Why Does My Scalp Itch at Night?

Why Does My Scalp Itch at Night?

Hey there, night owl. If you're reading this at 2 AM, scratching your scalp for the umpteenth time, I feel your pain. Trust me, I've been there – tossing and turning, wondering why on earth my scalp decides to throw a rave party the moment my head hits the pillow.

You're not alone in this itchy predicament. So many of us have tried everything from fancy shampoos to strict diets, only to end up staring at the ceiling, fighting the urge to scratch. It's frustrating, it's exhausting, and it can really mess with your day-to-day life.

But here's the good news: we're going to figure this out together.

We've spent years researching and helping folks just like you, and we've got some insights that might just change your nights (and days) for the better.

We'll walk through the top 10 reasons your scalp might be acting up at night, and share share some tried-and-true solutions that have helped many just like yourself.

So, grab a cup of (non-caffeinated) tea, get comfy, and let's chat about how we can get you back to enjoying peaceful, itch-free nights.

Ready to reclaim your sleep? Let's put this itch to bed!

Why Your Scalp Itches at Night

Ever wonder why your scalp seems to feel itchier just when you're trying to sleep?

It's not just in your head.

Your body's natural rhythms play a big role. At night, blood flow changes and your skin temperature rises, which can make your scalp more sensitive. Plus, when you're lying in bed with nothing else to focus on, you're more likely to notice that nagging itch.

A woman in a white t-shirt scratches her head with both hands and has a concerned expression on her face against a beige background.

The Science Behind Why An Itchy Scalp Happens at Night

At night, you might notice your scalp getting itchy for a few reasons. For starters, when we sleep, our body temperature and hormones change a bit which can make us sweat more. This could lead to an itchier scalp because the skin gets warmer and maybe even a little sweaty. Also, at night our bodies don't produce as many anti-inflammatory hormones. This means that any itchiness we have can feel worse.

On top of this, our scalp tends to lose more moisture in the evening which can dry it out and make it feel itchy. It's also worth mentioning that while we're awake during the day doing all sorts of things, we might not pay much attention to how our scalp feels. But at night when everything is quiet and calm; that's when you really start noticing the itch.

Knowing why your scalp gets itchy especially at bedtime helps figure out ways to deal with it better so both your sleep quality improves along with overall health of the skin on your head. By tackling what causes the itch, like keeping cool or using moisturizers before bed; you have a better chance of finding some relief from nighttime scalp itch (also known as scalp pruritus).

A person with curly hair grimaces while resting their head on a pillow.

Common Triggers of Scalp Itchiness After Dark

As we both know by now, a lot of people find their scalp gets itchy at night. This can happen for many reasons and it's different for everyone. Here are some usual causes:

  • Allergic reactions to hair products: If you're using certain shampoos, dyes, or styling stuff on your hair, they might not agree with your skin and make your scalp itch.
  • Environmental factors: Things like dry air or pollution around you can also lead to an itchy scalp when the sun goes down.
  • Medications: Sometimes medicines we take for other problems have side effects that include making our scalps itch.

To stop this nighttime annoyance, figuring out what exactly is causing the problem is key.

You might need to switch up how you care for your hair or maybe adjust something in where you live or work. Doing these things could really help get rid of that irritating itchiness on your scalp after dark.

So, Why Does My Scalp Itch So Much At Night?

Ok, the big question - what causes your scalp to itch at night? Your scalp might start itching because of a few reasons. A common one is seborrheic dermatitis, which is when your skin gets irritated and flaky.

Scalp psoriasis can also be the culprit; this long-term problem causes thick, scaly spots on your head. Then there are fungal infections such as scalp ringworm that not only make your scalp itch but can also cause hair loss, alopecia and secondary skin infections.

Knowing exactly why your scalp itches at night is the first step if you want to stop the discomfort and sleep better. Once you figure out what's causing the trouble—be it dandruff from dermatitis or those scaly patches from psoriasis—you can look for the right treatment to help fix things up.

A close-up of a person combing their hair with visible dandruff flakes and a magnifying glass highlighting the dandruff.

By tackling these common causes head-on, you'll feel way more comfortable and keep your scalp in good shape - and prevent hair loss!

