What Causes itchy Scalp And How-to Get Rid Of It

An itchy scalp is something most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. We scratch it and then dismiss it from our minds. But what is actually causing the itching? Well, there are actually quite a few reasons your scalp could be calling attention to itself. Some of these issues are easy to put to an end. Others need a bit more care than you may realize. If you want to know what causes itchy scalp and how to get rid of it, no matter how in depth the solution is, keep reading!

What Causes an Itchy Scalp?

#1 – Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis:


When it comes to an itchy scalp, these two are the usual culprits. This is because of the yeast that’s found on the scalp and anywhere else on your body that has hair. If the yeast is overgrown, this causes inflammation which then leads to itching. Other symptoms of these issues are redness and the obvious flaking.

#2 – Scalp Psoriasis:


Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects more than just the scalp. It is a hereditary issue, but even medical experts are not sure where exactly it comes from. What’s strange is that at least 10% of the people who inherit these genes could develop it, but only 2-3% actually do. Those with psoriasis have the itching, as well as some scaly patches on their skin. These areas are usually reddish in color and raised above your normal skin, making it easy to notice.

#3 – Eczema:


Another skin condition that can cause your scalp to itch is eczema. Like scalp psoriasis, the cause of this issue is unknown. What we are aware of is that it most commonly affects babies and children, but can be an issue for those of all ages. Though it may be hard to do, if eczema is the cause of your itchy scalp, you need to refrain from scratching it. This makes the condition worse. Stressful situations can also cause it to flare up and become almost unbearable.

#4 – Tinea Capitis:


This is a fungal infection that most people know as ringworm of the scalp. It occurs when the fungus works its way deep into the hair follicle. This then turns into round patches of hair loss. In these patches, a raised rash will appear, possibly with black dots or stubble within this area. Tinea capitis usually follows minor scalp issues. Other causes are improper hygiene, sweating, or long periods of wet skin. Those with ringworm must be extra careful since it can spread quite easily. Skin contact or sharing brushes, hats, or other clothing can transfer it to other people. Though common in children, it usually it’s rare for anyone who is beyond puberty.

#5 – Head Lice:


If you have a child in daycare or school, you have probably had a head lice scare, either in your house or in their class. But head lice doesn’t pick the young ones, they’ll inhabit any hair they can get to. And though you may associate lice with bad hygiene, the cleaner your hair is, the happier they are. Head lice look a bit like dandruff, but the nits, or eggs, are not as easily brushed off. The adults are harder to see. The itching they cause isn’t from their little legs wandering around your head. It’s actually caused by an allergic reaction to their saliva. You may not even notice they are there for the first few weeks after the infestation has occurred. But once they start feeding, you’ll be scratching like crazy.

#6 – Allergic Reaction:

allergic reaction

Allergic reactions can happen from a wide variety of sources. The food you eat is one of the most common. Allergies could come from processed sugar, soy products, peanuts, fruits, and vegetables. Many of these cause inflammation, rashes, and of course itching after a few bites. Sometimes even being near them can cause a reaction. Other causes can be shampoos, styling products, and hair dyes. These products all contain chemicals that could cause a negative reaction. This is called contact dermatitis. If you notice uncomfortable itching after using a new product, switch it out ASAP.

#7 – Dry Skin:

dry skin

Dry skin can create tight, itchy skin that starts to flake if left untreated. Though more common in the winter when you’re surrounded by cold weather and dry heaters, it can happen at any time.

#8 – Product Buildup:


Hair products are great for styling and moisturizing, but over time can cause buildup. This shouldn’t really be a surprise since styling products cling to your hair to hold your style in place. But even the shampoos you use leave buildup behind. There are two reasons for this. The first is that they aren’t strong enough to remove those sticky styling gels and sprays. Regular shampoos also leave behind their own residue while they wash away the dirt and oil. Conditioners can also add to the problem.Even the dirt and particles floating in the air around you can add to this problem. And when the buildup gets too thick, the itching begins.

#9 – Lack of Exfoliation:

lack of exfoliation

Dead skin cells don’t just clog the pores on your face, they can also affect your scalp. This can cause itching on its own, or if left untreated, add to the buildup your products are leaving behind. That’s why it is so important to exfoliate your hair while you are shampooing. This will prevent troublesome itching from occurring in the first place.

Treatments and Remedies for Itchy Scalp

#1 – Medicated Shampoo:

medicated shampoo

Using a medicated shampoo is usually the best treatment for skin conditions. But you can’t just pick any shampoo and trust it to work for all of them. Each condition requires a different active ingredient to be effective. If dandruff is the problem, you can try an over-the-counter shampoo. These will contain either selenium or zinc pyrithione. If your case is more serious, you may need to speak with your doctor for a stronger product. A prescription-strength antifungal shampoo may a better choice. Your doctor may also suggest a topical cortisone. Medicated foams, creams, ointments or solutions are also an option. For psoriasis, you could try an OTC shampoo that contains salicylic acid or coal tar. Ringworm also needs an antifungal product, though to treat the scalp, this will be given to you in pill form. Head lice need an OTC shampoo that contains pyrethrin or permethrin. These are insecticides that will kill off the bugs.

