Finding Relief for Your Itchy Scalp

ItchingAn itchy scalp can be frustrating and even embarrassing to deal with. Sometimes the discomforting itch can bring signs of scabbed or flaking skin. Other times, you don’t have any visible signs, but you’re stuck with an itch that won’t stop. While this condition isn’t anything severe, it could, however, be a symptom of an underlying condition. So, in order to find an itchy scalp treatment that works, you need to find out what is causing you to scratch.

Itchy Skin Causes

What is the problem behind your itchy skin? It could depend on the weather, your lifestyle, and even your health. Finding out what is causing your itchy scalp will help you treat and prevent it.

  • Dandruff is the most common cause of itchy scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis, better known as dandruff, happens when the oil-secreting glands in the scalp and face become inflamed. Infants can also get this condition that is usually called a cradle cap.
  • Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, but it is also common in the scalp. About 50% of people with plaque psoriasis report flair-ups happening on the scalp.
  • Dry scalp can cause itching, especially in the winter. You’ve probably noticed how dry your skin gets when it becomes colder. That’s because your skin needs more moisture, and the same happens to your scalp too.

Here are some underlying health issues that could also be the cause of itchy scalp

  • Diabetes
  • Shingles
  • Allergic reactions to medications
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Discoid lupus
  • Head lice
  • Hair loss due to frequent heat styling
  • Migraine headaches
  • Scalp psoriasis
  • Scarring alopecia
  • Ringworm, or tinea capitis

Itchy Scalp Symptoms

An itchy scalp can feel tingly or could be painful. Scratching or itching the area could help you feel some relief, or in some cases, it could cause pain. Your symptoms will depend on what is causing your scalp to itch and how bad it is.

Dandruff symptoms

  • Itching
  • Flaking
  • Reddened skin
  • Yellow or white scales

Signs of an allergic reaction

  • Hives
  • Itching or burning sensation

Symptoms of psoriasis on the scalp

  • Raised rough patches
  • Patches may crack or burn

Here are some things that can happen if the area is scratched too much

  • Bald patches
  • Dry skin
  • Irritated skin
  • Low-grade fever
  • Pus-filled sores
  • Redness
  • Scales or patches on the scalp
  • Scalp swelling
  • Sores on the scalp

When Should I Get Help for My Itchy Scalp?

You should see your doctor if your itchiness doesn’t go away in a few days or if you experience hair loss, pain, sores, or intense itching. If you have a medical condition like a fungal infection or lice, your itchy scalp won’t go away without medical treatment. So, you’ll have to see a doctor right away for treatment.

No matter your symptoms, it’s always safe to seek medical advice before trying to treat the issue on your own. In most cases, your doctor can diagnose your itchy scalp with a physical exam and by reviewing your medical history. If a closer examination is needed, your doctor may have to scrap your scalp and send the cells to the lab for testing.

Itchy Scalp Treatment

Your scalp’s itching treatment will depend on its cause. If your scalp issues are from an allergic reaction, this can easily get better if you stop using the product. But, in some cases, your scalp condition may require a prescription or something over the counter.

Here are some ways dandruff can be treated

  • Antifungal creams
  • Keratolytics, such as salicylic acid or coal tar
  • Pyrithione zinc
  • Topical steroids

Treating itchy scalp due to lice

  • Hair will need to be washed with medicine that kills lice
  • A fine-tooth comb will have to be used to remove the lice eggs
  • All clothes, bedding, and towels will have to be washed in hot water to kill the lice

Not all treatment options can be listed here. The best way to treat your itchy scalp is to find out what is causing it by having a medical professional look at it. A treatment plan can be decided on after you find out what is causing your itching.

How Can I Prevent Itchy Scalp?

If you are having persistent problems with a dry, itchy scalp, then you will want to see a board-certified dermatologist. However, there are some things you can try at home to help prevent itchy scalp:

Haircare for preventing itchy scalp:

  • Wash hair regularly to remove built-up oils
  • Wash your hair in warm water, not water that is excessively hot
  • Avoid products containing dyes, fragrances, and chemicals

Avoid physical contact with people who have head lice and do not share brushes, combs, etc.

Treat Your Itchy Scalp at Winston Salem Dermatology

If you are tired of an itchy scalp causing you to constantly scratch your head, then you’ve come to the right place. Our skin experts specialize in skin conditions and want to help you. We can diagnose your itchy skin and scalp and find the best treatment possible. We don’t want you to just look your best, we also want you to feel your best. Let us take a look at your problem so that we can have you feeling your best again in no time! So, stop scratching your head today and make an appointment at Winston Salem Dermatology. Give us a call at (336) 774-8636 or stop by our office.