Symptoms and Treatment

Itchy Scalps Symptoms, Causes and Treatment by Mobidoctor Online GP

 

Many people love guessing the reasons behind their own itchy scalps. Those who aren’t well-versed in the medical field believe that their itchy scalp is due to an allergy or a haircare practice gone wrong. There are lots of theories stemming out from myths about itchy scalp.

 

The best way to pinpoint your exact diagnosis on why your scalp is itchy is to consult the matter with a trained physician. Doctors can assess your scalp and provide you accurate medical reasons behind your itching scalp. They can also recommend treatment plans and practical advice based on facts to help you heal your scalp effectively.

Common Reasons for an Itchy Scalp Dandruff

Dandruff can truly cause bothersome itching in the scalp. This condition creates noticeable white flakes as you scratch your scalp. The more you scratch your head, the worse your dandruff is going to be.

 

Dandruff is naturally embarrassing due to the itch and flakes that come with it. Your scalp skin may also become scaly and crusty after prolonged periods of having the condition. This becomes uncomfortable and unhygienic as days pass by. You need to have your dandruff checked by a doctor in order to get appropriate treatment.

What Causes Dandruff?

Dandruff happens when old, dead skin cells get piled up on your scalp due to a rapid renewal of your skin cells. The crusting and flaking associated with dandruff are basically those dead skin cells getting out of your scalp.

 

Dandruff can occur as part of other skin disorders such as dermatitis, psoriasis, or eczema. If you’re not suffering from these skin disorders, other factors to consider in getting dandruff could be too much and too little washing of hair. Getting your hair washed often can irritate the scalp and trigger a dandruff episode, while not washing your hair enough may bring on the pile of dead skin cells on your head, causing another dandruff episode.

 

Other possible dandruff triggers include hair products and its buildup on the scalp, exposure to too much heat and cold, and prolonged stress.

How is Dandruff Treated?

Anti-dandruff hair products are the first line of remedies used to treat the condition. The market is overflowing with such products, so seeking the recommendation of your physician is the best bet in choosing the right product.

 

If it’s a hair product causing your dandruff flare-ups, consider stopping its use and reassess the state of your hair once it’s gone. Stopping the use of several hair care products also gives your anti-dandruff shampoo more space to work.

 

Your hair washing technique may also be the culprit. Stop digging your fingernails into your scalps as you wash. Also, leave your shampoo on your scalp for at least five minutes to work its way through the scalp before you rinse.

 

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a condition that makes the skin dry, flaky, and reddish. It primarily affects the skin on your scalp. The condition may cause itchy scalp accompanied by soreness, cracking, or bleeding. In extreme cases, patients with psoriasis also suffer from a temporary hair loss, with hair fall occurring in patches across the entire head.

What Causes Psoriasis?

Patients with psoriasis have a rapid replacement of skin cells, just like in dandruff. It takes only days for psoriasis patients to create new skin cells that could have normally taken up to a month to happen.

 

But unlike dandruff, this rapid creation of new cells and piling up of dead skin cells is the product of a problem in the immune system. Cells that typically fight bacteria attack the scalp’s healthy cells instead, triggering the scalp’s skin to shed old cells fast and produce a new layer of cells earlier.

 

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that can be passed on from parents to children genetically. Stress, smoking, alcohol intake, and tiny injuries to the scalp such as cuts or grazes prove to be triggers in causing an itching episode.

Treating and Managing Psoriasis

Speaking with a doctor ensures that a carefully-created treatment plan will pinpoint your psoriasis and effectively stop its symptoms. You may get one or a combination of the following remedies:

 

Ointments and creams to heal the scalp

Exposure to light through a process called phototherapy

Oral tablets and injectable medications as a last resort due to its unpleasant side effects

 

Your physician will typically provide you a referral to a specialist dermatologist for a more in-depth treatment plan.

Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition that causes dry, red, itchy, and cracked skin to appear in various parts of the body, including the scalp. It’s a common condition often experienced by children, though adults may also get it.

 

Itching can go from mild to worse in severity. But the itchier your scalp gets, the more it becomes prone to complications such as oozing, cracking, crusting, and soreness.

What Causes Eczema?

Eczema is a hereditary condition that runs in families. It’s also fairly common in people with extremely dry skin.

 

There are lots of triggering factors for eczema, including the following:

 

How can you treat Eczema?

Identifying a triggering factor and removing it from your lifestyle is the most practical way to avoid eczema flare-ups. For instance, you can avoid excessive heat or cold temperatures, stop wearing clothing made of a particular material, or find ways to calm yourself down during especially stressful situations.

 

Doctors often recommend creams or moisturisers that help hydrate your dry skin and stop the itching from occurring.

Head Lice

Head lice infestation can occur in people of all ages. But the condition is typically seen and associated with young children. Lice and their eggs are visibly seen through the hair, and the itching that comes with this condition is due to the actual crawling of the lice on your scalp.

How do you catch head lice?

Head lice are passed on via physical contact with an infected person. It can be passed around via head-to-head contact or sharing of hair accessories and combs. Physical contact is needed because head lice can’t fly.

 

Popular beliefs dictate that head lice infestation is due to unhygienic practices or a lice’s preferences in clean or dirty hair. All these beliefs are false since lice can transfer to anyone who came into contact with an infected person’s head, comb, or hair accessories, regardless of the current state of their hair and scalp.

How do you deal with them?

Special nit combs are used to detect and remove lice from the hair and scalp. These combs are finely-toothed and must be run through the scalp and hair in order to effectively remove lice and their eggs.

 

Doctors often prescribe special anti-lice shampoos in conjunction with other treatments. These shampoos are often used daily: twice per day, in a one-week treatment duration. This is because lice eggs may take up to a week to hatch, so it is important to follow a week-long treatment plan with the shampoo in order to completely eliminate all traces of lice and their eggs.

Got more questions? Consult a doctor today.

Itchy scalp can have several possible causes, as you’ve seen from the explanations above. It’s best to consult a physician from Mobidoctor to help you pinpoint the cause of your itchy scalp. Knowing your exact diagnosis will guide you in treating your itchy scalp condition effectively.