What is Itchy Scalp?

Itchy scalp means irritation or tickling sensation in the head scalp. It is also called scalp pruritus, a common scalp condition associated with many hair and scalp problems like skin inflammation, seasonal changes, fluctuating hormones, and dandruff. It is also an indication of stress. 

What causes an itchy scalp?

There are various causes of itchy scalp like :

  • 1. Seborrheic dermatitis 
  • 2. Dandruff 
  • 3. Inflammatory skin
  • 4. Stress
  • 5. Head lice
  • 6. Seasonal changes
  • 7. Fluctuating hormones
  • 8. Excess yeast growth on the skin
  • 9. Too dry
  • 10. Too oily hair
  •  

Other causes that also cause itchy scalp other than the major reasons for itchy scalp described above:

  • 1. Autoimmune disorders ( mainly psoriasis)
  • 2. Fungal infections (tinea capitis, ringworm)
  • 3. Allergic reaction (to hair dye)
  • 4. Eczema
  • 5. Anxiety 
  • 6. Atopic dermatitis
  •  

Treatment of Itchy Scalp

Remove the rough, scaly patches on the scalp before going for an anti-dandruff shampoo. 

Combine hair with a gentle hairbrush, remove loose flakes, and then apply medicated shampoo that will be more effective.

For treating fungal infections of the scalp that cause itchiness, the following ingredient containing medicated shampoos are used :

  • 1. Anti-fungal ingredient – Ketoconazole 
  • 2. Oil reducing ingredient – Selenium sulfide
  • 3. Natural anti-fungal – Coal tar
  • 4. Skin cell removing ingredient – Salicylic acid 
  • 5. Antibacterial and anti-fungal ingredient – Tea-tree oil
  •  

What are the symptoms of an itchy scalp?

  • 1. Bald patches
  • 2. Dry skin
  • 3. Irritated skin
  • 4. Slight fever
  • 5. Sores (sometimes filled with pus)
  • 6. Redness on scalp
  • 7. Patches and scales on the scalp
  • 8. Scalp swelling
  • 9. Sores on the scalp
  •  

When should you seek medical help?

Medical help must be taken in the following conditions to prevent the worsening of the condition and avoid major complications:

  • 1. In case itchiness of the scalp does not go away with time and treatment 
  • 2. There is excessive loss of hair and severe itching on the scalp.
  • 3. In case the rashes worsen, and there are allergic reactions on the skin.
  • 4. If a person is unable to make out the reason for continuous itching
  • 5. The condition lasts for more than a week
  • 6. If they are significantly disturbing daily activities
  • 7. If the itching is persistent
  • 8. If the anti-dandruff shampoo does not show the effects even after a month of use, then a dermatologist or doctor must be consulted
  • 9. Simple medications do not work.

Prevention of Itchy Scalp

Itchy scalp is a major disturbance in daily activities, and hence regular measures can be taken to prevent itchy scalp:

  • 1. Wash hair regularly
  • 2. Wash hair and scalp thoroughly after using hair products like shampoos and conditioners
  • 3. Avoid irritating soaps or shampoos
  • 4. Avoid too much of hair products 
  • 5. Do not use hair products with harsh chemicals
  • 6. Do not wash hair with too hot water
  •  

Itchy scalp shampoo

Itchy scalp can be treated with shampoos mixed with a few drops (10-20 drops) of tea tree oil. 

Sometimes, olive oil can also be mixed with the shampoos and applied directly on hair and scalp. It will help reduce itching and can also eliminate mild itching. 

Shampoos are also meant for removing lice and treating dandruff. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does Anyone Have an Itchy Scalp?

There may be a lot of reasons behind the itchiness of the scalp, and the most common cause of itchy scalp is dandruff and lice. Other reasons for itchy scalp include:

  • 1. Inflammation of scalp skin in a condition (called Seborrheic dermatitis). The condition occurs due to seasonal changes, stress, hormonal fluctuations, and yeast growth. 
  • 2. Psoriasis (wherein rashes and itchiness occur on the scalp)
  • 3. Fungal infections (like ringworm and tinea capitis)
  • 4. Allergic reactions
  • 5. Diabetes
  • 6. Shingles
  • 7. Eczema
  •  

How to stop itching on scalp?

If itchiness in the scalp is due to dandruff, then massaging with suitable coconut oil and olive oil can help with dandruff. Mild dandruff shampoos are also available that help when used regularly. 

If itchiness is due to lice, use medicated shampoos and comb regularly to eliminate all lice and their eggs to cleanse hair and scalp.

If itchiness is due to fungal infections, getting a proper diagnosis and suitable treatment is highly recommended to eliminate fungus or yeast, as they may worsen with time.

What is an itchy scalp a symptom of?

Itchy scalp can be a symptom of various skin-related conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, and lice in the head. 

What autoimmune disease causes an itchy scalp?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes irritation and an itchy scalp.

What lack of vitamin causes hair loss?

Following vitamin deficiency causes hair loss.

Riboflavin

Biotin

Folate

Vitamin B12

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