Shingles Affecting the Scalp
Shingles is characterized by a visible rash or blisters that you may develop. The rash and blisters are said to be painful and can cause depression as they are definitely not nice to look at. While the pain can be lessened by medications, the other complications this virus brings can really cause a lot of inconvenience to the infected individual.
In addition to the items above, shingles can be hard to manage if it has started to affect your scalp and hair. It usually happens when the rash reaches the scalp. Proper scalp care and gentle hair treatments are ways to prevent any permanent damage to your scalp and hair.
In general, if you are infected with the virus that causes shingles, you can develop a rash on any part of your body, but it is normally localized or concentrated on one area like the neck or the face. Aside from the rash, you may also develop blisters.
When both reach the scalp, it can make the scalp sensitive and will lead to difficult grooming. The viral infection may also leave you with bald patches if treatment is not properly performed.
Understanding shingles and your sensitive scalp
The itchy and burning sensation you experience when infected with shingles can really give you an uncomfortable feeling. When it has affected the scalp, the virus makes it extra sensitive even to the mildest pressure.
This situation will make it very difficult for you to perform your daily grooming routine such as brushing or combing. Doing so may burst the blisters or cause more wounds on the scalp. The viral infection can make the scalp extra itchy as well, making the desire to scratch irresistible.
To prevent the spread of the virus and to not hurt your scalp, try not to brush your hair or scratch your scalp as much as you can. A shingles infection can also cause hair loss. This condition is called cicatricial alopecia, also known as scarring alopecia.
Scarring is normally caused by the viral infection, specifically the rash on the scalp. The rash destroys the stem cells and the hair follicles that trigger new and existing hair to grow. As the stem cells and hair follicles are destroyed, hair regeneration is also hampered, which can eventually lead to more and permanent hair loss.
Improper hair and scalp treatment may make the situation worse, and increases the risk of developing scarring alopecia. It can also be caused by constant scratching and scraping of the scalp.
As additional information, be aware that shingles affects a localized area on the body. The rash and blisters normally show up on one side of the body, which means that if they have reached the scalp, only one side of the head will also be affected.
Proper treatment for the scalp when infected with shingles
When you are infected with shingles and the infection has reached the scalp or hair, proper scalp and hair treatment is necessary. Below are some of the scalp and hair care strategies that you can try to alleviate the pain brought by the viral infection.
- Use cold compresses or apply cold water to the affected area on the scalp. Put it directly on the rash to lower the pain and itchiness.
- Apply menthol lotion or soothing cream to your head to give it a relaxing feel.
- Avoid the use of soaps or shampoos with a high chemical content. Scented soaps and shampoos may worsen your condition.
- Use warm water when taking a shower or washing your head. Do not use hot water as it will cause more pain.
- Do no scrub or scratch your scalp when taking a shower. Gently use your fingertips, not the nails, when you want to massage your scalp.
- Towel dry your hair gently after washing.
- As much as possible, do not brush or comb your hair anymore than necessary. But if you need to, do it gently without scraping the scalp area.
- Avoid using hair solutions with high chemical content such as gel, spray net, mousse, and the like.
- Visit a dermatologist and have your scalp checked on a regular basis. Your doctor will normally prescribe ointments or scalp cream to alleviate the pain and itchiness of your scalp.
- Anti-viral medicines prescribed by your doctor can also help reduce the spread of the viral infection.
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