Itchy Scalp – Causes, Dandruff, Dry, Sore, Remedy, & Treatment

Do you endure very itchy scalp? Itchy scalp is a really exasperating and frustrating condition. In certain circumstances, itchy scalp emerges alongside severe symptoms. Any mild scalp itch should, therefore, be highly considered. Explore itchy scalp causes, symptoms, remedies, treatments and more.

There is wide range of reasons for itchy scalp (scalp pruritus) and thus, it is very vital to know the underlying cause of your itchy head. This would define the right and proper itchy scalp treatment. See the common itchy head causes below:

Itchy Scalp Causes

Numerous reasons would make you want to scratch your scalp. Itching can occur anywhere in the body including the scalp. Itching in a certain location can be due to something happening in that specific area or due to systemic causes. This may result in symptoms ranging from mild to moderate to severe. Common itchy scalp causes include:

1.   Itchy Scalp Dandruff

The major cause of itchy scalp is dandruff or what is referred to as seborrheic dermatitis. If this occurs in babies, it will be called cradle cap. The exact cause of dandruff is not known but medical experts link it with inflamed sebaceous glands, hormonal shifts, and yeast overgrowth.

If the sebaceous glands on the scalp are inflamed, they would produce excess sebum that would trigger itchy scalp and dandruff. There are many scalp treatment for dandruff that you can apply to relieve itchy scalp. However, the first step is to know the exact cause of the concerned itchy scalp. Itchy scalp no dandruff condition is also very common.

Besides scalp dandruff, there are many other reasons for the itchy head, see the section below.

2.   Dry Itchy Scalp

You can also experience itchy scalp if your scalp is barely dry. There are many conditions that can dehydrate your scalp. Let`s explore dry scalp causes below:

  • Indoor heating system
  • Weather conditions such as cold, dry or hot weather
  • Accumulation of skin care products and cosmetics
  • Certain medications
  • Prolonged exposure to sun

Best dry scalp treatment should, therefore, focus on enhancing average the production of sebum and also moistening the dry scalp skin. There are many dry scalp itch treatment that we will discuss shortly in this article.

3.   Allergic Reaction

Itchy scalp can also be is a sign of allergic reaction. This is the response to various allergens including certain foods, medications, insects, materials or cold. In this case, you may experience itchy scalp with or without a rash. You should consult your dermatologist to help you identify substances you`re allergic to.

4.   Scalp Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin that can occur in any part of the body including the scalp. It results in thick patches that usually itch. The exact cause of psoriasis is not known but is associated with immune system disorder. To treat psoriasis, your aim must be limiting the production of new skin cells.

5.   More Causes of Itchy Scalp

Apart from the above mentioned itchy scalp causes, here are additional reasons for suffering scalp itch:

  • Contact dermatitis
  • Scarring alopecia
  • Ringworm
  • Head lice
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Migraine headache
  • Discoid lupus

There are still more causes of itchy scalp not covered in this article. Now, since there are numerous itchy scalp causes, proper and accurate diagnosis should be carried to establish the right treatment. But before you start the treatment, you have to consider the causes and the severity of the underlying symptoms. Now, what are the symptoms of the itchy scalp?

Itchy Scalp Symptoms

Several causes of itchy scalp would result in various symptoms. The can either be mild or severe. Scratching the scalp is the major sign of itchy scalp. Though this would yield a little relief, it may lead to sore and painful scalp skin. Other symptoms that can occur alongside itchy scalp include:

  • Red scalp
  • Dry scalp skin
  • Pus-filled bumps
  • Swollen scalp
  • Thick scales r patches on scalp
  • Bald patches
  • Irritated scalp skin
  • Cries of infants
  • Bleeding from scalp

The symptoms of scalp itch should be treated in their earlier stages. When the symptoms still persist besides application of any medication then, see your GP immediately. This could be due to serious veiled medical problems that can be diagnosed at home.

