Causes, Prevention, and Treatment
Your scalp is itchy. You’ve tried scratching it, but that only seems to make it worse.
Moreover, the itch is driving you crazy, and you want to find a way to get relief.
If you regularly suffer from an itchy scalp, you know how annoying and unbearable it can be.
Also, constant scratching is irritating and embarrassing.
In this blog post, “Why is my scalp itchy?” Here’s how to fix it – I provide some practical solutions.
Read on to learn more.
Causes of itchy scalp
There is nothing to worry about if you have a minor itch.
However, there are many potential causes of an itchy scalp.
It could be a sign of something as simple as dandruff, allergic reaction, or dry skin.
But also serious conditions, like scalp psoriasis, seborrhea dermatitis, or even head lice.
Dandruff is a scalp condition characterized by itchy scalp and flakiness.
Though it’s not dangerous, it can be embarrassing and difficult to treat.
Furthermore, it could be the result of other factors, like dry or oily skin and yeast overgrowth.
Dry skin is one of the most common causes of an itchy scalp and dandruff.
Likewise, when your scalp is dry, your hair follicles become irritated and flake off.
There are many reasons why you might have a dry scalp.
Including changes in the weather, dehydration, or usage of harsh chemical hair products.
Scalp psoriasis is a chronic skin condition, causing scalp itchiness and dandruff.
Besides this, skin cells grow quickly, causing a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of your scalp.
As a result, this can lead to irritation, itchiness, and flakiness.
To get relief, check with your dermatologist to find out if coal tar shampoo is suitable for you.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a scalp condition, giving itchy scalp, redness, and flakiness.
Also, it’s often caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the skin.
People with oily skin, stress, and hormonal fluctuations are prone to seborrhea dermatitis.
Antifungal medicated shampoos and lotions are popular to treat seborrhea dermatitis.
If you suffer from atopic dermatitis, you experience a scalp that is irritable and may turn red.
Moreover, it is likely to show up on your elbows and the backs of your knees.
Most people get this disease because it is genetic.
So, if someone else in your family had the disease, there is a good chance you suffer from it.
Nits are the eggs of head lice, which live on the scalp, especially around the hair shaft of an infected person.
They feed on human blood and can cause an intense itching sensation.
Other symptoms of head lice include a crawling sensation on the scalp, red bumps, and black dots (lice eggs).
If you have adult lice moving, you’ll likely see them on your scalp or in your hair.
As a result, you may also experience an itchy rash.
Treating head lice usually involves using a special medicated shampoo or lotion.
You may also need to comb your hair with a fine-toothed comb to remove the adult lice and their eggs.
Scabies is a skin condition that causes intense itching and a rash.
Also, it’s often spread through close contact with someone with the condition.
Treating scabies usually involves using a special cream or lotion.
Eczema is a skin condition that can cause dry, itchy skin.
Not only that, the itchiness can spread to the scalp, face, hands, and feet.
This skin condition is not contagious, but it can be a lifelong condition.
There is no cure for eczema, but there are treatments that can help improve the symptoms.
Such as moisturizers and steroid creams, which is normally used to treat eczema.
Scalp irritation caused by allergic reactions is another common cause of scalp itch.
There are many factors that can cause allergic reactions.
Such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander are some of the most common causes.
If you’re allergic to something, your body will produce histamines.
It’s the histamines that cause itching, redness, and swelling.
A doctor usually prescribes antihistamines that help reduce the symptoms of allergies.
Hormone imbalances, such as those experienced during pregnancy or menopause, trigger scalp itching.
During pregnancy, for example, many women experience an increase in scalp itchiness.
This is due to the increased levels of hormones in the body.
Fungal infections and ringworm
Scalp fungal infections are a frequent cause of scalp discomfort.
Also, the most common type of fungal infection is scalp ringworm or tinea capitis.
The scalp ringworm is a contagious infection that can pass from person to person.
But it’s often found in children and young adults.
To treat fungus infection, use a medicated shampoo containing zinc or salicylic acid.
A bacterial infection of the hair follicles can also cause scalp itchiness.
The most common type of bacterial infection is folliculitis.
Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
It’s often found on the scalp, face, chest, and back.
A medicated cream or lotion is usually used to treat folliculitis.
Itchy scalp can also be a symptom of rosacea, a chronic inflammatory skin condition.
Rosacea affects the face, but it can also affect the scalp.
The exact cause of rosacea is unknown.
But it’s thought to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
There is no cure for rosacea, but there are treatments that can help improve the symptoms.
These include topical creams, oral medications, and laser therapy.
Lupus is an incurable autoimmune disease attacking the scalp and other areas of the body.
Uniquely, it induces some symptoms, such as tiredness, joint discomfort, and rashes.
There is no cure for lupus, but there are treatments that can help improve the symptoms.
These include anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids.
Alopecia areata is a condition that causes hair loss.
It can affect the scalp, face, and other parts of the body.
There is no known cure for this autoimmune disease.
Although there are therapies available, there is no guarantee of symptom alleviation.
Environment – sunburn
Too much sun exposure can also lead to an itchy scalp.
This is because ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the skin and hair follicle.
After all, sunburns are a type of radiation.
It can burn and cause redness, soreness, and itchy skin.
As a result, severe sunburns can blister the skin, which requires medical treatment.
A tight ponytail can harm your hair.
Are you aware that wearing your hair in a tight ponytail can also cause itchy scalp?
This is because the hair follicles can become damaged and inflamed.
