Scalp problems can be very itchy and frustrating. It can cause a lot of hair problems for an individual. Whenever you stroke your hair with your hand you feel some dandruff or some bumps on your scalp. An itchy scalp, also known as scalp pruritus, is a common problem that can be seen to cause frustrating symptoms like frequent scratching and discomfort.
Many times, an itchy scalp is accompanied by some of the visible signs like scabbed or flaking skin. Other times, your scalp can itch without any skin problems.
Even though an itchy scalp does not typically indicate anything severe, it can be a symptom of any underlying medical condition. Below we have mentioned a few causes of your itchy scalp, along with how to treat and even prevent it.
What are the Causes of Itchy Scalp?
Numerous factors can lead to an itchy scalp, we have mentioned a few for you:
1. Seborrheic dermatitis
The most commonly known cause of an itchy scalp is seborrheic dermatitis. It is a condition that affects the parts of your body that are rich in oil-producing glands like the scalp, face, and back.
Several researchers have considered dandruff to be a mild form of SD. Dandruff occurs when the scalp becomes so dry, it starts to itch and flake off.
3. Haircare practices
When people do not wash out the shampoo properly when washing their hair, it can accumulate on the scalp and cause itching and flaking.
4. Head lice
Head lice are common among young children and their families and these parasitic insects live on human blood and are mainly spread through close personal contact.
5. Contact dermatitis
Some people show allergic reactions to different hair care products, such as black hair dye that might cause itching and rashes on the skin.
When human itch mites dig into your scalp, it can cause itch so severely it can stop a person from sleeping.
Outbreaks of itchy, often red and raised bumps can develop anywhere on your body, including your scalp.
Tinea capitis or ringworm can also cause a condition of itchy scalp.
9. Scalp psoriasis
About 50% of people who are suffering from plaque psoriasis on their bodies also develop symptoms on their scalp.
10. Atopic dermatitis
An atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema that affects the scalp that causes intense itching that can lead to infection.
Other Symptoms of Itchy Scalp:
Other symptoms might accompany an itchy scalp which can help individuals and healthcare providers determine the trigger. Moreover, this can point the way towards choosing treatment options.
Other symptoms that may come along with an itchy scalp include:
- There are visible patches of thick, greasy scales on the scalp. These are usually a sign of seborrheic dermatitis.
- When flakes appear in the hair or on your clothes, you should consider them as a sign of dandruff.
- Small white nubs on your head could be nits or even the eggs of head lice. A medical expert will need to perform a visual examination to identify signs of head lice.
- Small raised bumps are often symptoms of scabies.
- People who have hives on their scalp often have them elsewhere on their bodies.
- Red rash, pus-filled bumps, and hair loss can be signs of ringworm, especially if they all occur at the exact time.
- Silvery-white scales on a dry scalp with red patches are the symptoms that suggest scalp psoriasis.
- Difficulty in sleeping a possible sign of head lice or scabies, due to intense itching.
- Flaking skin on your upper back, chest, and face could be a sign of a seborrheic dermatitis problem.
- The dry, red scalp can be a sign of atopic dermatitis.
People should remember that seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis can all have similar symptoms. A person who is suffering from these symptoms may need to work closely with their healthcare provider to find the best treatments for these conditions.
How’s an Itchy Scalp Treated?
Are you finding ways to treat your itchy scalp depends, well it depends on its cause. For example, dandruff can be treated through frequent hair washing with special topical agents. Each scalp medication works in its ways, such as reducing oil on your scalp or killing fungus.
Some medications that might be used to treat the problem of dandruff include:
- Antifungal creams
- Keratolytic like salicylic acid or coal tar
- Pyrithione zinc
- Topical steroids
Head lice, on the other hand, require medical treatments like washing the hair with a pediculicide or using a medicine that kills lice. A fine-tooth comb can remove lice eggs or nits while the medication kills active head lice.
In addition to these treatments, people who are living in close contact might need preventive treatment. All clothes, bedding, and towels that came in contact with the person who is infected with lice must be washed or dry cleaned in temperatures greater than 130°F.
If any allergic reaction is the cause of your itchy scalp, you must refrain from using the product that might be responsible for causing the reaction and speak to an expert if the reaction is severe.
There are multiple other causes of the itchy scalp that we have not covered here. The best way to find out what is causing your itchy scalp is to have a hair expert take a look at your scalp.
Home Remedies For Itchy Scalp
1. Baking Soda Hair Mask
- Baking soda is known to have both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that help in killing the bacteria that is causing infection, hair fall or itchiness. All you need is 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda and a little amount of water.
- Take a bowl and add both the ingredients and mix it until the consistency becomes like a thick paste. Once you are done with this, you should take the paste and spread it over your scalp for 10 to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes you can wash your hair with a regular or mild shampoo.
2. Olive Oil on Scalp
- Olive oil has anti-inflammatory and skin protecting agents which help to heal itchiness or infection on the scalp.
- You need to heat organic olive oil for around 7 seconds in the microwave and apply it all over your head. Now, you can leave the oill overnight and rinse it in the morning.
