As we get older, we expect that our skin will start to develop wrinkles. We never, however, anticipate the wrinkles will appear on the scalp. It’s scary to touch your scalp and feel raised ridges on the scalp.
The wrinkles on the scalp condition is known as Cutis verticis gyrata. Cutis Verticis gyrata (CVG) describes a condition where the scalp appears to have folds and furrows that are formed when the skin thickens.
The condition is associated with the scalp thickening and one gets about 2 to 10 creases or wrinkles, that are spongy and soft on the scalp. The creases can either appear in the scalp’s rear region, the central region or the whole scalp. The scalp appears to have soft, spongy thick folds and furrows.
Cutis verticis gyrata leads to formation of deep furrows and convoluted folds which resemble the brain surface. The condition mostly appears in men and can disappear after castration. It does happen in some women, but the long hair camouflages the situation. It’s a troublesome condition since it alters the appearance and could cause self-esteem issues. Most of the cases appear after puberty and before one hits 30 years.
Wrinkles on the scalp can be classified according to the cause which can be primary essential, primary non-essential and secondary.
This means that the condition’s cause is unknown. It is however suspected that genetics and endocrinological factors contribute to this condition. Skin folds develop after puberty mostly in the occipital and vertex region.
Neuropsychiatric disorders can be associated with it including epilepsy, seizures, schizophrenia, mental deficiency, cranial abnormalities, deafness, cerebral palsy and ophthalmologic abnormalities like cataracts. Skin plagues can be seen at birth and the skin becomes thicker gradually with furrows and folds getting formed.
Secondary CVG is caused by other underlying diseases that induce the skin to change either through inflammation, neoplasia, hyperplasia or lymphedema. In this case, skin folds can be present at birth. This can be associated with several diseases including Moles (melanocytic naevi), acromegaly (excessive growth hormone caused by a pituitary gland tumor, Inflammatory diseases like eczema, acanthosis nigricans, cylindroma, breast carcinoma cutis, diabetes mellitus, fallopian tube carcinoma, HIV related lipodystrophy, graves disease and many more. In some of these instances, pain is experienced.
Treatment and surgery
There is no known cure for CVG, but one can treat the underlying cause of the folds and furrows in case of the primary non-essential and secondary CVG. Some patients can benefit from using medicated shampoos to maintain hygiene in the folds and furrows. Patients with CVG should maintain proper hygiene by cleaning up the scalp. This makes sure that secretions do not accumulate in the farrows causing bad smells and secondary infection.
Medical treatment of CVG is limited to surgery where a plastic surgeon may carry out an excision or subcision for aesthetic or psychological reasons. The surgeon can also use a dermal filler.
- Medscape: Cutis Verticis Gyrata