Itchy Scalp? Here’s Why You’re Scratching Like Crazy

Itchy Scalp? Here’s Why You’re Scratching Like Crazy

If there’s one word that describes an itchy scalp, it has to be the word “annoying.” You cold say that the problem is a real head scratcher! While many people attribute common itchiness to dandruff, that may not be the only reason for scalp irritation. It’s very possible that fungal infections like ringworm or types of inflammation are to blame. The main objective is to stop the itch, but you have to know what the cause is in order to remedy the problem. 

Itchy scalp is very common, so please don’t think that you’re alone if you experience this. More often than not, the causes are fairly harmless and you can address the issue. Occasionally, experts may not be able to diagnose the problem immediately. Understanding the symptoms and monitoring when they first occurred, however, can help determine the cause. Continue reading to learn about common causes that trigger itchy scalp. 


Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that causes raised, red, scaly patches on the skin. Occasionally, they can also occur on the scalp, resulting in intense itching. If psoriasis is the culprit, the itching will most likely be concentrated in one area. If you notice scaly, red patches then you can identify the problem. People with psoriasis can often benefit from discussing the issue with a dermatologist, as over-the-counter shampoos may be necessary. 


Dandruff affects about 50% of Americans and there are some telltale signs that indicate this condition. If you experience dry, itchy scalp with white flakes, you know that dandruff is the cause. A yeast-like fungus, Malassezia, is the common cause of dandruff, but hair products are occasionally to blame. Yeast naturally lives on the scalp, but problems arise when too much yeast exists. Although there are many over-the-counter shampoos and regular anti-dandruff shampoos, you can also experiment with natural remedies. Click here to learn about natural remedies for dandruff. 

Head Lice

People think that lice can only occur in children, or that they only get them in school. As it turns out, lice can creepy crawl their way onto anyone’s scalp. Lice love clean hair, contradicting the belief that they only occur in people with poor hygiene. If you look closely near the scalp, you can typically see tiny eggs on individual hair strands. They look similar to dandruff flakes, but they differ in that they adhere to the strands. Sometimes, you can see lice moving around the head, but they are difficult to spot. You have to carefully comb them out of the hair with a special comb before using a shampoo that contains pyrethrins/pyrethrum. This compound works to get rid of lice by attacking their nervous system, not your nervous system.

Contact Dermatitis

People who are sensitive or allergic to certain materials can easily develop contact dermatitis. Latex, nickel, or certain types of makeup can easily irritate the skin and cause a rash or itchy, inflamed skin. When it comes to itchy scalp, however, most dermatologists agree that the culprit is paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is an ingredient in some hair dyes. When you stop using the material that causes the irritation, things typically clear up. If the problem persists, you may need to talk with a doctor or dermatologist. 


Ringworm, Tinea wapitis, is a common fungus that can infect the scalp and other parts of the body. It extends deep into the hair follicle and causes round patches that can increase in size over time. The rash is commonly itchy and can appear raised or stubbly. If ringworm is the cause of itchy scalp the fix often comes in the form of some anti-fungal medication. Because the organism goes into the hair follicle, anti-fungal medications that you take orally will resolve the issue. Before prescribing the medication, a doctor will have to determine if ringworm is the actual cause. 

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