Facebook Twitter instagram Youtube

Itchy Scalp: 8 Reasons and Treatment For This Skin Problem

The scalp is the area bordered by the face at one end and the neck on another. It is common to have a little scratch or and is generally not something one should be worried about. But sometimes, an itchy scalp might hide something deeper that might need a doctor’s help.

Arm yourself with the knowledge to know when medical intervention is necessary:

  1. Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis:

    When a dry and itchy scalp combined with flakes on your hair or clothing, you may have dandruff. If they are white, it is common dandruff which can be treated by a good OTC anti-dandruff shampoo. However, if the flakes are yellow, you might still need to use an anti-dandruff shampoo but show it to a doctor. This is so because there might be a larger neurological condition or a fungal infection.
  2. Hives or Urticaria: 

    Sometimes the skin suddenly breaks into swollen, red bumps, as a reaction to an allergen. These are called Hives and they can form anywhere on the skin. They can go on their own but if they continue beyond 4 to 6 weeks, consult a doctor who might prescribe a histamine for temporary relief.
  3. Head lice:

    This is one of the most common reasons and very contagious. It is also easy to solve, using an anti-lice shampoo. You can ask a friend or family member to carefully check your scalp and hair for signs of nits or lice.
  4. Scabies:

    Scabies is caused by a tiny bug called the Sarcoptes scabiei. Itching is the most common symptom and it intensifies at night. It is usually not that common on the scalp for adults but children can get it. Your doctor might recommend a mildly medicated shampoo with permethrin lotion.
  5. Tinea capitis:

    Also known as ringworm of the scalp, it is a superficial fungal infection. It can be found on the scalp and hair shafts, causing small patches of itchy, scaly skin. The dermatologist’s treatment will involve antifungal medication and medicated shampoo.
  6. Scalp psoriasis:

    Scalp Psoriasis makes reddish patches on the skin, that may crack and sometimes bleed. It is not contagious but the scalp is an area where it is commonly found. Your doctor will first recommend topical treatments and if they do not get resolved, some other therapy or injections might be required.
  7. Atopic dermatitis:

    Commonly known as Eczema, and you might see redness and scales on your scalp. Children are more prone to it, especially infants. An illness, hormonal changes, exposure to some chemicals and other such external factors usually bring this about and you should always consult a dermatologist.
  8. Alopecia:

    This is not an infection or superficial condition but an autoimmune disorder. The main symptom is hair loss in patches but scalp itching and tingling are also symptoms. There is no cure for it but certain oral steroids help manage it better.
Medanta Medical Team
Back to top