Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

There is nothing as bad as an itchy scalp. But what’s worse than a super-itchy scalp? Not knowing what’s causing it. You cannot treat itchy scalp until you find the reason behind it. So, we will let you know about the potential reasons that can cause an itchy scalp.

  1. Hair Dyes: After you colour your hair, your scalp might feel a bit itchy. Itchy scalp could be an allergic reaction that your scalp is facing due to the dye. However, itchy scalp resolves by itself if you avoid the same chemical/hair dye the next time you colour your hair. Otherwise, you might have to look for the cause behind the itchy scalp. In case itchy scalp persists, you might have to consult a dermatologist or consult your general practitioner. In case you experience other symptoms along with itchy scalp such as swelling and hives, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately. Hair dyes are one of the common reasons that can cause itchy scalp.
  2. Sunburn: The scalp is as prone to getting sunburnt just as any part of the body. There needs to be sunscreen or something to protect the scalp, especially at the parting. The itchiness in the scalp will fade, but it could help to apply some hydrocortisone cream to properly treat the itchy scalp caused by sunburnt.
  3. Dandruff: Dandruff is the most common problem that you would experience at some point of time in your life. Dandruff is the most common reason that can cause an itchy scalp. Dandruff could occur because of an increase in the yeast growth and can only be controlled by the use of shampoos that contain zinc pyrithione or selenium. In case the shampoo does not fix itchy scalp, a prescription from your doctor can resolve itchy scalp.
  4. Eczema: In eczema, the skin can become red and itchy due to inflammation and the same holds true for the scalp. Seborrheic eczema comes up here which is a reason that can cause an itchy scalp and it typically goes away without treatment, but some require additional support. You can try to cleanse your hair everyday using a gentle shampoo and soap to relieve itchy scalp. In case that does not work, consult a doctor.
  5. Psoriasis: Psoriasis is a medical condition of the skin which makes the scalp have itchy reddish patches that are scaly. Psoriasis can also occur on the other parts of the scalp and is another reason that can cause an itchy scalp. Psoriasis is an autoimmune chronic disease and it should be addressed by the use of medicated shampoo purchased over the counter or the ones containing coal tar and salicylic acid. You also need to consult a dermatologist if your itchy scalp is caused by psoriasis to help you get something stronger to resolve this issue.
  6. Head Lice: Kids are not the only people to suffer from head lice. Adults are also prone to lice although they would prefer to stay clear of it. Head lice are a popular reason that can cause an itchy scalp. In case you spot them in your hair, use a shampoo that is bought over the counter and wash your clothing, towels or anything that could have come in contact with it.
  7. Scabies: They are caused by tiny mites who can cause itchiness where they are burrowed. Scabies is a contagious condition, which can spread and has to be treated immediately. Normally, the doctor prescribes to kill both the scabies and the eggs and the discomfort and itchy scalp will be gone in a few days. However, during that time, make sure to wash towels, clothing and wash linen and just about everything that you have come in contact with, as the scabies could have fallen off your skin and later cause an infection.
  8. Sweat: While it is not possible to wash the hair after a workout, skipping shampooing your hair will not hurt. But if your scalp starts to feel itchy, it’s time to wash it your hair. Not washing or cleaning your scalp/hair is a pretty common reason that can cause an itchy scalp.
  9. Ringworm: Ringworm can infect the scalp and not just your skin. Ringworm causes round itchy patches and triggers hair loss and is a reason that can cause an itchy scalp. Make sure you consult your doctor immediately if you suffer from Ringworm. There needs to be an oral antifungal medicine to treat ringworm, as the infection is located in the hair follicle.
  10. Skin Cancer: Skin cancer like melanoma could also be a reason that can cause an itchy scalp. Make sure you check your scalp and if you have any weird bumps or sores, then it is always a good idea to fix up an appointment with your doctor and get it checked out.

There is nothing as bad as an itchy scalp. But what’s worse than a super-itchy scalp? Not knowing what’s causing it. You cannot treat itchy scalp until you find the reason behind it. So, we will let you know about the potential reasons that can cause an itchy scalp.

  1. Hair Dyes: After you colour your hair, your scalp might feel a bit itchy. Itchy scalp could be an allergic reaction that your scalp is facing due to the dye. However, itchy scalp resolves by itself if you avoid the same chemical/hair dye the next time you colour your hair. Otherwise, you might have to look for the cause behind the itchy scalp. In case itchy scalp persists, you might have to consult a dermatologist or consult your general practitioner. In case you experience other symptoms along with itchy scalp such as swelling and hives, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately. Hair dyes are one of the common reasons that can cause itchy scalp.
  2. Sunburn: The scalp is as prone to getting sunburnt just as any part of the body. There needs to be sunscreen or something to protect the scalp, especially at the parting. The itchiness in the scalp will fade, but it could help to apply some hydrocortisone cream to properly treat the itchy scalp caused by sunburnt.
  3. Dandruff: Dandruff is the most common problem that you would experience at some point of time in your life. Dandruff is the most common reason that can cause an itchy scalp. Dandruff could occur because of an increase in the yeast growth and can only be controlled by the use of shampoos that contain zinc pyrithione or selenium. In case the shampoo does not fix itchy scalp, a prescription from your doctor can resolve itchy scalp.
  4. Eczema: In eczema, the skin can become red and itchy due to inflammation and the same holds true for the scalp. Seborrheic eczema comes up here which is a reason that can cause an itchy scalp and it typically goes away without treatment, but some require additional support. You can try to cleanse your hair everyday using a gentle shampoo and soap to relieve itchy scalp. In case that does not work, consult a doctor.
  5. Psoriasis: Psoriasis is a medical condition of the skin which makes the scalp have itchy reddish patches that are scaly. Psoriasis can also occur on the other parts of the scalp and is another reason that can cause an itchy scalp. Psoriasis is an autoimmune chronic disease and it should be addressed by the use of medicated shampoo purchased over the counter or the ones containing coal tar and salicylic acid. You also need to consult a dermatologist if your itchy scalp is caused by psoriasis to help you get something stronger to resolve this issue.
  6. Head Lice: Kids are not the only people to suffer from head lice. Adults are also prone to lice although they would prefer to stay clear of it. Head lice are a popular reason that can cause an itchy scalp. In case you spot them in your hair, use a shampoo that is bought over the counter and wash your clothing, towels or anything that could have come in contact with it.
  7. Scabies: They are caused by tiny mites who can cause itchiness where they are burrowed. Scabies is a contagious condition, which can spread and has to be treated immediately. Normally, the doctor prescribes to kill both the scabies and the eggs and the discomfort and itchy scalp will be gone in a few days. However, during that time, make sure to wash towels, clothing and wash linen and just about everything that you have come in contact with, as the scabies could have fallen off your skin and later cause an infection.
  8. Sweat: While it is not possible to wash the hair after a workout, skipping shampooing your hair will not hurt. But if your scalp starts to feel itchy, it’s time to wash it your hair. Not washing or cleaning your scalp/hair is a pretty common reason that can cause an itchy scalp.
  9. Ringworm: Ringworm can infect the scalp and not just your skin. Ringworm causes round itchy patches and triggers hair loss and is a reason that can cause an itchy scalp. Make sure you consult your doctor immediately if you suffer from Ringworm. There needs to be an oral antifungal medicine to treat ringworm, as the infection is located in the hair follicle.
  10. Skin Cancer: Skin cancer like melanoma could also be a reason that can cause an itchy scalp. Make sure you check your scalp and if you have any weird bumps or sores, then it is always a good idea to fix up an appointment with your doctor and get it checked out.
Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 19, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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