There are different causes of scalp picking. Sometimes it begins due to a problem of skin and becomes a habit over time. According to the research, some cases are referred to as chronic skin picking, which is a type of body-focused repetitive behavior. Picking scabs on scalp can become problematic if you are not able to stop and it is leading to physical damage and is also becoming a hindrance in your daily activities. You can successfully get rid of the habit with behavior modification techniques by your own.
Common Reasons Why You Can’t Stop Picking Scabs on Scalp
It is allergic reaction to an allergen that you have touched. It could be beauty products such as shampoo, hair dye or jewelry etc. Allergic reaction can also occur due to latex, outdoor foliage such as poison oak or poison ivy or toxic substances such as bleach or battery acid. Due to an allergic reaction, your scalp may develop dry patches that burn or itch. Scratching can lead to scabbing and bleeding.
Seborrheic Dermatitis (Dandruff)
It is a condition of the skin that can also affect your scalp. It is characterized by symptoms of flaking, itching and scabbing. White or yellow crusty patches of skin can attach to the shaft of the hair. Dandruff is not contagious and it is neither a sign of poor hygiene or poor health. It can appear in even newborn infants (referred to as cradle cap). OTC medicated shampoos and some topical ointments can be used to treat the condition. You can also try prescription medicines in case OTC treatment fails.
One of the causes of picking scabs on scalp is scalp psoriasis. It is a skin condition that can occur on different parts of the body. It is characterized by the formation of silver-gray, thick scabs all over the scalp. Mild cases can be relieved by using medicated shampoo. If that is of no help or the condition worsens, consult your physician. In severe cases you may require treatment with steroids.
It is a condition that is characterized by red, scaly and irritated scalp. Thick scabs can form which can become itchy and uncomfortable. The lesions can spread to your neck, face and behind your ears. It can also spread to other parts of your body in severe cases. Eczema can be treated with medicated shampoos and prescription strength topical ointment.
Lichen Planopilaris (Lichen Planus)
Lichen Planus is a skin condition that causes purple or red bumps on the skin. When it affects the scalp, it is referred to as Lichen Planopilar. It can result in permanent hair loss and scarring. It is more likely to occur in middle aged individuals. Diagnosis can be confirmed by skin biopsy but most of the time, the cause is not known. Treatment is done with topical steroid creams or oral steroids. Injectable steroids are more helpful in some cases. Itching can be relieved by taking antihistamines.
Another reason for picking scabs on scalp is scalp ringworm. It is an infection by fungi which involves your skin, scalp and hair shafts. Symptoms are scaly patches and itching. It is quite contagious and most likely affects children. Treatment includes medicated shampoos and oral antifungal medicine. If left untreated it can cause severe inflammation, and permanent scarring and hair loss.
How to Stop Picking Your Scalp
Treat any physical problems that are causing the itching and scabs on scalp. Look for physical symptoms of flakes or redness. Problems such as dandruff can be treated with over-the-counter shampoos. Other problems can be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.
Choose a symbol that you can use when you have the urge to pick your scalp. The symbol is used to stop unwanted behaviors, so you can choose a red light, stop sign or any other images that you can associate with stopping.
Imagine the symbol you have chosen whenever you have an urge to pick your scalp. The symbol is a reminder to halt the automatic behavior and make it a choice.
Tell yourself, “I don’t want to pick my scalp. It’s a choice and I am not choosing it, instead I am choosing to do something different.”
Redirect your attention to some other activity that keeps your hands busy without causing any physical harm. For instance, you can squeeze a ball or play with a rubber band worn around your wrist.
You may require help from a physician or a counselor if you are not able to stop picking scabs on scalp. Physicians can prescribe you a medicine and counselors can give you cognitive behavioral therapy. There are also various support groups for persons who pick their skin or have any other compulsive behavior such as hair pulling.