What Scalp Problems Do Seniors Have?

Seniors can experience more frequent, more persistent and sometimes more severe scalp problems as they grow older. There is often less hair to protect the scalp, or a history of sun and wind damage or exposure to harsh hair treatment products or environmental chemicals. Dry skin can also be triggered by underlying medical conditions or by medications.


Dandruff remains one of the most frequently experienced scalp conditions, regardless of age. As your scalp becomes more sensitive with age, medicated shampoos may actually trigger more dandruff.

Dry Skin and Pruritis

Dry skin or xerosis in seniors may mean you need to hydrate and moisturize; pruritis, often linked with xerosis, is extremely itchy skin that does not respond to topical ointments or creams. Both conditions can indicate underlying medical conditions.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Dandruff and xerosis that are not properly treated may lead to seborrheic dermatitis. Symptoms include red or greasy-looking patches on the scalp line. Medicated shampoo and topical medications help, but outbreaks may recur.

Bacterial Infections

Untreated xerosis, dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis can result in bacterial infections on your neck and scalp. These include boils and carbuncles, which are serious and must be treated by your doctor.

Scalp Psoriasis

The shiny scales of scalp psoriasis occur near the hairline and ears; the constant flaking and shedding of dead skin cells can mimic chronic dandruff. Some psoriasis is treatable with over-the-counter creams or shampoos, but more severe forms may need prescription medication and ultraviolet treatments.

Seniors can experience more frequent