Seborrheic Dermatitis Rash and Its Nighttime Eczema Aggravation

Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that's pretty common and can make your scalp really itchy at night. It makes your skin red, irritated, and you might see white or yellow flakes in your hair. Atopic dermatitis also known as eczema, is a common cause of an itchy scalp and can often be aggravated at night. No one knows exactly why people get it, but it seems like too much yeast on the scalp could be part of the problem.

A close-up image of a person's scalp showing signs of redness, flakiness, and irritation, possibly indicating a skin condition called psoriasis. A hand is holding the hair aside to reveal the affected area.

When bedtime rolls around, if you have seborrheic dermatitis, you might notice the itch gets worse. This could happen because of how our bodies change temperature when we sleep or maybe due to hormones shifting and sweating more. The extra yeast hanging out on your scalp doesn't help either.

If this nighttime itch bothers you a lot, there are shampoos available without needing a doctor's note that contain stuff like selenium or zinc pyrithione which can help calm things down.

But if those don’t cut it for you and the situation feels serious, talking to a healthcare provider would be wise—they can give stronger treatments like antifungal shampoos or creams specifically designed for this kind of irritation.

Psoriasis - A Chronic Condition Affecting Scalp Health

Scalp psoriasis is a long-term skin problem that happens on the scalp. It makes raised, red areas with flaky scales show up. These spots are often called plaques and they can be the reason your scalp feels itchy, especially at night.

No one really knows why some people get scalp psoriasis, but it seems to happen when the immune system doesn't work right. If someone in your family has had it, you might be more likely to get it too.

An individual is lifting their hair to reveal a patch of dry, scaly skin on the back of their neck.

For those dealing with this annoying itch and trying to keep their scalp calm, using special shampoos can help a lot.

Look for ones with coal tar or salicylic acid in them because these ingredients are good at easing symptoms of scalp psoriasis. A dermatologist might suggest stronger treatments like prescription-strength shampoos or creams that have cortisone in them.

Dandruff and Shampoos - Reactions to Hair Care Products

One reason you might find your scalp itching at night is because of the products you're using on your hair.

Things like hair dye or styling gels can really irritate your skin, leading to something called contact dermatitis, which means your scalp gets itchy due to an allergic reaction.

Person washing their hair, covered in a thick lather of shampoo, with both hands working through the hair.

To get rid of this kind of itchiness, figuring out exactly which products are causing trouble and then not using them anymore is crucial. This isn't always easy to do by yourself; sometimes, you need a doctor who specializes in skin problems—a dermatologist—to run some tests and help pinpoint what's setting off the allergy.

For some folks, the solution lies in switching over to hypoallergenic hair care items.

These are made specially without a lot of those common irritating ingredients found in regular products.

Dry Scalp Conditions Worsening at Night

When you have a dry scalp, dandruff and itchy skin can get worse at night. This problem might happen as the weather getting colder, form washing your hair too much, or even just using strong products on your hair.

To deal with this issue, trying out a dandruff shampoo made to add moisture back into your scalp could really help. These shampoos usually have ingredients in them like salicylic acid or coal tar, which are great for keeping your scalp from getting flaky and dry.

Besides reaching for medicated shampoos, there are simple home remedies that can calm down an itchy scalp before bedtime.

For instance, rubbing some olive oil or similar natural oils onto your head can make a big difference by moisturizing the skin and soothing the itchiness.

Environmental and Lifestyle Factors

Things like the weather, pollution, how we live our lives, and stress can all make your scalp itchy at night.

When the air gets too dry or really hot or cold, it might dry out your scalp and make it feel itchy.

Dry skin is a common cause of scalp itch, which can be exacerbated by changes in diet or medication. Stress can also be a big contributing factor. It can weaken your body's defenses and throw off your scalp's natural balance. This often leads to more itchiness and discomfort.

To deal with this nighttime itchiness on the scalp, making some adjustments in what you do every day could help a lot. Tweaking what you eat; wearing hats or scarves to protect against harsh weather; and trying relaxing activities like meditation or working out can manage stress better.

Effective Solutions for Nighttime Scalp Itch

To get rid of that annoying itch on your scalp at night and make sure your scalp stays healthy, there are certain steps you can take. This includes stuff you can do at home, different treatments, and shampoos made just for this problem.

By adjusting what you do to take care of your hair in the evening, picking products that won't cause allergies, and trying out some remedies right before bed, getting relief from scalp itch during the night is totally possible.

However, if none of those help or if things seem to be getting worse instead of better, it's important to talk with a healthcare provider. They'll know exactly what to do next and might even prescribe something special if needed.

