp

Below is a video on how you can get rid of itchy bumps on scalp


Sources and references

  1. Scalp problems: http://www.emedicinehealth.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=127565
  2. Treatment for itchy scalp problems: http://www.skinstore.com/blog/beauty-center/how-to-treat-scalp-bumps/
  3. Common scalp conditions: http://www.healthline.com/health/scalp-conditions
  4. Lichen planus bumps on scalp: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lichen-planus/Pages/Introduction.aspx


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