Sore Itchy Scalp

Itching scalp may be sore depending on various factors. If you scratch itchy scalp skin, it would get damaged and become sore. Bursting itchy bumps on scalp would also result in the sore itchy scalp. Infections can also emerge the same condition. Topical treatments would not be suitable for the sore itchy scalp. Injections or oral medication may be prescribed.

You`re vulnerable to sore scalp itch if your scalp itch occurs alongside rashes. Scratching itchy scalp is just again the beginning of the whole ordeal.

Itchy Scalp Treatment

Actually, itchy scalp is nothing much to worry about but that one which does not improve despite the treatments should a source of concern. The itchy scalp treatment will depend on the primary cause and the severity of itchy scalp at hand. We thus have three categories of itchy scalp treatments- topical and oral itchy scalp treatment as well as injections for itchy scalp.

1.   Topical Treatments for Itchy Scalp

These are itchy scalp treatments applied to the skin. Each topical treatment works out differently i.e. some kill the fungus while other reduce the production of sebum. Topical itchy scalp treatments come in the forms of creams, emollients, lotions, gels and even soaps. They contain wonderful ingredients such as coal tar, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and steroids. Certain topical treatments also contain natural products such as oleo Vera, apple cider vinegar, honey, coconut oil etc.

Many topical treatments are acquired over the counter but some can also be prescribed. If head lice are the reason for you having itchy scalp, you then wash your hair using pediculicide or other medicines killing lice. You can also dry-clean your clothing and bedding with temperatures more than 130o F.

2.   Systemic Treatments for Itchy Scalp

Systemic treatments include oral treatments for itchy scalp and injections. They can treat any cause of itchy scalp throughout the body. These are stronger treatments that are usually prescribed by a dermatologist. They may have certain side effects but no serious complication has been reported. They include oral antibiotics and injections. More treatment includes the following:

  • Biological treatment such, infliximab, adalimumab and ustekinumab
  • Non-biological treatments such as ciclosporin, acitretin, and Methotrexate

Biological treatments can be given orally or via injections. Non-biological itch scalp treatments can be taken as tablets or capsules. The above treatments are very effective especially if scalp psoriasis is the cause of your itchy scalp.

3.   Natural Remedies for Itchy Scalp

Before you advance to those expensive commercial treatments, the mild itchy scalp can easily be managed at home. There are many natural products that can potentially reduce itching and inflammation by reducing the production of sebum and also killing the bacteria and the concerned viruses. Natural products that can be used to relieve itchy scalp include:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Lemon Juice
  • Honey
  • Coconut oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Oatmeal
  • Egg mask
  • Sugar Scrub
  • Fuller`s earth

There are several natural remedies for itchy scalp but only a few will work for you. Select one remedy and apply it consistently. If besides applying certain remedy above, your itchy scalp still persists or aggravates, please see your GP immediately.

Can Itchy Be Prevented?

Of course yes, itchy scalp is preventable. Wash your hair daily using warm water and maintain your hair short if possible. Avoid harsh hair care products to reduce allergic reactions. You should also try to avoid products containing fragrances, dyes, and chemicals. Also, combat the spread of lice by stopping sharing of the following:

  • Helmets
  • Combs
  • Brushes
  • Pillowcases
  • Hats
  • Towels
  • Caps


The mild itchy scalp can simply be treated at home. And again, since there are many itchy scalp causes, no specific itchy scalp treatment is suitable for everyone. See your dermatologist for diagnosis. This would appropriate the best treatment so far.

Article Sources
  1. What Causes Itchy Scalp:
  2. What an Itchy Scalp Means & How to Get Rid of It Naturally:
  3. 21 Twitchy, Itchy Explanations for Why Your Scalp Itches:
  4. Home Remedies for Itchy Scalp:
  5. Itchy scalp:
  6. Itchy Scalp? Here’s why and 7 Things You Can Do about It:
  7. 6 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Itchy Scalp and Dandruff Problems:

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