Adjusting Your Evening Hair Care Routine

Tweaking your nighttime hair care habits can make a big difference in dealing with scalp itch. Here's what you might want to try:

  • When washing your hair, steer clear of hot water because it can take away the natural oils from your scalp, leading to dryness and more itching. Lukewarm water is much better.
A ceiling-mounted showerhead releases a cascade of hot water in a modern bathroom with blue walls and steam in the atmosphere.
  • Pick shampoos and conditioners that are kind on the skin and don't have sulfates in them. Look for ones made for sensitive scalps.
  • Stay away from hairstyling products that could irritate your scalp, especially those with alcohol or strong chemicals in them.
  • Adding massages for your scalp to your nightly routine could help too by boosting blood flow and encouraging the production of natural oils.
  • Try using a natural oil like olive or coconut. They're great for keeping moisture locked into both skin and hair strands.

Selecting Hypoallergenic Hair Products

When picking out stuff for your hair, it's a good idea to go with hypoallergenic choices.

Hypoallergenic products are made in a way that they're less likely to cause allergic reactions, which is great news if you've got a sensitive scalp that gets itchy easily.

Keep an eye out for items labeled as having hypoallergic ingredients and steer clear of anything with strong chemicals or scents since these could make your scalp problems worse.

Home Remedies to Soothe the Scalp Before Bed

If you're dealing with scalp itch, especially at night, there are some simple home remedies that can help calm your scalp before you hit the pillow. Here's what you might want to try:

  • Before going to bed, rub a bit of olive oil or coconut oil into your scalp. This can moisturize and soothe the skin. Just wash it out when you wake up.
  • Aloe vera gel is another great option because of its soothing effects. Slather some on your scalp at bedtime and rinse it off in the morning.
  • For those who prefer something a bit different, rinsing your scalp with warm chamomile tea could do the trick since chamomile fights inflammation and reduces itchiness.
  • Making a natural mask for your head using things like yogurt, honey, or avocado is also effective. These ingredients hydrate and feed the skin on your head which helps lessen irritation during nighttime, while making your head delicious (j/k, don't eat your head!).

Trying these remedies may ease that annoying itchy rash while keeping overall health of scalps in check. 

Medical Treatments and When to Consider Them

If you're dealing with a nighttime scalp itch that just won't quit it's really important to talk to a healthcare provider. They can figure out why your scalp is itching and suggest the right treatment for you.

This might include things like prescription medicines only they can give you, special shampoos to fight fungus, creams with cortisone in them, ointments, or even allergy pills. It's key that you listen closely to what they tell you and use these treatments exactly as they say. 

The Dangers of Topical Steroids

Topical steroids are often reached for when dealing with an itchy scalp, but they're not without their downsides. Using these creams for a long time can make your skin thin and delicate, making it easier to get hurt.

Close-up of hands applying topical steroid cream onto the back of one hand.

Skin Damage

When you apply these creams over an extended period of time, your skin might get thin and weak.

This is made worse by the fact that topical steroids often take a very long time to see results, resulting in longer usage. 

This situation makes it easier for the skin to get hurt from things like cuts or bruises. Sometimes, the skin could even tear quickly, causing open sores.

Damage from these steroids can also slow down how fast wounds heal and make infections more likely to happen.

It's key to be careful with using topical steroids and stick to what your healthcare provider suggests. If you start seeing signs of damage on your skin, like it getting thinner or bruising easily, talking to your healthcare provider is crucial for figuring out what steps to take next.


Using topical steroids for a long time to treat cranial itch can even sometimes change the color of your skin. This means you might see spots on your head where the skin is either lighter or darker than usual.

These changes in how your skin looks can effect your confidence. Usually, this coloring goes back to normal after you stop using the cream, but there are times when it sticks around even after you've stopped treatment.

If while treating an itch on your scalp with these creams, you notice any differences in your skin's color, it's important to immediately talk about it with a healthcare provider. They'll help figure out what to do next and may suggest other ways to deal with the itch without causing discoloration.

Skin Thinning

Using creams for scalp itch too much can make your skin really thin. These creams are good at calming down swelling in the skin, which helps stop the itchiness. But if you use them a lot and for a long time, they can make your skin weak and easy to damage like getting cuts or bruises easily, and it might not heal as fast as usual.