#2 – Avoid Allergens:

avoid allergens

If the foods you’re eating are causing inflammation and itching, avoid them at all costs. Instead, fill your diet with healthy anti-fungal foods. These include bananas, garlic, coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar. If your hair care products are the cause of the problem, switch them out to safer, organic types. These will contain little to no chemicals and still leave your hair looking and feeling its best.

#3 – Clarifying Shampoo:

clarifying shampoo

When buildup is the problem, a clarifying shampoo is one of the best treatments. It will clear away all those dead skin cells, dirt, oil, and residue that’s clogging up your follicles. You only need to use them once or twice a month, depending on how often you use your styling products. This will also help your regular shampoo work better. Less buildup means it will be able to reach your scalp and every strand of hair for a more effective clean.

#4 – Baking Soda:


Baking soda is a natural remedy for cleansing your hair. It not only clears away the buildup, but it can also exfoliate your scalp. All you need to do is make a paste with baking soda and water. Then apply it, rub it into your scalp and hair, and then rinse it out. Be sure to wash every bit of it away. Then turn on the cold water to close the cuticle so you don’t lose any more moisture.

#5 – Apple Cider Vinegar:


Apple cider vinegar is an anti-inflammatory that can halt the overproduction of yeast. It can also kill off any virus that is causing your itching. ACV balances the pH level of your hair and scalp as well, which will help prevent dryness. All you need to do is mix a bit of it with some water. Apply it directly onto your scalp using cotton balls or a spray bottle. Let it soak in for a few minutes and then rinse using your regular shampoo. If you do this once or twice each week, your itching will no longer be an issue.

#6 – Tea Tree Oil:


Tea tree oil is another natural treatment for a few different scalp issues. It is an antioxidant and an antimicrobial. This helps it fight bacteria, fungus, and viruses that may be plaguing you. It can also reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process. Itching related to seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff can benefit from this. A shampoo containing tea tree oil can help treat these issues. Or you can add a few drops of tea tree oil to your own regular brand for the same effect.

#7 – Lemon Juice:

lemon juice

Lemon juice is a powerful antiseptic. This makes it another good remedy for itching and flakes. It is also easy to use to cleanse away those irritating issues and prevent scratching. You can apply the fresh lemon juice over your scalp and let it soak in. If there is itching but no dandruff, it is best to dilute it first. You can also mix it with some yogurt before rubbing it into your scalp. This mixture is safe enough to use every day until your head is healthy and moisturized.

#8 – Aloe Vera:


There is a reason why so many people recommend using Aloe Vera gel after too much sun. Not only will it soothe the area, cooling it off, but it also rehydrates your skin. When used on your itchy scalp, it will have the same effect, relieving the dryness causing all the trouble. If you have an Aloe Vera plant at home, you can break one of the leaves and apply the fresh gel to your scalp. For those without one of these healthy plants close at hand, it is available to buy from your local pharmacy. After 10 or 15 minutes, you can wash your hair with a mild shampoo. After a few treatments, your itchy scalp will be a thing of the past.

#9 – Hair and Scalp Masks:

hair and scalp mask

A hair and scalp mask can moisturize your hair while it heals your scalp. There is a wide variety of them for sale that you can use once a week to keep your scalp feeling great. If you prefer to go the natural route, there are a few foods that may be already in your kitchen you can use for a DIY mask. For instance, combining a banana, an avocado, and some honey is a great option. They all have amazing benefits, though the honey is best of all. It has been used for centuries to treat wounds, fight bacteria and reduce fungus. Plus this mask will smell fantastic.

#10 – Keep Your Tools Clean:

clean hair tools

If your skin condition happens to be contagious, clean tools is a must. This includes brushes, combs, hair dryer attachments, and straightening irons. As well as sanitizing these items often, you also need to keep your hair clean. This can reduce issues such as ringworm. It is also not a good idea to share your tools or any clothing that may have come in contact with your head with others. Be sure to discuss this with your children. It’s much better for them to be aware of the risks than to bring home a head full of lice.

Itchy Scalp Final Thoughts

There’s nothing worse than finishing the perfect style only to ruin it with a rough scratch. Not only does this mean you have to recreate it, but it’s annoying to feel that itching and not know what’s causing it. That’s why having a list like the one above is so important, to keep your scalp healthy and feeling wonderful. Other treatments you found that work for your troublesome head is also welcome. If you are looking for more hair care articles check out our hair care buyer’s guides.