What Your Itchy Scalp is Trying to Tell You

What Your Itchy Scalp is Trying to Tell You

In need of scratching your head more than usual? A dry, itchy scalp is a pretty annoying skin problem. A little itch here and there is normal but when the situation is something like taking a rake to your head, then there’s something else going on. If you find yourself itching your head constantly, the reason can be more than just dandruff. So, what exactly does your scratch scalp mean? There can be various conditions causing an itchy scalp, dandruff, ringworm or something more serious like a bacterial infection, even autoimmune conditions. That’s why before stopping the itching, figuring out the cause is important. Find out more as you continue, what your itchy scalp is trying to tell you.

Causes and Treating an Itchy Scalp

Treatment of this issue will generally depend on the causes of the problem. Here are some of the common reasons that cause most of the itchiness along with their remedies.

Dry scalp: This is a very common issue especially during the winter and fall seasons when the air is dry.

Remedy: To resolve this issue try a moisturizing hair conditioner or use a once-per-week scalp and hair mask.

Dirt and sweat: When you are not washing your hair regularly, it builds up oils, dirt, and other residues on the roots of your hairs and scalp. Those can irritate the skin and also cause more scratching and itching.

Remedy: Wash your hair regularly. Scrub your scalp and roots with a suitable shampoo. Before rinsing off, ensure that it lathers well and dissolves the excess oil along with other debris.

Dandruff: This leads to an excess buildup of old, dead skin cells. Dandruff can be really itchy and cause white flakes to fall from your scalp.

Remedy: In case of mild dandruff, over-the-counter shampoos that contain selenium or zinc pyrithione, useful ingredients for controlling yeast, can work like a charm. If you are having a serious case, you may need a prescription-strength anti-fungal shampoo, solution, cream, ointment, topical cortisone or medicated foam.

Fungus: Fungal infections are quite common skin issues that can easily lead to an itchy scalp. Fungi love moisture and dead cell, oil, dirt etc. buildup on your scalp.

Psoriasis: Psoriasis itself is a bad skin condition and it is especially worse around the scalp area. Just like dandruff, it can be caused by rapid skin cells replacement and thus, excess old skin cells build up. Psoriasis can even cause your scalp to be dry and scaly. In serious cases, you may even experience temporary hair loss.

Remedy: For keeping scalp psoriasis in control, you can use over-the-counter medications like shampoos containing coal tar or salicylic acid. Don’t forget to get a medical checkup by your doctor.

Eczema: This is another terrible skin condition that can cause red, itchy and dry skin on your scalp. Complications of eczema include skin infection as bacteria can easily penetrate through the broken skin. Eczema is common and it may run in the family. Moreover, there are a number of available triggers that can lead to an eczema outbreak including heat, allergies, sweat, stress, and dust.

Remedy: For both eczema and psoriasis, topical steroids, salicylic acid, phototherapy, excimer laser, and immunomodulatory agents are useful. But above all, see your doctor for treatment in such skin conditions.

Head lice: This is particularly common among school-age children. Head lice, “nits”, are tiny insects living on the scalp while collecting nutrition from it. They can cause intense itching. Generally, these insects are harmless. However, the itching can be seriously unpleasant.

Remedy: Over-the-counter lotions, shampoos, and creams containing Malathion or permethrin should take care of the lice. This should be used once a week and treatment should continue for several weeks.

Tinea capitis: It is a fungal infection that is familiar with a more common name (ringworm). It can infect the scalp. Tinea capitis is capable of extending deep into the hair follicles. This can lead to round patches of lost hair that will eventually increase over time. Scalp ringworm can spread on contaminated combs, brushes, hats, and pillows.

Remedy: If you are facing a ringworm infection, an over-the-counter antifungal formula can help. Since the fungi dig deep into your skin, you will also need to take oral anti-fungal medications. Treating ringworms on the scalp requires prescription medications, so you will have to see your doctor to get the correct diagnosis as ringworm can sometimes be confused with other skin problems.

Allergic reactions: This is caused by a reaction to certain allergens. It is not a common cause of an itchy scalp.

Remedy: You can avoid such allergic reactions if you identify the elements causing the problem and staying away from it. However, it’s a challenging task and requires specialized tests in a dermatologist’s office.

Scabies: Scabies is an infestation of the “human itch mite” It’s another type of insect. The adult, female scabies mites, burrow itself into the upper skin layer. There they live and deposit eggs.

