Why is My Scalp Weeping Clear Fluid?
When it comes to scalp problems, people generally think of dandruff, baldness, dermatitis, etc.
These problems can result in a wide range of symptoms, such as itchy skin, pain, and inflammation that are familiar to most people. However, if you’re experiencing a relatively unknown symptom, such as fluid oozing from the scalp, you may be confused as to what is causing it.
Problems like these can be quite difficult to deal with since they are not as common, which also limits the amount of information available about them. But identifying the cause of such problems is essential for resolving the issue.
That’s where this guide can come in handy. It explains in detail some of the causes of this problem and the various solutions you can try.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Causes Of Clear Fluid Secretion From The Scalp
The main reason for fluid leaks from the scalp is the formation of sores on its surface. And there may be various reasons that lead to the development of these sores, such as:
1. Tinea Capitis
The more popular name for Tinea Capitis is ringworm, an infection caused by a fungus that can also result in scaling and itching. This problem is highly contagious and can spread quickly through physical contact, even from animals.
Ringworm infection can cause patches of the skin to become inflamed and red, ultimately leading to the secretion of the fluid if it is not treated timely. Sometimes, instead of the liquid being clear, it may have a yellowish color, which can indicate a bacterial infection.
However, the good news is that ringworms can be cured permanently with proper treatment, unlike some other scalp conditions. It requires medication along with the application of topicals which can help prevent the fungal infection from spreading.
2. Bacterial Infections
As mentioned above, if the liquid has a yellowish color instead of being clear, chances are that your scalp has a bacterial infection. This is usually caused by the Staphylococcus bacteria when you pick or scratch your scalp.
These activities tend to break the skin of the scalp, making it easy for bacteria, debris, and other substances to enter the wound. And this can quickly lead to an infection and cause liquid-oozing sores to develop on the surface.
To deal with bacterial infections on the scalp, the most common solution involves the application of antiseptic substances. Such substances are present in many home remedies, over-the-counter medications, and topicals.
However, you may need to get a prescription from a dermatologist or a physician to get such products.
3. Sebum Overproduction
The human scalp produces a substance called sebum, which is composed of various natural oils required to keep the scalp in good condition. Sebum also helps provide shine to the hair naturally, and low sebum production can cause dryness and irritation.
On the flip side, overproduction of sebum leads to a buildup of the substance on the scalp, causing various problems, like itching, acne, flaking, and dandruff. Also, when too much sebum is produced, dirt and oil get trapped in it, forming yellowish, heavy, and thick flakes.
This situation will also cause itching, which will release the fluid if the skin breaks. Thankfully, it is possible to deal with the overproduction of sebum effectively, slowing down production but not stopping it altogether. Generally, this is done by applying topicals or using products like anti-dandruff shampoo.
Products that contain a low amount of chemicals, such as natural hair products, may also be effective in such situations. Other solutions include the application of oils like coconut oil and tea tree oil, which can help eliminate painful sores and reduce itchiness. These oils can also help maintain a proper pH balance, preventing sebum overproduction.
4. Scalp Folliculitis
An infection that occurs in the hair follicles, scalp folliculitis, is another reason that can cause your scalp to weep fluid. The symptoms of this infection include the appearance of small bumps, which may be yellow or white, on the surface of the scalp. These bumps can resemble acne or may appear as bigger and harder bumps.
They are generally irritating, itchy, and painful and can occur due to causes like bad scalp or hair hygiene, skin problems like eczema, and excessive sweating. Other causes include the effects of chemicals present in hair products or a weak immune system.
These bumps contain pus; when they burst, the pus is what you experience flowing down your scalp. Since they are highly itchy, you may accidentally touch them and cause them to burst easily. Besides that, this condition leads to inflammation of the scalp skin.
In cases where the problem is not very severe, it can be resolved using mild hair products and ensuring that your scalp remains clean. Also, products that can remove excess oil from the scalp and anti-dandruff shampoos may be effective.
5. Scalp Psoriasis
This problem appears as a scaly rash that may appear in small patches prone to itching and can lead to a weeping scalp. In most cases, these patches are crusty and dry and only leak when an infection occurs.
Psoriasis is among the most common skin conditions and has no cure. While its occurrence is linked to the immune system, concrete evidence is yet to be obtained. However, that does not mean it cannot be managed effectively, and people with scalp psoriasis can deal with the problem through proper treatment that can alleviate its symptoms.
The treatment methods depend on the severity of the problem and generally require topicals and psoriasis shampoos. In some cases, dermatologists may even recommend laser therapy.
Like in other body parts, a cyst can occur on the scalp but is generally harder to notice since it is covered by thick hair. It is only noticed if it causes a lot of irritation. Cysts generally develop on hair follicles and take some time to grow, which makes them even harder to notice. Thankfully, in most cases, they are harmless and do not cause discomfort or pain.
