The skin on the scalp is distinct from the skin on the rest of the body because it has more sebaceous glands, the tiny glands that are present in hair follicles that release sebum, an oily material that functions as a lubricant for hair and skin. As a result, the scalp is a very good medium for microorganism growth and other skin problems.

Conditions that the scalp is prone to develop include:

  • Fungal conditions like dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and ringworm
  • Parasitic infections like head lice
  • Inflammatory conditions like psoriasis and eczema

Common Scalp Problems

Symptoms such as itching, irritation, and flaking, are present in many different types of scalp diseases. To know what exact condition is causing your symptoms, you should seek the advice of a skilled healthcare professional like a dermatologist.

The following are common scalp conditions:

  • Dandruff

    Dandruff is a very common scalp problem which is a buildup of shedding skin. The cause is still unknown but it may be due to a fungal infection.

  • Androgenetic Alopecia

    This is a common type of hair loss that affects both men and women presenting as shedding of hair in male pattern baldness or thinning of hair in female pattern baldness.

  • Psoriasis

    Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that is usually hereditary. It is a life-long illness that is inflammatory in nature and has periods of relapse and remission.

  • Folliculitis

    This is the inflammation of the hair follicles that is caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites.

  • Alopecia Areata

    As an autoimmune disease, alopecia areata occurs when the immune system attacks the hair follicles causing them to shrink and slow down hair growth.

  • Ringworm (Tinea Capitis)

    This is a fungal infection that is contagious and can be spread by direct contact with a person who’s infected or by sharing personal items.

  • Eczema

    Eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes dry and itchy skin. It tends to be hereditary and those with other allergic conditions have higher chances of getting it too.

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis

    This is also a long-term inflammatory disorder found in areas that have plenty of oil glands such as the scalp.

  • Head Lice

    Lice are small insects that live on the scalp and can cause intense itching and red bumps. Their eggs called nits can be easily detected in the hair.

  • Lichen Planus

    This rare condition causes itchy, small patches of hair loss on the scalp called scarring alopecia.

Persistent scalp itching, flaky skin or hair loss?

You may have a scalp problem. Consult our MOH-accredited dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan.

Diagnosing Scalp Problems

Besides taking a full medical history and physical examination, your dermatologist may consider additional tests such as:

  • A pull test that assesses hair damage and amount of hair loss for those with alopecia
  • A scalp biopsy wherein a sample of scalp tissue is viewed under a microscope to determine what condition is causing hair loss
  • A culture wherein a sample of tissue is examined under a microscope also to check if there is an ongoing infection.

Dr Noor Hanif Said

Medical Director & Consultant Dermatologist

Over 20 years of experience
in medical, Surgical & aesthetic Dermatology

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, Singapore)
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP, United Kingdom)
  • Fellow Of The Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS, Dermatology)

Prior to starting his private practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Dr Hanif was a dermatologist at the National Skin Centre and a Visiting Consultant with the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Dermatology Service.

Apart from his expertise in the management of general dermatological problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hair loss and acne, he has special interests in pigmentary disorders and aesthetic dermatology.

your journey to optimal skin health

Make An Enquiry

Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre 38 Irrawaddy Road, #10-36
Singapore 329563
+65 6570 2886 (Fax)
+65 9297 0039 (WhatsApp)
Mon to Fri: 9am - 1pm
2pm - 6pm
Saturday: 9am - 1pm
Sun & PH: Closed
your journey to optimal skin health

Make An Enquiry

    your journey to optimal skin health

    Make An Enquiry

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How often should I wash my hair?

    The frequency depends on your hair and scalp type. If you have oily hair and a scalp, it is best to wash it daily. If your hair and scalp are normal, dry, or sensitive, washing does not have to be done daily.

    What is the normal amount of hair loss?

    Losing about 50-100 strands of hair a day is considered normal. Losing that amount of hair isn’t noticeable on our scalp because the same amount of hair grows at the same time.