It's key to only use these creams how your doctor tells you to and not go overboard with them. If you start seeing signs that your skin is getting too thin, such as bruising super easily or the skin tearing without much effort, it's crucial to talk to your healthcare provider about it right away.

They'll check out how your skin is doing and may change up how you're treating the itchiness on your scalp so that there’s less chance of making things worse.


When you've been using steroidal creams like hydrocortisone for a long time, stopping them might lead to something called Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW). This is when your skin actually becomes addicted to the steroids, and stopping becomes problematic. It's like your body is throwing a fit because it misses the cream.

TSW can be tough to deal with since the symptoms are strong and don't go away quickly. If you think this is happening to you, it's important to talk to a doctor or someone who knows about healthcare. They can help figure out how best to soothe the itchiness without those creams and make things better for your head.

A Safer Alternative To Topical Steroids

If you're concerned about the potential side effects of using topical steroids for an itchy scalp, rest assured that there are safer and more effective alternatives available. Dermeleve®, for example, is a superior choice due to its fast-acting and long-lasting relief without the risk of skin thinning or discoloration.

Dermeleve® Scalp Serum

This specially formulated product is designed to alleviate scalp itchiness efficiently and effectively, providing you with the peace of mind you deserve. Unlike traditional steroids, Dermeleve® can be used as frequently as needed without any concerns, making it a versatile and reliable solution for your scalp discomfort.

Dermeleve scalp serumPrior to incorporating Dermeleve® into your routine, it is recommended to consult with your dermatologist for personalized guidance on usage and benefits.

With Dermeleve®, managing scalp itch becomes a stress-free experience, allowing you to enjoy lasting relief without compromising your skin's health. 

Preventive Measures to Avoid Nighttime Scalp Itch

To keep your scalp from itching at night and to make sure you sleep well, it's important to take care of your scalp properly. Here are some things you can do:

  • Keeping up with good hygiene for your scalp is key. This means washing it regularly and getting rid of dead skin by exfoliating.
  • Changing some parts of how you live can help too, like cutting down on stress and not using hair products that are too strong.
  • For keeping the scalp moist, think about putting a humidifier in your room.

By doing these things, you'll likely see less itchiness, which is great for both sleeping better and having a healthier scalp itch.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Scalp

Keeping your scalp healthy is key to avoiding itchiness and making sure your hair stays in good shape. Here's how you can do it:

  • Make washing your hair a regular thing: This helps get rid of dirt, oil, and dead skin hanging around on your scalp. It stops buildup that could make things itchy.
  • Give your scalp a gentle scrub: Using a soft brush or scrub for the scalp can clear away any gunk and help keep blood flowing nicely.
  • Stay away from rough hair products: Stuff like sulfates or alcohol in shampoos can take away natural oils from the scalp, leading to dryness and more itching. Try using kinder products without sulfates instead.
  • Keep out of harsh sun rays: Your head needs protection too! A hat or some sunscreen will stop sunburns when you're outside enjoying the day.
  • Eat well for better health up top: Foods full of vitamins and minerals support a happy headspace. Think about adding more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean meats into what you eat daily.

By sticking with these suggestions, keeping off nighttime scalp itch becomes easier while ensuring overall scalp wellness against unwanted itchiness

Importance of Humidifiers and Hydration

Humidifiers are great for keeping your scalp in good shape, especially when the air is dry, like in winter or if you live somewhere that's naturally not very humid. They work by adding moisture to the air which helps, especially if your scalp only itches at night.

A clear humidifier emitting mist stands on a bedside table next to a person sleeping on a bed.

When there isn't enough humidity, your scalp can lose its moisture, leading to annoying issues like being all flaky and itchy. By having a humidifier running in your room where you sleep, you're making sure the space around you has enough moisture to help keep your scalp happy and healthy.

On top of using a humidifier, drinking plenty of water every day is key for a healthy scalp too. It keeps hydration levels up from inside your body which benefits not just your skin but also prevents scalp itch caused by dryness at night.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If none of the above suggestions seem to help, your dermatologist or other healthcare provider should be your next stop. They will listen closely to what’s going on with your skin and steer you towards the right treatment for that nagging itch on your scalp.

Identifying Symptoms That Require Professional Attention

Having an itchy scalp is pretty common and usually isn't something to worry about. But, there are a few signs that mean you should probably talk to a doctor. If your scalp itch just won't go away even after trying stuff from the store, or if it's so bad that you can't sleep or it messes with your day-to-day life, those are red flags.

