Scalp Itch: Get Relief From Your Itchy Scalp
If you find yourself always scratching your head because of itchy scalp, it can be more than just annoying. It can be really uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. Unless you've experienced it yourself, it's hard to understand how maddening and relentless the itch can be. But what causes scalp itch (scalp pruritus) in the first place?
There are actually a number of different things that can cause your scalp to become itchy. Some are more common than others, but all of them can lead to that annoying itch. It could be because of dandruff, an allergic reaction, or a skin condition like psoriasis. The good news is that there are treatments available to help soothe your itchy scalp and get rid of the discomfort for good.
But the first step towards finding the right treatment and solving the problem is identifying the potential causes, which can sometimes be easier said than done.
So if the cause of your itchy scalp has left you scratching your head (pardon the pun, but we couldn't help ourselves), read on to find out more about the most common causes of itchy scalp and what you can do to treat them.
Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis are common conditions that cause the scalp to itch. They are similar in that they both cause the skin on the scalp to become dry and flaky.
The major difference between them is that dandruff is usually not accompanied by any other symptoms, while seborrheic dermatitis can also cause redness, scaling, and crusting of the scalp.
Dandruff is thought to be caused by a number of things, including dry skin, shampooing too often, or using hair products that are harsh on the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis, on the other hand, is thought to be caused by an overgrowth of a certain type of yeast that lives on the skin.
The way to tell the difference between them is by looking at the flakes. If they are white and dry, it's most likely dandruff. If they are yellowish and oily, it's more than likely seborrheic dermatitis.
The good news is that both conditions are treatable with over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoos that contain active ingredients like ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione.
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that appears on the skin. It most often appears as patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. These patches can itch or feel sore. They are sometimes referred to as "plaques."
Psoriasis of the scalp is very common, affecting about half of all people with psoriasis. It can be a really difficult condition to deal with because the scalp is hard to reach and the plaques can be large and thick.
There are a number of different treatments available for scalp psoriasis, including medicated shampoos, creams, and light therapy. In severe cases, oral or injected medications may also be prescribed.
Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is another skin condition that can cause scalp itch. Similar to psoriasis, eczema is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes the skin to become inflamed or irritated, which can lead to redness, swelling, blisters and/or itchiness.
The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it is believed to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Common triggers include stress, allergens, irritants, environmental factors and weather changes.
Eczema is not contagious and can be treated with topical creams or ointments.
Remedy of Eczema:
Eczema can be treated with over-the-counter topical creams or ointments. If the eczema is severe or does not respond to treatment, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications.
Tinea capitis, also known as ringworm of the scalp, is a fungal infection that commonly affects children. The fungus that causes tinea capitis thrives in warm, moist environments, such as locker rooms and swimming pools. Tinea capitis can also be spread by sharing brushes, combs, hats, or other personal items. The most common symptom of tinea capitis is an itchy scalp.
Other symptoms may include:
- crusted lesions
- hair loss
If you suspect you or your child has tinea capitis, it's important to see a doctor. In some cases, tinea capitis can lead to serious complications, such as permanent hair loss or changes in hair color or texture. Treatment options for tinea capitis usually involve antifungal medication, which can be taken orally or applied to the skin.
Head lice are tiny insects that live on the scalp and hair of humans. They are a very common problem, especially in children. Head lice are not dangerous and do not spread disease, but they can be a nuisance.
The most common symptom of head lice is itching of the scalp. Other symptoms include:
- sores on the scalp caused by scratching
- visible nits (eggs) on the hair shafts
- visible lice crawling on the scalp or hair
There are three stages in the life cycle of a head lice: the egg (or nit), the nymph, and the adult. The entire life cycle can take place on a person’s head in a matter of weeks.
Head lice are most often spread by direct contact with someone who has them. They can also be spread by sharing personal items, such as hats, brushes, or combs. Head lice can also be spread by lying on a bed, couch, or pillow that has been used by someone with head lice.
The best way to prevent head lice is to avoid head-to-head contact with someone who has them.
Luckily, head lice are easy to treat. There are a number of over-the-counter head lice treatments available, as well as prescription medications.
An allergy is a condition in which your body reacts to a foreign substance, such as pollen, that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people.
If you have an allergic reaction on your scalp, you may experience symptoms such as:
Allergic reactions on the scalp can be caused by a number of things, including:
- hair color or bleach
- perfumed hair products
- certain types of fabrics or materials
- head lice treatments
- dandruff shampoo
The last two, head lice treatments and dandruff shampoo, are particularly frustrating, as they are often used to stop scalp itch, not cause it!
If you think you are having an allergic reaction to a hair product, stop using the product and see your dermatologist. Allergic reactions can sometimes be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines. In severe cases, you may need prescription medication.
When to see a doctor about scalp itchiness
Most of the time, the underlying reasons your scalp itches is not a cause for concern. It is usually a symptom of a minor condition, such as dandruff or dry skin. In some cases, itchy scalp may be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as scalp psoriasis or eczema.
If you are experiencing severe itchiness that does not improve with over-the-counter treatments, make an appointment to see your doctor. You should also see your doctor if you are experiencing other symptoms, such as redness, swelling, or hair loss.
When you have an itchy scalp, you will most likely feel the urge to scratch. But scratching can irritate your scalp and make the itch worse. You may also scratch so much that you damage your skin and cause an injury or infection if you break the skin on your scalp. This can lead to a worse problem than the root cause of the scalp itch itself, and vicious cycle of itch-scratch-itch that is difficult to break.
Regardless of the cause of your scalp itch, the goal remains the same: to get relief from the itch. And that's where Dermeleve® comes in.
Dermeleve® provides instant and long lasting relief from the urge to scratch, so you can avoid damaging your scalp. As you pursue specific treatment for the underlying cause of your scalp itch, whether it's dandruff, eczema, or something else, Dermeleve® can provide the relief you need to get through the day, and manage any discomfort at night, so you can get some much-needed rest.
Dermeleve® can also help with any flare ups that may occur while you are waiting for your underlying condition to be treated. And, because it's all-natural, it can be used as often as needed without any worry about side effects.
Say hello to Dermeleve® today and say goodbye to scalp itch!