Tight hairstyles can also lead to traction alopecia. A type of hair loss caused by trauma to the hair follicle.
If you’re experiencing scalp itchiness, you should avoid tight hairstyles.
Lichen planopilaris is a condition that causes inflammation of the hair follicles.
It can lead to itching, redness, and hair loss.
There is no known cure for lichen planopilaris
But there are treatments and therapies that can help improve the symptoms.
For instance, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs, and light therapy.
Dirty and sweaty
Dirty and sweaty hair can also lead to scalp itchiness.
Scalp itchiness and irritation caused by sweat and dirt can clog the hair follicles.
If you have an itchy scalp, you should have frequent washing with a mild shampoo.
You should also avoid harsh chemicals or use hot tools on your hair.
Phantom itchy scalp condition
Phantom scalp itch resembles scalp dysesthesia.
It’s a condition that causes a person to feel like they have an itchy scalp.
Besides, there is no known cause of phantom scalp itch.
But it may well relate to nerve disorders or possible psychiatric problems.
On top of that, there is no cure for phantom scalp itch.
However, there are therapies available to help with this condition.
To recap reasons for itchy scalp and how to treat it, watch the video presentation.
How to prevent scalp itching
There are a few things you can do to prevent or help an itchy scalp.
I have listed some common practices which I suspect you have heard.
Assuming you have sensitive skin, you may need to shampoo often than usual.
Look for a mild shampoo that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals.
You should also avoid using hot tools on your hair, as this can dry out your scalp and make it more sensitive.
Preventing tight hairstyles
If you pull your hair back too tightly, it can break away from the roots.
This can lead to splitting and hair weakness.
Make sure you keep the start of the braid loose, so it doesn’t tug on your hair follicles.
Tight braids can also cause tensile stress, which is when there is constant pulling on your hair.
Avoid harsh chemicals and hot tools on your hair
Harsh chemicals can strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving you with a dry scalp.
Also, hot tools can damage your hair, making it more vulnerable to irritation.
If you have sensitive skin, avoid using strong chemical hair dyes and hot devices on your hair.
Block excessive sun exposure
Too much sun exposure can damage your skin, making it more sensitive.
If you’re going to be in the sun for a long time, wear a hat or scarf to protect your scalp.
You should also apply sunscreen to your skin to protect against cancer.
Take good care of your skin
In general, it’s important to take good care of your skin. This means keeping it clean, hydrated, and protected from the sun.
If you have sensitive skin, you may need to take extra care to avoid irritants.
Be sure to consult with a board certified dermatologist.
The reason is to find out early what products and treatments are right for you.
It’s all about being prepared.
Treatments for scalp itches
If you’re experiencing scalp discomfort, there are a few treatments you may consider.
I would recommend the following examples, which has helped me in my time of need.
Using a cool compress
Wet a clean cloth with cold water and apply it to your scalp for a few minutes. Repeat as necessary.
Doing a scalp massage:
Rub your fingers over your scalp in a circular motion. This may help increase blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
Applying a cold, anti-itch cream:
Apply the cream to the affected area for relief.
If these home treatments don’t provide relief, you need to see a doctor.
Taking an antihistamine
If your itchy scalp is due to an allergy, you may need to take an oral antihistamine to reduce the itching.
You should only use this type of medication as directed by a doctor.
In some cases, doctors may recommend a corticosteroid injection to help reduce inflammation.
Corticosteroids are a type of medication used to treat various inflammation conditions.
Such medication can cause side effects.
This includes pain during injection, weight gain, and mood changes.
If you’re experiencing any side effects, be sure to inform your doctor.
Light therapy is a type of treatment that uses ultraviolet (UV) light.
Specifically, to help reduce the symptoms of conditions like scalp psoriasis and eczema.
Some side effects of light therapy may include skin irritation, burning, and reddish patches.
Consult your doctor
In summary, scalp itch can be annoying,
But, there are several treatment options available to find relief.
If home treatments don’t work, check for the underlying medical condition.
But, you will need to consult your doctor first about this.
In general, with the right treatment, there is a better chance of getting comfortable again.
Itchy scalps can be an annoying condition that causes people great paint and discomfort.
By understanding the most common causes of scalp itchiness, as well as the less obvious, you can take necessary steps to find relief.
I hope this article was helpful.
I would encourage you to check out my other blog posts for more information on keeping your scalp healthy.
- Can anxiety cause itchy scalp?
Anxiety can lead to behaviors that cause itchy scalp aggravating.
For example, you might scratch your skin more frequently, causing discomfort.
Additionally, anxiety can cause stress, which can impact the immune system.
And make the body more susceptible to skin conditions like eczema.
If you’re experiencing itchy scalp and think anxiety could be the cause, seek medical help.
- Why does my head and neck itch at night?
There are a few possible explanations for this.
One, it’s that you may be experiencing allergies caused by histamine reaction.
Another possibility is that you’re experiencing stress.
But, it can impact the nervous system and lead to itchy scalp.
If you’re concerned about the itchiness, talk to your doctor.
This may help rule out any underlying medical conditions.
- Can COVID-19 make your scalp itchy?
There is no evidence that COVID-19 causes itchy scalp or skin.
Yet, the virus can cause a widespread rash in some people.
If you’re experiencing a rash and think you may have COVID-19, talk to your doctor.
They can help you determine whether you need to test for the virus.
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Disclaimer: We do not recommend or encourage you to use any of these statements as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. They are for educational purposes only. The FDA has not conducted any studies on them. If you have a medical concern, see your doctor immediately.