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10 Reasons Your Scalp Itches and How to Get Relief

May 27, 2021

Having a dry, itchy scalp makes it challenging to concentrate on anything else. Consider these ten possible reasons your scalp itches and tips from dermatologists to help you get relief.

  1. Dandruff: Oily, yellow flakes on your scalp, and unbearable itching are common signs of dandruff. Mild cases can often be treated with over-the-counter dandruff shampoo. If that doesn’t work, you can seek prescription medication.
  2. Dry scalp: This common condition, often confused with dandruff, is caused by hot showers, hairstyling products, dry air, and other environmental factors. Fight dry scalp with essential oils, apple cider vinegar, and moisturizing shampoo. If these at-home remedies don’t work, seek treatment from a dermatologist.
  3. Contact dermatitis: A dry, itchy scalp could mean you need to rinse your hair more thoroughly to remove shampoo and conditioner residue. You might even be having an allergic reaction to a hair care product, known as contact dermatitis. Try switching to all-natural ingredients and see if that helps.
  4. Atopic dermatitis: Also known as eczema, this skin condition can develop anywhere on your body, including your scalp. An itching, burning sensation is common, and the cause is unknown. Learn your triggers and avoid them to prevent flare-ups. Then, use dandruff shampoo and seek prescription topical corticosteroids from your dermatologist.
  5. Seborrheic dermatitis: This type of eczema causes red, itchy rashes on oily parts of the body, including the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis may come and go. During flare-ups, medicated shampoo can help relieve the itch.
  6. Scalp psoriasis: About half of all psoriasis patients develop symptoms on the scalp. You may see red patches, silvery-white scaling, and dandruff-like flakes. Use over-the-counter medicated shampoo or talk to your dermatologist about trying something stronger.
  7. Head lice: These tiny parasites feed on human blood and easily spread from person to person. To eliminate the itch, you must get rid of the parasites using lice shampoo, and a special lice comb.
  8. Scabies: The human itch mite burrows into the scalp, which can cause intense itching and irritation. See a dermatologist to diagnose your condition and receive prescription treatments for scabies.
  9. Paresthesia: If you have an itchy, burning, tingling, or numb scalp with no sign of a rash, a nerve problem may be creating this sensation. There are many potential causes for paresthesia, and your primary care doctor is the best person to speak to about treatment options.
  10. Skin cancer: Some types of skin cancer cause itchiness. Visit a dermatologist for a thorough scalp examination. The sooner you diagnose your condition, the faster you can begin treatment.

This is not a comprehensive list of reasons why your scalp itches. If you’re having trouble finding and curing the cause of your itchy scalp, visit Arlington Dermatology. We have proudly served the Rolling Meadows area for over 40 years, providing cutting-edge treatments for a long list of chronic skin conditions. Give us a call at 847-392-5440 or contact us online today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dermatologists.