Sometimes people suddenly started to feel an itchy scalp and scratch their head, and it itches a lot, that’s a sign of scalp.
We will discuss the scalp, its symptoms, causes, and what complications can occur due to the scalp, and in the last, I will tell you some tips and home remedies that will effectively work to reduce the scalp.
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So let’s start our journey:
An itchy scalp can be a real head-scratcher, both literally and figuratively.
Many factors can cause your head to itch, and pinpointing the actual culprit is not always an easy task. Some conditions cause an irritating tingling sensation, while others can feel like your scalp is on fire.
It is a common condition. One study found 25% of participants reported an itchy scalp.
What is an itchy scalp
It is also known as “Scalp pruritus”.
Scalp pruritus is a common complaint that is considered a diagnostically and therapeutically challenging situation. Particularly when no other body part itches and no detectable lesion is seen.
“An itchy scalp is an inflammatory reaction of the skin underneath the hair on your head”
An itchy scalp may or may not be associated with a visible rash or broken skin.
In some cases, an itchy scalp can begin suddenly and disappear quickly by itself or with minimal treatment, such as a mild allergic reaction or sensitivity to a new hair product. An itchy scalp can also occur over a relatively long period of time, such as when itching is due to scalp psoriasis.
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Symptoms of itchy scalp
The symptoms that accompany an itchy scalp can help individuals and healthcare providers determine the trigger. In turn, this can point the way toward likely treatment options.
An itchy scalp may occur with other scalp and skin-related symptoms including;-
- Cracked skin on the scalp or skin
- Hair loss and thinning hair
- Itchy elbows and knees
- Pimples or small pustules
- Rash or marks on the skin
- Redness, irritation, or inflammation
- Scaling, flaking, or cracking of the skin
- Skin discoloration
- Sores or lesions from scratching
- Tiny white specs at the base of the hair (lice eggs, nits) or small moving parasites in the hair, eyebrows, or eyelashes (head lice)
- Flakes:- When they appear in the hair or on clothing, these are signs of dandruff.
- Interruption in sleeping:- Usually due to head lice or scabies and lice produce an itching sensation on the head which interrupts sleep.
- Hives:- People with hives on their scalps often have them elsewhere on their bodies. Hives can be anywhere in the body.
- Dry, red scalp:- It can be a sign of atopic dermatitis.
- Red rash, pus-filled bumps, and hair loss:- These can be signs of ringworm, especially if they all occur at the same time.
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Other symptoms that may occur along with an itchy scalp
An itchy scalp may occur with symptoms related to body systems other than the skin and scalp including;-
- Cold skin and poor toleration of the cold
- Decreased appetite
- Flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches, and pains)
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Poor concentration and memory problems
- Problems with the nails, such as yellowing or pitting, or brittle nails
- Red, watery, itchy eyes
- Sneezing and runny nose
- Stress and anxiety
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
Causes of itchy scalp
The most common cause of an itchy scalp is dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis, which is believed to be caused by a combination of oily skin and overgrowth of yeast. Environmental and lifestyle factors, such as hair products, acne, stress, and obesity, appear to increase the risk of developing seborrheic dermatitis.
Many other disorders and conditions can lead to an itchy scalp, including inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, infection, allergies, and head lice. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disorder caused by a problem with your immune system, but the exact cause is not known. Bacteria and yeast can infect the skin and hair follicles on your scalp, leading to an intense itch-scratch cycle.
Head lice are tiny insects that feed on blood and lay their eggs on the scalp. Head lice do not lead to serious medical problems, although they are extremely contagious and cause intense itching, which may lead to skin breakdown and possible secondary bacterial infections.
An itchy scalp can also be caused by an allergy or sensitivity to hair products, including hair dye and other chemicals.
Got an itch on your head that you just can’t scratch? If those prickles and tingles go way beyond what feels normal, you might be wondering what’s to blame. Is it an allergy? An infection? Something even more serious?
Luckily, an itchy scalp is super common and typically has a pretty harmless cause that you can easily take care of. Here, are the most likely causes of scalp itch, according to dermatologists, and what to do about it so you can stop scratching for good.
Possible causes of itchy scalp
An itchy scalp may be caused by a variety of different skin disorders and infections including;-
- Dandruff:- your scalp is dry and itchy and you see flakes on your hair or clothing, you may have dandruff.
