Does anyone have any ideas what this is?

My son is 19, a few years ago he started to have small spots on his scalp which flair up every now and again, his scalp becomes red with patches of tiny spots some with pus. Over the last couple years it has become a lot worse and he has had shampoo and steroid lotion from the Doctor, this made it worse but a course of antibiotics cleared it up but, as soon as the course is finished the spots return within a week or so, the Doctor thinks it's folliculitis and sent off a swab but nothing showed up. He surfs and swims so is in the water a lot. He is now waiting to see a dermatologist but in the mean time his scalp is red and inflamed with clusters of lumps which are very sore, some without heads which look shiny, some with yellow/white heads which are also very sore. His whole scalp hurts and feels tight and is very painful. Can anyone help?

11 Replies

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  • i would use some baby shampoo or E45 shampoo for now if the others hurt its more gentle sorry cant help to say what it is

  • Hi thank you for your help, we thought the same, he has been using baby shampoo for the past 8 months.

  • Hi pirate77, unfortunately there are lots of conditions that can affect the scalp. Also, it can be difficult to diagnose skin/scalp conditions through description or physical examination alone. Numerous biopsies may be required.

    I have a rare inflammatory condition called Sweet's syndrome (SS) that sometimes affects my scalp, but if your son had SS he would have lots of other symptoms too.

    The DermNet NZ site is a great source of information for people with skin conditions - you might want to take a look.

    Scalp folliculitis (DermNet NZ) dermnetnz.org/acne/scalp-fo...

    Folliculitis (DermNet NZ) dermnetnz.org/acne/follicul...

    Disorders of the hair and scalp (DermNet NZ) dermnetnz.org/doctors/folli...

    Self-help tips for scalp folliculitis:

    -Use a mild or mild antibacterial shampoo.

    -Always use a clean towel to dry your hair.

    -Wash hair combs and brushes on a regular basis.

    -Don't scratch the bumps.

    -Try to avoid using hair products, e.g. gels and waxes.

    -Wash your hair immediately after swimming.

  • Hi thanks for your good advise, I will check out the links too thank you

  • Does your son shave his hair close to the scalp if so it could be that causing the problem as the hairs could be ingrowing.

  • Hi, no he doesn't have is hair too short but thank you for helping.

  • A biggest mistake most people make is asking for opinion on diagnosis. You mast have faith on your healthcare professional looking after your son's condition. They may get it wrong but eventually with persistent GP visit they will direct you to a right person who will be able to dianose and treat appropriately. However at first impression from your description you have provided it possibly points to Seborrhoeic dermatitis which affects scalp and face any any other area where sebaceous glands are present. This is due to over active Sebaceous gland which become infected and causes symptoms that you have described. However you must not rely on my opinion. If it response to antibiotic then that could be one explanation. To conclude there are helps out there in form of GP and specialist. Utilised them first before you embark on taking advise form here and there. See your local pharmacist for short term remedies and go from there. I hope this helps. There are products that will block bacteria from irritating your scalp. Your pharmacist should be able to help you

  • Hi I didn't mean any disrespect to the Doctor, and the pharmacists advice is to see the Doctor, I just wondered if anyone had experience of this problem at all, it's at least a month until my sons appointment with the specialist and his scalp is inflamed, hot and very sore, he will probably visit the Doctor again if it doesn't settle down in a few days. Thank you for your opinion and help with this .

  • Has your son had any joy with the consultant and if the condition is diagnosed?

    I have a sample from medical rep for scalp application. Let me know if you are interested. You can call my pharmacy and leave your details with my manager and I will send you the sample. The product is call Dexem Repair scalp lotion. You can do your research to make sure it is genuine product. My pharmacy no is 01932225900

    Call after 15th August

  • Hi thank you for the information. My son is due to see the consultant on the 29th of this month, so we are just waiting, in the mean time he is washing his hair in baby shampoo and not using any products in his hair. His scalp is good some days and others it's inflamed, red and sore with yellow spots and larger lumps in other places on his head which may be glands. Thanks again, I'll let you know how he gets on.

  • You welcome and Good luck with the specialist

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