Red blotches or a reddened scalp, this is the skin's way of telling you it needs help.

Red blotches or a reddened scalp, this is the skin's way of telling you it needs help.

Should your scalp become red or if red blotches develop between the hairs, this is not always immediately obvious if this is not accompanied with other symptoms such as itching. Those affected often only discover the problem when taking a closer look in the mirror or, alternatively, if the person they are talking to or their hairdresser mentions this.

Red blotches on the scalp are an indication of skin problems or intolerances and do not normally occur without a reason. That's why you should take the symptoms seriously and identify the cause before further problems develop.

A reddened scalp due to incorrect hair care

A reddened scalp due to incorrect hair care

A reddened scalp can be caused by a whole range of everyday factors. Even if you have not experienced problems before, your hair care routine could be the reason why your skin is red.

  • If you have spent time in the sun without sufficient protection or have washed your hair in hot water, you may have mild sunburn or have suffered a mild scalp burn. In this case, you need to care for your skin and use gentle, moisturising care products to allow it to recover quickly. Avoid using hot air to dry your hair. Cover your head in the sun and protect your scalp with special sun protection. Wash your hair using lukewarm water as far as possible.
  • Do you rub your hair with a towel after washing it? Does your hair brush leave scratches on your scalp? Do you tie your hair together tightly? These constant mechanical stressescanirritate the scalp and result in permanent inflammation. Ideally you should wring out your hair, use a brush with rounded bristles and wear your hair down.
  • If the reddening occurs after using shampoos or styling products, you may have experienced a skin reaction or intolerance, which also includes allergic reactions,to certain ingredients. To be on the safe side you should use a mild shampoo until you have been tested for intolerances. In the future avoid products to which you react sensitively.

Medical causes for a reddened scalp

Medical causes for a reddened scalp

If you have clearly defined red spots or blotches on your scalp as opposed to large-scale reddening, this is likely to be caused by an infection or other disorder. In such cases, you should consult your dermatologist. Whilst some diseases are chronic and cannot be healed (however the symptoms can be alleviated with medical assistance), others can be well treated and will heal.

Summer is associated with high temperatures and increased sweating. A humid, warm climate, which is further exacerbated if you wear a head covering constantly, provides the ideal conditions for developing a fungal infection, for example, seborrhoeic eczema. Another sign in addition to red blotches is the increased development of yellowish,
oily scales on the skin areas together with severe itching.

Atopic eczema

The symptoms of a fungal infection can be easily mixed up with another, chronic skin disease. Psoriasis is characterised by raised red blotches which may be covered by a white, dry scaly layer (plaques). The tendency to suffer from psoriasis is hereditary and can therefore be quickly diagnosed or ruled out.

Atopic eczema, also known as neurodermatitis, is one of the most frequent skin disorders: It causes the skin to become red and scaly, weeping eczema can also occur. The disorder proceeds in stages and varies from patient to patient. An outbreak of neurodermatitis can be triggered by stress, diet or environmental factors. The GP can prescribe products to alleviate the symptoms. A mild shampoo, such as the Alpecin Hypo-Sensitive Shampoo, can also be used in addition.

What helps against reddened scalps?

Red blotches

Should you suffer from an acutely reddened scalp without any dandruff or itching, a good course of action is to give your scalp a rest. Give your scalp time to breathe, avoid heat and mechanical irritations. If the redness either does not disappear or returns, this could be a sign of an intolerance.

If, in addition to scalp redness, you also experience a burning or itching sensation, a shampoo with mild tensides, suitable for sensitive skin, and soothing ingredients can relieve the symptoms.

If a red rash or blotches on the scalp would indicate a skin disease, you need to identify the cause with your dermatologist. If you are suffering from a fungal infection or neurodermatitis, you will be prescribed soothing creams or ointments. You should also use a shampoo that is tailored to your scalp’s needs.

Shampoos to treat reddened scalps

To select the right hair care for irritated scalps, it is essential that you identify the cause of the problem. Thanks to the specially selected ingredients, the shampoo used can specifically target the cause of scalp redness. Provided that the reddening is not caused by intolerances, including allergic reactions, the following ingredients are suitable for alleviating redness and its causes:

  • Sugar surfactants are mild washing substances which are also ideal for sensitive skin.
  • Bisabolol, pathenol or allantoin soothe irritated skin.
  • Glycerin is a proven moisturiser.
  • Linoleic acid supports the development and functioning of the skin's natural barrier.
  • A mild shampoo should ideally be selected for sensitive and dry scalps.

Our Alpecin recommendation: