Itchy scalp? It is rarely a cause for concern, especially it just involves a little itch here and there. However, when the itching becomes frequent and persistent, it can be difficult to ignore it. Try as you might, stopping yourself from scratching is impossible if you’ve started doing it already.
In the long run, a seemingly harmless scalp pruritus, the medical term for severe itching of the scalp, can become a nuisance, preventing you from going about your day-to-day affairs smoothly. Repeated scratching may also lead to lesions and scabs on your scalp. This is why you need to see a dermatologist when the itching becomes persistent.
Most people easily point to dandruff as the reason behind their itchy scalp. The truth, however, is that this problem can be due to other conditions. Determining the underlying cause of an itchy scalp or scalp pruritus requires the help of an expert like a dermatologist.
On top of doing a visually examination, the doctor may take a scraping of your scalp. This is to determine if lice, bacteria or fungi are present. Once the condition causing the itching is identified, the dermatologist will create a treatment tailored to your needs.
Causes of Itchy Scalp
One of the most common causes of scalp pruritus is dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis. According to reports, around 50% of the global population is affected by it. It usually manifests in early adulthood and becomes less prevalent by the age of 60. It may also affect infants below three months old.
Aside from an itching scalp, the scaling or the presence of whitish or yellowish flakes is the other classic sign of dandruff. Overproduction of oil in the scalp because of genetics, hormones or naturally-occurring yeasts in scalp is said to be the reason behind this condition. Seborrheic dermatitis may also be triggered by stress, weather changes and increase in sugar intake.
Another possible cause of an itchy scalp is contact dermatitis. This happens when the scalp develops an allergic reaction to a chemical or substance it has been exposed to such as shampoos and hair dye. Even if you’ve previously or repeatedly used the product and experienced no adverse effect, it’s still possible for your scalp to develop an allergic reaction later on.
Extreme itching and dry, flaky and reddish scalp are the usual symptoms of contact dermatitis. In most cases, the problem goes away once the substance causing the irritation is removed. This means washing out the dye if it’s the culprit.
In children, tinea capitis and lice are the most common reasons behind scalp pruritus. Tinea capitis, popularly known as ringworm, is a fungal infection which presents as red, scaly and itchy rash. It may also cause round, hair less patches. Meanwhile, if the itching is accompanied by the presence of nits on the hair shaft, then lice are the reason for the itching. Completely getting rid of the lice with the help of specially formulated shampoo is the only way to stop the itching.
Autoimmune immune diseases like eczema, or atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis can also cause scalp pruritus. Sometimes, the itching can be due to diseases like shingles and diabetes mellitus.
The underlying cause of scalp pruritus is rarely a severe condition. However, this doesn’t mean that you should bear the itching and wait for it to pass. Remember, some of the causes of scalp pruritus like lice won’t go away without treatment. So, if you are experiencing persistent scalp itching, don’t think twice about going to a trusted hair and scalp clinic in Ireland.
Suffering from itchy scalp or scalp pruritus? Our team of hair and scalp experts can treat its cause and give you the relief you need! Call us at +353 (0)1 6793618 today to schedule an appointment!