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Itchy Scalp: Causes, Therapy, Prevention

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  • Widespread causes of an itchy scalp embrace dandruff, head lice, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis. 
  • To deal with an itchy scalp, see a major care supplier or a dermatologist who can decide the trigger.
  • Residence treatments for itchy scalps embrace apple cider vinegar, jojoba oil, and tea tree oil. 
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

Itchy scalps are frequent and might occur to anybody, says Annie Gonzalez, MD, a dermatologist with Riverchase Dermatology

There are a lot of totally different causes for an itchy scalp, and whereas it might be irritating and even painful, the excellent news is an itchy scalp isn’t a trigger for concern and is normally simply handled.

1. Dandruff

If small items of dry pores and skin flake off your scalp once you’re itching, then dandruff may be accountable. Dandruff is the most typical reason behind an itchy scalp and impacts half of the adult population, says Michele Green, MD, a beauty dermatologist together with her personal personal observe. 

Dandruff can have many causes, including delicate pores and skin or perhaps a yeast-like fungus. 

Along with an itchy scalp, different signs of dandruff embrace:

  • Flakes of pores and skin on the scalp or generally the eyebrows
  • Bleeding or oozing once you scratch

How you can deal with it: 

To correctly deal with dandruff, you might have to see a dermatologist or major physician who can get to the foundation of what is inflicting it, Inexperienced says. However you might discover some aid with an over-the-counter dandruff shampoo, like Head & Shoulders. 

2. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to assault wholesome pores and skin cells. This may result in a rash and flaking pores and skin which will happen wherever on the physique, together with the scalp, Inexperienced says The situation impacts about 125 million people worldwide.

Different signs of psoriasis include:

  • Dry, cracked pores and skin which will itch
  • Swelling within the joints
  • Crimson, scaly patches of pores and skin 

How you can deal with it:

Psoriasis must be handled by a medical skilled and treatment plans will fluctuate. Usually, a physician would possibly recommend topical remedies, oral drugs, or a mix of each. 

3. Head lice

Head lice are small bugs that feed off blood from the human scalp, and the following scabs may be itchy. Anybody can contract head lice, however it’s commonest in children between 3 and 12-years-old as a result of they are usually in nearer contact with one another, giving lice the prospect to unfold simply. 

The signs of head lice embrace:

  • Excessive itchiness
  • A tickling sensation in your head
  • Sores on the neck or scalp
  • Small white, brown, or darkish gray specks within the hair and scalp 

How you can deal with it: 

One of the simplest ways to do away with lice is to contact your major care physician or dermatologist for a prescription therapy, Gonzalez says. 

4. Stress Rash

When your nervous system will get overwhelmed by stress, your physique releases a compound known as histamine — the identical compound launched in allergic reactions.

This causes irritation, which may end up in itchy hives. These hives, known as a stress rash, are commonest on the neck, arms, and chest, however can generally happen on the scalp, Gonzalez says. 

A interval of high stress or a disturbing life occasion may cause a stress rash. Signs embrace:

  • Itchy raised bumps
  • Swelling
  • Burning when the rash is touched

How you can deal with it: 

To stop new hives from cropping up, attempt over-the-counter antihistamines like Allegra or Claritin, Gonzalez says. Making use of a chilly compress or a topical steroid comparable to hydrocortisone and clobetasol also can cut back itchiness, redness, and irritation. 

5. Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, a kind of eczema, generally causes an itchy scalp. It’s a persistent pores and skin dysfunction, and the precise trigger is unknown. Nonetheless a mix of environmental triggers, like allergens or irritants in addition to genetics play a job, Gonzalez says. 

Different signs of atopic dermatitis include:

  • Grey-brownish patches on the palms, neck, and wrist
  • Small raised bumps which will leak fluid when scratched
  • Dry pores and skin
  • Crimson, scaly patches

How you can deal with it:

The very best remedies for atopic dermatitis embrace ointments and lotions, comparable to topical corticosteroids that cut back redness and swelling throughout flare-ups, Gonzalez says. Perfume-free moisturizers also can cut back itching by protecting pores and skin hydrated.

Insider’s takeaway 

Most individuals will cope with an Itchy scalp sooner or later of their lives and there’s a big selection of things that may trigger it. 

In case your itchy scalp lasts longer than every week or if sores start to develop, contact a major care physician or dermatologist who may also help you identify the underlying trigger and give you a therapy plan for aid.

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