Treating Shingles on the Scalp

Shingles is a painful an infection and rash that may happen in your scalp. Signs could embrace facial drooping (on account of weakened muscle mass) and complications. The shingles rash often goes away after a number of months, however the ache can final lengthy after the rash clears up.

Shingles causes blistery, itchy, and intensely painful rashes to develop wherever on the physique. These rashes are rather more painful and difficult to deal with and handle after they seem on the scalp. It’s because the scalp could be very delicate, and any stress, akin to from scratching or brushing your hair, may cause blisters to burst and bleed.

Hold studying to find out about shingles on the scalp, together with signs, causes, problems, prognosis, and therapy.


The earliest signs of shingles are burning, tingling, numbness, and sharp ache on the pores and skin on one facet of the physique or the face. The commonest websites for shingles blisters are the waistline, face, neck, chest, stomach, and again.1

Extra early signs of shingles could embrace:

Signs that seem a number of days after preliminary signs embrace:

  • Itching, tingling, or burning within the affected space of pores and skin
  • Redness
  • Raised rash
  • Blisters which are crammed with fluid. These will break open after which scab.
  • Gentle to extreme ache within the affected space of the pores and skin

Shingles rashes often have an effect on nerve paths, and blisters are usually present in a line.2 Rashes may also seem on one facet of the face or the scalp. On the face, the rash can seem near your eye or in your ear.

Along with painful blisters, shingles of the scalp may also trigger complications or weak spot on one facet of the face.3 This weak spot may cause the affected facet of the face to look droopy.


Shingles is brought on by a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox.2 After an individual recovers from chickenpox, the virus would possibly journey into nerve tissues, the place it’s going to stay dormant for many years. Shingles will end result when the virus reawakens and travels again up the nerve pathways and into the pores and skin.

Anybody who has ever had chickenpox is susceptible to shingles later in life, often as an older grownup. Shingles is extra widespread in individuals older than age 50, and the danger will increase with age.4

Extra threat components embrace:

  • Having an sickness that weakens your immune system, akin to HIV/AIDS
  • Present process most cancers remedies: Radiation or chemotherapy can decrease your immune defenses and will set off shingles.
  • Taking sure medicines: Taking immunosuppressive drugs after an organ transplant or extended use of steroids like prednisone can enhance the danger of shingles.
  • Extended stress or an infection: The immune system will be weaker if you’re experiencing excessive ranges of stress or have an an infection, which may enhance your threat of shingles.4

In case you are not proof against chickenpox—both from having had chickenpox or after being vaccinated towards it—it’s attainable to contract the varicella-zoster virus from another person.5 This typically occurs if there may be direct contact with open sores from a shingles rash.

Whilst you could not develop shingles straight away, you would possibly grow to be contaminated with the varicella-zoster virus. In case you are not proof against chickenpox, you’ll develop chickenpox as an alternative.

Upon getting had chickenpox, you might be susceptible to shingles later down the highway. Whereas which means that shingles isn’t extremely contagious, it’s best to nonetheless train warning when caring for somebody with open sores.


Shingles ache can final for weeks, months, and even years—typically lengthy after pores and skin signs have healed.6 This long-term ache is named postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). PHN happens within the locations the place the shingles rash was, even after the pores and skin has cleared. This ache can typically be so extreme that it impacts an individual’s high quality of life.

In accordance with the CDC, as much as 18{a71e702d8dd75cbe32444ad6fd3ab85fcf42dda4a9e89e7ffa9d236a5143b97a} of people that get shingles will expertise PHN.7 The danger of PHN will increase with age, and older adults usually tend to develop PHN and have long-lasting and extra extreme ache than a youthful particular person would. PHN is uncommon in individuals below 40.7

Shingles of the scalp can result in hair loss from scratching or combing too arduous throughout an outbreak. It may additionally result in a situation known as cicatricial alopecia or scarring alopecia.8 The hair loss happens as a result of the shingles rash destroys cells in hair follicles answerable for new hair development. As soon as these cells are destroyed, the balding is everlasting.

Shingles would possibly result in different severe problems, together with these of the eyes, akin to imaginative and prescient loss. In uncommon circumstances, shingles can result in pneumonia, listening to issues, encephalitis (mind irritation), or dying.

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