That said, it is always recommended to get a cyst checked out by a physician periodically because, in some cases, it can lead to other problems. This generally happens when the cyst swells up and starts oozing fluid, which is a painful experience. Also, the fluid that oozes from such cysts usually has a foul smell, making it highly noticeable.
Various treatments are available for cysts, including draining them, using anti-inflammatory medications, or even injecting steroids.
7. Scalp Eczema
Scalp eczema or scalp dermatitis is another condition that can cause scalp rashes or inflammation. This skin condition can take various forms, with some capable of being treated while others are chronic.
One of these forms is contact dermatitis, which occurs when the skin has an adverse reaction to an environmental factor. This condition can be managed by proper treatment and avoiding contact with the irritant.
Another form of scalp eczema is atopic dermatitis, which can appear on various body parts, including the scalp, and is the most common form. It is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured though the symptoms may be alleviated by treatment.
Scalp eczema can also appear in the form of seborrheic dermatitis, another chronic condition, the symptoms of which appear on the face, scalp, and back. In infants, seborrheic dermatitis may appear as a cradle cap, which can cause the development of scaly skin on the head.
8. Other Causes
Besides the causes mentioned above, there may be other reasons your scalp is weeping. These can include viral skin infections, acne, shingles, and even autoimmune problems, all of which require serious treatments. And for problems affecting the whole body, antibiotic treatments may be needed.
Determining The Seriousness Of A Scalp Problem
Most scalp problems that can cause it to weep fluid can be dealt with effectively using the right treatment methods. The only thing you should remember is that the treatment procedures should be started as soon as the problem is detected.
If such problems are not treated promptly and properly, they may become more serious issues. But this can also happen when the symptoms are not noticed until it has already become too late. Here are some of the symptoms that may indicate that the problem is a serious one:
- Treatment does not heal the sores
- The sores are recurring or spreading quickly
- The color, size, or shape of the sores have changed
In such cases, immediate medical attention should be the priority, as various treatments will only provide temporary relief without addressing the underlying cause of the problem.
Treating A Weeping Scalp
The treatment that should be used for a scalp that is oozing fluid depends upon the underlying cause of the problem. In many cases, anti-inflammatory treatments and antiseptics can help alleviate the symptoms. But keep in mind that no matter how painful a sore is, it will only leak fluid if it gets ruptured, which generally happens by scratching the scalp.
This means that treatments that can alleviate pain and irritation will reduce the chances of itching and prevent such sores from leaking. Some treatment options that may prove beneficial include:
1. Changing Your Lifestyle
Problems like scalp dermatitis can be treated by changing your lifestyle and ensuring proper hygiene. This involves cleaning the scalp regularly with gentle products devoid of irritants, using creams and oils to moisturize the scalp, and avoiding hot showers.
Apart from that, make sure to take steps to reduce stress and get adequate sleep, which can reduce irritation and the chances of an outbreak.
2. Getting Proper Hair Products
Apart from avoiding products that contain strong chemicals, you can get prescription or over-the-counter products for cleaning your hair and scalp. For instance, tar and salicylic acid products can help eliminate scales, while anti-dandruff shampoos with sulfur, selenium sulfide, and zinc pyrithione can help deal with flaky skin.
However, be very careful when selecting such products, as some ingredients can cause further irritation and may worsen the problem. To be safe, you should consult a dermatologist before getting a product for such problems.
Certain over-the-counter medications can help effectively deal with the symptoms of a weeping scalp. Steroids in topical forms or creams containing corticosteroids can help in treating eczema, especially conditions like seborrheic dermatitis. You can also take oral antifungal medications for the purpose.
Similarly, antihistamine medications may help people with an oozing scalp since they can reduce painful symptoms like skin irritation and inflammation.
4. Homemade Treatments
If the underlying cause of the problem is a condition like atopic dermatitis, some homemade treatments may help. You can use a mixture of baking soda, warm water, and diluted apple cider vinegar to clean the hair without causing any irritation. But ensure that this solution does not irritate the skin before using it.
Alternatively, you can moisturize your scalp using mineral oil, but apply it to a small area first to check for any adverse reaction.
While it may not be possible to prevent conditions that can cause your scalp to ooze, there are some ways by which you can reduce the chances of flare-ups. These include:
- Having a proper diet
- Reducing stress
- Getting enough exercise
- Moisturizing the scalp and skin
- Avoiding exposure to irritants
- Using dietary supplements
- Protecting the head against dryness and cold
Dealing with a weeping scalp may not be very easy, but in most cases, it is possible. Some conditions do not have any cure, but severe symptoms like an itchy scalp can be managed with the help of medications and proper lifestyle changes.
The most important thing to remember in such cases is to take timely action to prevent the problem from worsening. And with the above tips, you can reduce the chances of flare-ups that can aggravate such conditions.
Before trying out various treatments and medications, we recommend consulting a dermatologist or physician who can help select the most suitable option. And with that said, it is time to conclude this guide.
Until next time!