Remedy: If you are suffering from scabies, you will need prescribed treatments, so see your doctor right away to get the right diagnosis and treatment for your condition.

When To Worry About Scalp Itchiness

In most cases, an itchy scalp is nothing to worry about. However, in cases, it can easily indicate something more serious. See your doctor if you experience red or swollen scalp. Don’t forget to check whether your shampoo is helping your condition, redness, flaking is spreading throughout your face or other skin areas, you notice lice or nits in your hair, or the itching starts interfering with your everyday life.


Never, ever leave your itchy scalp down to your guesswork. You have just read some of the serious conditions that can cause an itchy scalp. However, there are even more situations like a Nerve problem, atopic dermatitis, sunburn, skin cancer, rosacea, sarcoidosis, folliculitis, phantom scalp itch, lupus, lymphoma etc.

If you are having trouble pinpointing the cause of itching, don’t panic, just see your doctor. He or she will order the necessary treatment for you or advise you to see a dermatologist for your condition. The specialist will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis and suggest treatment plans specifically tailored for your needs. I do hope, what your itchy scalp is trying is trying to tell you will be of some help to you.

Did I miss anything? Feel free to leave a comment or share. Have an itch-free scalp today!





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By |2018-12-27T06:51:29+00:00December 27th, 2018|Health tips|8 Comments

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  1. Sujandar Mahesan January 5, 2019 at 2:50 am - Reply

    Oh my god thank you so much for posting article about the itchy scalp on our heads. My brother is having this problem and this article is really helpful in finding how to get rid of it and finding what is causing that problem. After analyzing through the article I think it is because of some allergic reactions. Thank you once again.

    • Delores January 5, 2019 at 3:14 am - Reply

      Hi Sujandar,

      Thanks for your comment. I hope this will be helpful to your brother and he will find the right treatment for his scalp. Thanks for reading. Have a great day.

  2. Wesley January 5, 2019 at 2:58 am - Reply

    I never realized the seriousness of an itchy scalp. I thought dandruff was just something that ran in the family. From your site I learned that there are multiple reasons why a person might have dandruff in their hair like eczema, psoriasis or even the dirty scalp! Knowing this keeps me aware that I should wash my hair regularly to avoid any type of dandruff. What I really like most about your say is that you give remedies the different types dandruff one might have in their hair. Thank you so much for all your knowledge and expertise the information will be used and shared!

    • Delores January 5, 2019 at 3:28 am - Reply

      Wesley, Thanks for reading and commenting on this article. I am glad that you find this helpful and I hope it will be of help to others as well. Have a great day and a successful 2019.

  3. Tsquare January 5, 2019 at 3:01 am - Reply

    Fashion is cool but should be done comfortably. Having itching hair can be very disgusting in the public. Thank God for this educative post about different causes of this problem. If you always have a dry scalping one will later be victim of itching scalp. So what to do to fix this problem is to use moisturizing hair conditioner or use a once-per-week scalp and hair mask.

    This article also encourages the ladies to always keep their hair clean to avoid itching scalp. 

    Great piece for the season. 

    • Delores January 5, 2019 at 3:21 am - Reply

      Hi Tsquare, I agree that having scaly and itchy scalp is not very pleasant especially in the public and even to other family members as well. I do hope this article will be of help to others. Thanks for reading and all the best for 2019.

  4. Alice January 5, 2019 at 3:10 am - Reply

    I am currently based in a country where it is a must for all women, whether local or foreigner, to have their hair covered whenever they go out to the public. This means I need to keep my head covered at work, that is, 8 or at times 12 hours everyday, 6 days a week. That’s when I only did not start losing hair but my scalp also started itching. I used to shampoo my hair everyday but because of fear of losing more hair, I only wash and shampoo my hair every other day and I do not use conditioner either. I make sure to dry my hair very well before putting on my head cover but it did not help with the itching.

    I do not have dandruff, psoriasis eczema, head lice, tinea or scabies and my head does not get sweaty either because my workplace is surrounded with air conditioners so I can’t really point out the cause. Allergic reaction? I’m not sure. Perhaps, my head just feels uncomfortable with a head cover, lol.

    • Delores January 5, 2019 at 3:43 am - Reply

      Alice, I know that many people are uncomfortable wearing a head cover. I myself do not like to wear one even in the winter. I think you will have more comfort when you are not working and you are more relaxed at home. A specialist may be able to help you to find out more about this problem.

      Thanks for your comment and all the best for 2019.

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