Researchers Source consider dandruff when the scalp becomes so dry, it starts to itch and flake off to be a mild form of seborrhea dermatitis.
Dandruff has three following main causes
- an oily scalp (not a dry one)
- a buildup of dead skin or styling product
- A yeast-like fungus called Malassezia.
- Allergic reaction:- When people do not rinse out the shampoo when washing their hair, it can collect on the scalp and cause itching and flaking.
Ingredients in some hair products can prompt an allergic reaction
The allergen is often a fragrance, or a moisturizing agent called propylene glycon
- Psoriasis:- About 50% of people who have plaque psoriasis on their bodies also develop symptoms on their scalp.
Your itch is just in one spot, and you have raised, scaly patches.
This is an autoimmune condition and it runs in families, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Things like stress, an infection, some medications, and cold, dry weather can trigger flares, though.
- Hives:- Red, itchy spots where the skin is raised.
It’s usually linked to an allergic reaction to something, like your shampoo or a product you used.
- Lice:- Lice create an itchy feeling that can be all over your head. You may also see the eggs of the parasites along your hair shaft (they can look like grains of rice).
You get head lice from coming into contact with someone who has the condition, or from sharing things that they’ve used, like a hat, comb, or brush.
In some cases, an itchy scalp can lead to complications, especially if there is severe scratching that leads to the breakdown of the skin of the scalp. Scratching can introduce bacteria or fungus into the layers of skin on the scalp, resulting in infections. Complications include;-
- Cellulitis (infection of the skin and surrounding tissues caused by a growing bacterial or fungal infection)
- Hair loss, thinning hair, or bald patches
- Open sores and lesions
Tips to prevent itchy scalp
There are certain simple tips that can be useful to prevent an itchy scalp;-
- Low hair’s natural oils build up and moisturize the scalp. When you shampoo, use gentle products, such as baby formulas and those specifically formulated for people with sensitive skin.
- Use fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products, and avoid those with sodium lauryl sulfate, a harsh detergent that many find irritating.
- Always use a conditioner, which will help to replenish and hydrate the scalp. You can also try deep conditioning or hot oil treatment to soothe the scalp.
- Use OTC or anti-inflammatory or antihistamine ointments recommended by a dermatologist to soothe symptoms of eczema, until your stress levels have come down.
- You can treat mild cases of psoriasis with medicated shampoos and other products containing salicylic acid, which help to slough off excess cells that build up and cause scaling.
- Avoid scratching or picking at your scalp, and be gentle when shampooing, towel drying, and brushing or combing the hair.
Home remedies for itchy scalp
There are the following home remedies that can be helpful to prevent an itchy scalp;-
Baking soda for itchy scalp
Baking soda has both antifungal and antibacterial properties that help in killing the bacteria causing infection, hair fall, or itchiness.
Ways to use baking soda:- Take, 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda and water. Take a bowl and add both ingredients to it. Mix it until the consistency becomes like a thick paste.
Take the paste and spread it over your scalp for 10 to 15 minutes. After completing 15 minutes, you can wash your hair with regular shampoo.
Olive oil for itchy scalp
It has anti-inflammatory and skin-protecting agents which help in healing itchiness or infection on the scalp.
Ways to use olive oil:- Heat organic olive oil for around 7 seconds in the microwave and apply it all over your head. Leave it overnight and rinse it in the morning.
Dose:- Use olive oil on the scalp twice a week.
Tea tree oil on itchy scalp
Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which help in treating itchiness by moisturizing and nourishing the scalp.
Ways to use tea tree oil:- Take 5-7 drops of oil and apply it directly on the scalp. Massage it thoroughly for a few minutes and leave it overnight.
Coconut oil on the scalp
Coconut is loaded with antifungal properties that can treat itchiness and fungal infections to a great extent. Oiling the hair with coconut oil can help balance moisture.
Ways to use Coconut oil:- Take the coconut oil and warm it for 10 seconds. Apply it over your head and allow it to stay for 15 minutes. Rinse off once it’s done.
Aloe Vera for hairs
Aloe vera gel is a natural moisturizer and helps in treating an itchy scalp because of its anti-microbial and soothing properties.
Ways to use Aloe Vera:- Take organic aloe vera gel and apply it directly to your scalp. Leave it for 15-20 minutes and wash it with lukewarm water.
Dose:- Repeat this twice a week to see better results.
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