Having a little itch here and there is certainly nothing you should worry about, but when the itching is continuous, it could be a source of concern.
Psoriasis or eczema
An itchy scalp an also be caused by inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. These conditions arise when your immune system gets “angry” at your skin, leading to red, flaky, itchy patches.
Psoriasis is usually thicker and red as opposed to dandruff but it can be treated the same way dandruff is treated. For both eczema and psoriasis, topical steroids, coal tar, salicylic acid, phototherapy, and immunomodulatory agents are solutions to use.
The itching is a symptom, not a condition
When you itch by raking your fingernails across your scalp more than a few times so much so that you know that once you start, you find it difficult to stop. Once you get into the itch-scratch-itch cycle, it’s difficult to get out of it.
It is annoying when your head itches not only because it’s so hard not to scratch, but also because it’s usually a symptom of something else. So what does it mean when your head itches?
There are many reasons why your head itches and here are five reasons your scalp itches.
If you have children and you find yourself asking, “Why does my scalp itch?” You probably have head lice. Head lice are tiny bugs that attach themselves to the hair and they can be seen in the form of eggs (nits), along the hair shaft.
Although the nits can be confused with dandruff, you can’t miss seeing an adult lice moving around your head, that’s unmistakable. You can use physical methods to remove the lice or try natural lice shampoos or removers.
You may however need to eradicate a lice infestation with actual insecticide like pyrethrin and permethrin, depending on resistance patterns in your area. Shaving the head is another easy solution for boys.
Scabies can cause itching not just on the scalp but also on the entire body and are an infestation of the “human itch mite” (aka sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis).
The adult female scabies mites burrow into the upper layer of the skin, where they live and deposit their eggs. The microscopic scabies mite almost always gets passed along by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who is already infested.
Scabies in adults can be acquired sexually, even though it can also be spread without sexual contact in crowded conditions, including households, nursing homes, child-care facilities, and prisons.
If you are having unexplained scalp itch, then dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis could be responsible. It is considered a severe form of dandruff caused by an overreaction the body has to normal yeast that lives on the skin.
Dandruff affects about 40 percent of people, and tends to come and go during one’s lifetime. It has been linked to weather changes, stress, and increased sugar in the diet.
Products containing the active ingredient, salicylic acid (such as Neutrogena Shampoo) and products containing anti-fungals such as Ketoconazole or Selenium Sulfide havw been found to be effective. Natural remedies for dandruff include tea tree oil. And a product called Scalpicin can help decrease itching.
If you recently dyed your hair, your continuous hair itch could be as a result of an allergy to the dye. If the hair colour is temporary or semi-permanent it can be washed out, but if it’s a permanent dye, it can be more difficult.
To identify the product or ingredient responsible, try using one product at a time for a week at a time, rather than combining many at the same time.