Feel the need to constantly scratch your head, even in embarrassing public situations? That uncontrollable urge to scratch your head can be frustrating and embarrassing both at the same but it’s nothing that can’t be treated. An itchy scalp can be caused by the accumulation of germs if you haven’t thoroughly washed your hair but if the condition persists, it may be more like a symptom for a bigger scalp disease or skin condition. Itchy scalp, also known as Scalp Pruritis, can be accompanied with other symptoms like flaking, scabs, and general discomfort.
To know for sure if you have an itchy scalp, let’s look at some of the symptoms that you may have and see if you can treat it at home or would rather visit a professional for the same.
Some of the symptoms of an itchy scalp include the following over and above the general discomfort and constant itching sensation.
- Dry skin with flakes.
- Scalp irritation.
- Pus-filled sores.
- Scalp swelling due to excessive itching.
- Scales or patches on the scalp.
- Bald patches, which may be caused due to damaged follicles caused by harsh scratching.
If you see these symptoms paired with just an itchy head, it may be a sign of a bigger underlying condition. To find out some of the common causes of itchy scalp, read on.
This is one of the most common reasons for itchy scalp. Dandruff is caused by an overgrowth of Malassezia yeast. It is a commonly found yeast microbe on your scalp but with the allergic reaction of dandruff with the scalp this yeast growth increases manifold and out of control. This causes flakes, overgrowth of the scalp cells and buildup of dead cells along with dirt and other bacteria. If dandruff is the cause of your itchy scalp then your scalp will be full of scales, dead skin cells, excessive oil, and redness. Severe dandruff condition like Seborrheic Dermatitis needs medical attention. In such a case, one must visit a dermatologist.
- Head Lice
You can only get head lice when you get in touch with another person with head lice. If you have kids or nieces and nephews around you, chances are high that you may have contracted it if they were already carrying it.
If you have just an itchy scalp and no oily scalp, flaking, redness, or dandruff skin lumps then you may have head lice. One louse is 2-3mm long, highly skilled at camouflaging and their eggs are also painted in a way that they merge with your hair. They sip on your blood from your scalp for nutrients and their saliva on our scalp is what causes the itching.
- Product build-up
Along with itchy scalp if you have a dry, red, and irritable scalp then you are probably using the wrong product. Using Shampoos and conditioners with ingredients that don’t suit your scalp can cause itchiness. Product build-up can also mess with your scalp’s natural shedding rate. It gets covered with the product and then the dead cells get accumulated over time, causing overflow of white flakes and dryness on the scalp.
This condition is caused by a fungus called Trichophyton Rubrum. It is not really worms that you can find yourself on your scalp, these are ring-like shapes that the fungus makes on your scalp along with making it red, sore and extremely itchy. It is a contagious condition and if someone around you has it there are high chances that you have probably contracted it form them. A prescription may be needed for treating this.
- Dry scalp
The very simple logic of how a dry skin on your arms itches, dry skin in your scalp also itches. Make sure you keep your skin, hydrates, supple, and nourished. A good shampoo and conditioner routine for this could work wonders. Head & Shoulders Silky Smooth might be just what you are looking for. It has the correct amount of nourishment for your scalp and hair both and with its 2-in-1 formula dry skin would be gone in time at all.
Above mentioned are some of the most popular and common itchy scalp causes. Some other causes of itchy scalp include diabetes, herpes zoster, anxiety, discoid lupus, migraine headaches, hot comb hair loss/ heat styling, scalp psoriasis, scarring alopecia or contact dermatitis. Now, not all of these conditions can be taken care of at home, but you can always take measures to prevent extremely itchy scalp.
Some of the preventive measures that you can easily take are reducing the use of heat styling tools and too many products on your hair that may cause build-up. You could also, protect your head with a scarf/hat when you step out so as to keep dust, pollution, heat, UV rays and excessive sunlight exposure to your scalp, from happening. Apart from taking these external measures to prevention itchy scalp and other conditions with it, you must also prevent it from inside. Taking care of your body from the inside by taking the right diet and the right nutrient supplements will help. Staying in a healthy condition regarding your physical hygiene and mental health is also essential as they can determine several adjacent conditions of the scalp that may cause the itchy sensation and discomfort. Nothing like a cleansing daily haircare routine of an effective shampoo and conditioner. For an effective itchy scalp treatment, you can select from Head & Shoulders vast range of 2-in-1 products with the dual power of great hair and a superior dandruff protection. There are variants like ‘Silky Smooth’, ‘Cool Menthol’ and ‘Active Protect’ available to suit your specific hair and scalp care needs.
Apart from the above-mentioned precautions there are some other measures you can take for itchy scalp treatment.
Read on to find out.
How to Treat an Itchy Scalp?
The treatment of itchy scalp would depend on what is the cause of that condition. And if is indeed a symptom for a deeper, more serious skin or scalp related disease. For instance, if it is caused by dandruff, then a good anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner regimen in your daily routine would really help. No harm in picking Head & Shoulders with its advanced anti-dandruff properties and variety of choices to pick from. Although, if it seems to be an infection of sorts caused by a fungal or bacterial overgrowth you might have to take specific medications from an expert. Some basic over the counter medications that can help in treating dandruff include antifungal creams, salicylic acid, or coal tar, zinc pyrithione and topical steroids.
Although if you are still looking for a more organic and harmless way of dealing with itchy scalp you must read on to find some home remedies for itchy scalp treatment.
- Essential Oils:
One can use essential oils like tea tree, neem, peppermint, coconut oil etc to treat dandruff as it helps reduce irritability and dandruff from the scalp. Not only will the massage increase blood circulation in the scalp but will also have a soothing effect on it. It is recommended to keep the oil on your scalp for an hour or so at least and then wash it off with an effective anti-dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders which has all the right ingredients to fight dandruff and treat an itchy scalp.
- Zinc Pyrithione Shampoo
If you have an itchy scalp chances are that the histamine levels of your scalp are really high, and according to a wide spread study, it has been proven that a shampoo with zinc pyrithione in it is capable of reducing the histamine levels as well as the itchiness on your scalp. This compound in shampoos also reduces yeast growth therefore being effective on dandruff conditions.
- Ketoconazole Shampoo
This is a strong antifungal agent. It fights fungus that becomes abundant on the scalp, causing Malassezia folliculitis or scalp psoriasis. A prescribed amount of usage is recommended. Do not use it on open sores or swollen skin.
- Selenium Sulfide
An active ingredient in all anti-dandruff shampoos, this compound slows down the growth of yeast on scalp, therefore reducing the build-up of dead cells and flaky dandruff and itchiness. Although, we will recommend you stop using it if your skin gets irritable or symptoms worsen and see a specialist.
Some other methods of itchy scalp treatment include, tea tree oil, meditation, Salicylic acid and a good old apple cider vinegar hair rinse.
While home remedies for itchy scalp might keep the discomfort away for a while but if it a persistent situation then it I best to consult a doctor.
When to Seek Medical Help?
When the itchiness doesn’t go away in few days despite of treating it at home and when it is accompanied by a few other symptoms like hair loss, pain, sores, redness or intense itching, go see your doctor. Also, if you are aware that the itchy scalp may be because of a fungal infection or head lice you may want to see a medical professional as it doesn’t go away without that.
Having said of all this, we all know that prevention is better than cure! Keep your scalp health in check with the best of anti-dandruff ingredients like neem, argan oil, menthol, salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide et al in Head & Shoulders’ range of world class anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners.
Never be a slave to those embarrassing head itches anymore!