Having an itchy scalp is always a very difficult condition. You will be forced to constantly scratch and deal with the discomfort that comes with it. But what causes itchy scalp? There are different possible reasons your scalp is itchy including some underlying scalp conditions. We will briefly discuss the major causes and what you can do about them:
Seborrheic Dermatitis (Dandruff)
This is one of the commonest causes of itchy scalp that is also flaky most of the times. This problem normally results from an overgrowth of Malassezia yeast. These yeasts are naturally present in the scalp always. Problem occurs when their population gets out of control then the scalp will become itchy and flaky.
To fix the problem of itchy scalp caused by dandruff, some over-the-counter shampoo containing selenium or zinc pyrithione can be helpful in mild cases. If the problem is severe, a prescription antifungal shampoo will be recommended.
Contact Dermatitis (Allergic reactions)
This is not as common as dandruff but happens to certain people from time to time. Individuals that have sensitive skins or have had reacted to skincare products in the past are more likely to surfer contact dermatitis. It results from using products on the scalp that the scalp doesn’t accept. There are irritants, allergens and sensitizers found in some hairsprays, shampoos and hairstyling products, and they can cause itchy scalp, too.
Fixing itchy scalp that results from allergic reaction is simple: you just need to identify the chemicals or substances you are allergic to and stop using them. When the itching is severe, a dermatologist can help you.
Tinea capitis (Ringworm)
This is a fungal infection that causes round patches of hair loss that increase with time on the scalp. It extends deep into the hair follicle and will also make your scalp to be itchy. Ringworm is a transmissible infection that you can get from close contact with someone who has it. If it is left untreated, ringworm can cause significant hair loss.
To fix itchy hair caused by ringworm, some oral antifungal medication will be necessary. You may also need hair treatment.
Head lice are tiny insects that can invade your scalp and cause several problems including itchy scalp. The little organisms feed by biting the scalp to suck blood. They inject their saliva into the scalp during the process. Their tiny nits (eggs) are attached to individual hair strands and are very difficult to see. Head lice spread by head to head contact.
To fix itchy scalp that is caused by head lice, you will have to get rid of the organisms from your head. This can be done by using recommended over-the-counter shampoos that contain insecticides pyrethrin or permethrin.
Dry skin is generally itchy and your scalp is only the skin covering your head. If you have a dry scalp, it is likely going to be itchy from time to time. It will also be inflamed most of the times and less likely to defend itself against irritants, allergens and sensitizers.
To fix itchy scalp caused by dry scalp, you need to condition your hair more often with the right products.
Itchy scalp can be very uncomfortable but it may not be cause for concern in many instances. It is important to know the cause, however. We have discussed the commonest causes and how to respond to them. If the suggested fixes do not stop your itchy scalp, you should certainly see a dermatologist.