Also, if you find head lice or their eggs in your hair, see any sores on your head, or have spots that hurt when touched – these could be clues of a head lice infestation. These tiny insects require professional attention.

A close up image of a head lice

By getting help from a healthcare provider for these symptoms early on, they can figure out what's causing the itchiness and get you started on the right treatment plan. Ignoring them might make things worse over time and harm the health of your scalp overall.

So don’t wait around; seeing a medical professional can really make a difference for problems like scalp itch.

A close-up view of a hand using a yellow and metal lice comb to part and check through dark hair on a scalp.

What to Expect During the Consultation

When you visit a healthcare professional regarding an itch on your head, they will take the time to thoroughly understand your symptoms. They will inquire about the duration and severity of the itch, any accompanying symptoms, and factors that seem to exacerbate or alleviate the condition.

By closely examining your scalp, they can assess the health of your skin and identify any signs that may indicate a more serious underlying issue. If necessary, they might recommend tests such as a skin biopsy or allergy testing to determine the exact cause of the itching.

Based on the information gathered from the consultation and examination, they will develop a personalized treatment plan to help alleviate your itchiness.


Nighttime scalp itch can be a persistent adversary in your quest for restful sleep, but armed with the knowledge from this guide, you're now better equipped to tackle this irritating issue head-on. From identifying the root causes to implementing effective solutions, you now have an arsenal of strategies at your disposal.

While lifestyle changes and home remedies can offer significant relief, sometimes you need a more powerful ally in your fight against scalp itch.

This is where Dermeleve® comes in. As a safer alternative to topical steroids, Dermeleve® offers fast-acting, long-lasting relief without the risks associated with prolonged steroid use. Its unique formula is designed to soothe itchy, irritated skin, potentially providing the nighttime comfort you need.

Don't you think it's time to scratch that itch and say goodbye to late-night scalp symphonies?

So, take action and give Dermeleve® a try today! 


What are the possible causes of scalp itching at night?

Possible causes of scalp itching at night include dry scalp, product buildup, allergies, eczema, psoriasis, stress, and even head lice. Using a gentle shampoo, maintaining scalp hygiene, avoiding allergens, and managing stress can help alleviate nighttime scalp itch.

We encourage you to take the next step in your journey towards itch-free nights by giving Dermeleve® a try. Its non-steroidal approach could be the game-changer you've been waiting for, offering fast and long lasting relief without compromising your long-term scalp health.

Remember, everyone's scalp is unique, and finding the right solution might take some time and patience. But with persistence and the right tools, like Dermeleve®, you can look forward to nights of uninterrupted, itch-free sleep.

Why does my scalp itch more at night?

Feeling your scalp itch more at night is pretty normal and happens for a few reasons. When we sleep, our body temperature goes up, hormones do their dance differently than during the day, and we might sweat more.

All of this can make our heads itchy. On top of that, if someone has existing skin issues like seborrheic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis, these conditions could be why they're noticing extra itchiness on their scalps after dark.

Can changing my diet improve scalp health?

Yes. Switching up what you eat can really do wonders for your scalp. When you make sure to get all the right stuff in your meals, like vitamins and minerals, it helps keep your scalp in good shape and cuts down on itchiness.

Including foods that are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics is a great move too because they work together to tackle any scalp problems and encourage hair to grow healthy.

Are there any quick fixes for sudden scalp itchiness?

If you're dealing with an itchy scalp all of a sudden, there are some easy home remedies that can help calm things down. By putting cold packs on the area or using creams and lotions made to stop itching, you might find some relief.

With ingredients like apple cider vinegar mixed with water for rinsing your scalp, itchiness can be eased off a bit.

Also, natural solutions such as tea tree oil and aloe vera gel are great for giving temporary comfort from that annoying itchiness on your scalp.

For fast acting and long lasting steroid-free itch relief, try Dermeleve® Scalp Serum!

How often should I wash my hair if I have a scalp condition?

How often you wash your hair really comes down to the type of scalp you have and how you take care of your hair overall. For a lot of us, cleaning our hair every other day works well to keep our scalp in good shape. On the other hand, people dealing with seborrheic dermatitis might need to wash their hair more often using special shampoos that a healthcare provider recommends.