- You must repeat this method atleast twice a week for better results.
3. Tea Tree oil
- It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties which help to treat the itching problem by moisturizing and nourishing the scalp.
- You can take 5-7 drops of oil and apply it directly to the scalp.
- Now, you should massage it thoroughly for a few minutes and leave it overnight.
4. Using Coconut Oil for Itchy Scalp
- Coconut is, undoubtedly, loaded with anti-fungal properties that can treat your itchiness and fungal infections to a great extent. Oiling your hair with coconut oil can help balance the moisture of your head.
- You should take the coconut oil and warm it for 10 seconds.
- Then simply apply it over your head and allow it to stay for 15 mins and rinse off once it's done.
5. Aloe Vera gel to moisturize Scalp
- Aloe vera gel is considered a natural moisturizer that helps in treating an itchy scalp because of its anti-microbial and soothing properties.
- You can take organic aloe vera gel and apply it directly to your scalp.
- Once you’ve applied it, you should leave it for 15-20 minutes and wash it with lukewarm water. Now, repeat this method twice a week to see better results
Are there any risks and side effects?
If your symptoms do not subside or if they get worse, you should talk to your doctor about medical treatments as they might be more effective.
Several essential oils and the active ingredients in your shampoos might irritate swollen or broken skin.
How can I prevent an Itchy Scalp?
If you are looking for ways to reduce your risk for an itchy scalp by washing your hair regularly to remove built-up oils.
You can wash your hair in warm, but not excessively hot, water to avoid irritating and drying out of your scalp.
If you want to reduce allergic reactions, you must try to avoid using products that contain:
You should also avoid physical contact with people with head lice to prevent spreading lice. This includes avoiding sharing:
How to get rid of dandruff at home?
We have mentioned some amazing methods through which you can get rid of dandruff at your home!
1. Wash Your Hair with Vinegar
Vinegar is very much effective against dandruff. If you want to get rid of any existing dandruff, you can simply mix an equal amount of vinegar with water to wash your hair. However, this is not going to solve your problem permanently unless you work on the steps given below.
2. Use Neem Leaves
Neem leaves are widely used in Asian countries to treat scalp issues like scalp irritation, lice and dandruff. These leaves are known to have antiseptic qualities and can moisturize your hair and scalp.
Once you have these leaves, you can crush them together in a bowl to create a paste and then add water to make the paste slightly runny. Now you should apply this paste onto your hair and scalp before washing it off with warm water.
An alternative is to place neem leaves in boiling water for about half an hour and then strain the entire water to wash your hair with it.
3. Try Lemon Treatments
Lemon appears to be the natural cleanser of sorts, which removes dandruff, excess oils and dirt from your scalp. You can simply take two lemons and then squeeze them to extract their juice. Now you can add two parts of water to one part lemon juice and apply it to your scalp.
You should wash your scalp with your shampoo after about 5 minutes to see a clean, dandruff-free scalp.
A mixture of coconut oil and lemon juice can also work wonders for your hair and scalp. You should mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 4 tablespoons of coconut oil in a bowl and then apply this mixture to your hair with the help of your fingers.
Once your whole head is covered with this mixture, you can leave the mixture on for about 30 minutes before washing it off with shampoo and warm water.
You can also create honey and lemon shampoo at home to get rid of dandruff. You will be required to take 5 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl and mix them well before using the mixture to thoroughly wash your scalp and hair.
4. Egg White and Natural Yogurt Mixture
Both egg and natural yogurt have the essential nutrients that are required for healthy scalp and hair. Since you may be lacking these nutrients in your diet, you can create a mixture of egg white and natural yogurt to make up for them.
You can mix one egg white with 2 cups of yogurt and apply the paste thoroughly onto your hair and scalp. Now, you should keep it on for at least 15 minutes before washing your hair with cold water, and then you will notice the difference.
5. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera has several natural qualities which can be good for your hair and scalp. Aloe vera gel not only soothes your skin but also has antibacterial properties important for fighting off fungal infections. You can just rub Aloe Vera gel on your palms and then massage your hair and scalp with it. Now, you should let it stay for about half an hour before washing for the best results.
6. Apple Juice and Honey
Just like honey and lemon, apple juice and honey is also a good combination and a remedy for dandruff. Simply take two tablespoons of apple juice and then mix it with 5 tablespoons of honey to create a paste. Rub the paste onto your hair and scalp and let it sit for about 10 minutes before washing it.
7. Properly Use an Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
You might hear people telling you that anti-dandruff shampoos are mere marketing stunts, but that is not always the case. Several shampoos are known to reduce dandruff and hair fall.
You should usually wash your hair twice a week using lukewarm water and anti-dandruff shampoo. After some time, you should dry your hair before brushing lightly to remove any leftover flakes.
There are several remedies to get rid of or even prevent an itchy scalp. You must keep your head free of dirt and pollution to keep it healthy.
If you have used all home remedies and are still facing hair problems then you can purchase our dermatologist recommended products like Minoxidil, Finasteride, Anti-DHT Shampoo and many more at our Mars by GHC website.