Everything You Need to Know About Itchy Scalp Causes and Cures

Itchy scalp? It doesn't have to be a problem. Let's tackle it.

Do you find yourself scratching your head more often than normal? Noticing white flakes? While most people would assume that dandruff is the source of the problem, it’s actually only one of many conditions that fall under itchy scalp causes. Factors like diet, weather, product overuse, and even sensitivity to certain shampoos or conditioners can also affect your scalp’s health. And if you aren’t careful, it eventually leads to you digging your nails into your head and scratching away, which in turn causes further damage. Well, thankfully, there’s no need to suffer in silence—we’re here to lend a helping hand.

If you want to relieve itchy scalp discomfort and get down to the source of itchy scalp causes, read on to learn about the common causes of itchy scalp and how to deal with it:

itchy scalp causes layered style
Understanding your dry scalp issues will help you treat them.

1. Dandruff

Dandruff is one of the most common causes of itchy scalps. If you notice persistent and stubborn grey or yellow flakes in your hair, accompanied by a strong unending itching sensation, it’s most likely to be dandruff. The over-production of skin cells on your scalp can be triggered either by Malassezia (a harmless yeast microorganism) or external influences like the weather, diet, and stress. Eventually, this production of cells leads to the build-up of dead skin, which disturbs your scalp and causes this itchy feeling.

Work on maintaining a dandruff-free and moisturized scalp by washing with a shampoo and conditioner duo that caters to dry scalp. Dove Hair Therapy Dry Scalp Care Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner work to nourish hair at a cellular level and give your strands and scalp a refreshed and moisturized finish.

Hit the reset button whenever your dandruff becomes too much with an exfoliating scrub. Nexxus Scalp Inergy Gentle Exfoliating Scrub uses micro-exfoliating sugars and moisturizers to help improve the strength of your scalp and your hair.

2. Dry Scalp

If you’ve found small white flakes on your scalp, ask yourself: Is it dry too? If so, you’re bound to experience some itchiness and tightness, though it’ll be less excessive to the irritation you experience with dandruff. When your scalp’s natural moisture balance is disturbed due to changes in weather, diet, or sensitivity to certain products, an itchy and dry scalp is what you’re left with. As a result, your tresses may also look dull, frizzy, and easily break.

In order to relieve this itchy scalp problem, you first need to address the dryness. Incorporating an oil treatment like Love Beauty and Planet Hemp Seed Oil and Nana Leaf Soothe & Nourish Scalp Serum into your hair care routine will help seal in some moisture.

You can also try RE-fresh Eucalyptus + Cooling Relief Scalp Detox Spray for something less oily and easier to add into your styling routine.

itchy-scalp-product-build-up
Product build-up can be the answer to: What causes itchy scalp?

3. Product Build-Up

If you find yourself using too many styling products on a daily basis, these can sometimes cause your scalp to react and lead to itching. The products aren’t solely to blame, though: It’s actually the way you wash your hair after use (or not wash it, as the case may be) that produces a build-up of oil and dirt, resulting in a scratch-inducing scalp.

In the case of product build-up, shampoo your hair more frequently and ensure you focus on cleansing your scalp – not your tresses. See some of the best shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis. clarifying shampoo is a great way to deep clean, but should only be used once a week to avoid stripping your scalp and hair of natural oils. We love Suave Essentials Daily Clarifying Shampoo and Conditioner, it’s very gentle and will help you avoid those itchy scalp causes.

4. Poor Diet

As much as you love sugary and salty treats, not getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals from the food you eat can also result in a dry scalp—thus leading to more itching.

Tackling your diet and making it more balanced is a sure way to resolve the discomfort you may be facing. Remove this itchy scalp cause by making sure to load up on vitamin B and D, good fats and zinc to help combat the problem.

5. Sunburn

Just like a sunburn anywhere else, a burnt scalp will be sore, red, and can feel super itchy. It’s a common itchy scalp cause, but can still be dangerous.

The best way to keep a sunburnt scalp at bay is to wear a hat when you will be out in the sun. If you do end up with a sunburn turn to your moisturizing products. If you do get a sunburn on your scalp, massage some aloe vera gel onto your scalp and gently wash your hair and scalp.

6. Eczema

Though commonly afflicting babies and young children, eczema has also been known to affect some adults. It’s a medical condition that causes an itchy, sometimes blistery rash on the skin’s surface, causing it to be red and inflamed. People have attributed eczema to several causes, which can range from feeling stressed to dietary choices. Some common itchy scalp causes can be associated with reactions from some soaps and cosmetics.

7. Sebborheic Dermatitis

Another medical condition that can create itchy scalp, flaking and irritation on the scalp is called sebborheic dermatitis, or sebborhea. Some experts interchange scalp sebborhea with actual dandruff. Again, it’s relatively common (so don’t panic!) and can be treated with steroids, topical creams and targeted shampoos.

itchy scalp causes psoriasis
There are plenty of ways to treat your itchy scalp problems!

8. Scalp psoriasis

One other chronic condition is psoriasis, which is characterized by itching and flaking. This itchy scalp condition occurs when our immune systems prompt an overproduction of scalp skin cells. Affected areas can be most obvious along the hairline and again can be relieved by some oral medication, steroidal creams and even medicated shampoos.

9. Ringworm

We know, major cringe, but ringworm, or tinia capitis is also a cause for scalp irritation. The usual soil-borne cause for toenail fungus and athlete’s foot can also find its way onto our scalps via contact with our pets (sorry, Fido), towels, beddings and hair brushes. It can cause itchiness, scaling and sometimes even hair loss when left untreated.

10. Lice

These pesky little bloodsuckers aren’t solely a schoolyard problem. Lice is a highly contagious parasite that spreads through contact with towels, headphones, brushes, beddings, headgear, and accessories. They’ve even been reported at movie theaters and in dressing rooms! Lice can cause extreme itchy scalp. A lice infection can be cured by washing with medicated shampoos that are available over the counter. You can also treat your head with some prescription-grade medication.

11. Oiliness

On the flip side, a greasy scalp can also be an itchy scalp cause. If your isn’t washed regularly or has too much product or grime buildup, this could be you. Irregular or poor hair washing hygiene can impair the normal turnover of scalp skin cells, causing flakes, itchiness, and even a slight odor.

Those are the top itchy scalp causes, check to see if this is what’s ailing your scalp. Once you figure out what’s going on you will feel much better. Try any of these hair care products to help soothe and treat your dry scalp problems.

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