Itchy scalp – causes, treatment

Itchy scalp

Itchy scalp is very unpleasant for those affected. The reasons for this can be manifold and, depending on the cause, it is a temporary or chronic phenomenon.

What is itchy scalp?

An itchy scalp is one of extremely annoying symptoms. It impairs the quality of life and causes concerns for many sufferers. The cause of this is not always found quickly, but sometimes numerous possible reasons must be excluded until the true reason can be identified.

If it is only a short appearance, a trip to the pharmacy is usually sufficient. However, if it is a persistent symptom, clarification with a doctor is necessary. Through numerous examinations and tests, he can find out what is hidden behind it. Rarely, a more serious disease is hidden behind the itchy scalp, which requires intensive treatment over a long period of time.


Causes of an itchy scalp include mental health problems, as well as allergies to certain foods or preservatives. They can provoke this disturbing symptom. Even mechanical irritation can cause irritation.

More likely, however, is a dry scalp, which can be justified, for example, by the wrong shampoo or an overdose of hairspray. Frequent washing and constant use of anti-dandruff shampoos can also lead to dry skin on the head and thus an itchy scalp. The resulting skin cells then indicate dehydration and are not conventional dandruff at all.

Another possibility for the development of an itchy scalp are fungal diseases or a skin disease such as neurodermatitis or psoriasis. Children in particular complain of lice, although adults can also be affected. Occasionally, the itchy scalp is due to an excess of histamine, which is strengthened by certain foods such as red wine or mature cheese in the body.

Diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & course

What causes the itchy scalp can be partially determined by the person concerned himself or a doctor clarifies the symptom. Especially in case of persistent itching, medical advice should be sought. In the first step, the doctor takes a look at the scalp to examine the complexion.

Lice, for example, can be seen very well under a magnifying glass. Also, rashes and eczema can already be determined by a visual diagnosis. In some cases, the physician notices additional accompanying symptoms, including hair loss. An allergy test and questioning the eating habits of the person concerned can also be helpful.

If there is no physical cause, possible psychological factors are clarified. For example, there may be a hidden depression that has manifested itself in an itchy scalp. Proper diagnosis is important, otherwise the symptom may intensify and spread to other areas of the body. In addition, scratched areas can lead to inflammation and infectious diseases.

↳ More information: Home remedies for itching


An itchy scalp has various causes and complications such as frequent washing. As a complication, there is exactly the opposite, desired effect, namely a dehydration of the scalp, which can be accompanied by scaling. Another cause could be psoriasis on the head.

Complications mainly affect the psychological nature, as the strongly scaly skin areas can be a great burden for the person concerned. Furthermore, the site is more susceptible to superinfections, i.e. an additional infection with a pathogen. This makes it easier to develop bacterial or fungal diseases. Fungal diseases can also be the root cause of an itchy scalp.

Normally, a fungal disease on the head heals without any complications. The disease itself is characterized above all by hair loss on the affected area and usually a scar is created. If the fungus penetrates deep into the tissue, it can also damage surrounding tissue and bones, but this happens only in the rarest cases.

Lice are also a typical reason for a constantly itchy scalp. Again, superinfections with bacteria such as staphylococci occur as a possible complication. In addition, head lice usually lead to social exclusion and a development of a sense of shame and the person concerned usually isolates himself from the social environment. In addition, sleep disorders can also occur.

When to go to the doctor?

Itchy scalp indicates a skin disease or lice infestation and should therefore be clarified immediately by a doctor. A visit to the doctor is especially recommended if the symptoms occur suddenly and the itching increases sharply within a short time. If the cause of the itchy scalp is not clear beyond doubt, medical advice should be sought in any case. This also applies if the itching occurs after washing the hair or using an unknown care product. If an allergic reaction or intolerance is suspected, the can recommend appropriate countermeasures.

If there is a conspicuous reddening of the skin, pustules or other changes in the scalp, there may be neurodermatitis requiring treatment. If the symptoms spread to other areas of the body, a sensory disturbance may be present. Again, consult a doctor as soon as possible and have the symptoms clarified. Those who generally suffer from a dry scalp should seek medical advice as soon as the symptoms affect their well-being. Patients with a diagnosed skin disease should discuss deviating symptoms with the attending family doctor or in order to avoid a severe course and further complications.

Treatment & Therapy

Therapy for an itchy scalp may aim to combat the cause and/or minimize itching. Of course, exactly how it develops depends on the reason for the symptom. Sometimes a doctor prescribes a medicated shampoo or advises a change in diet.

For eczema there are tinctures, as well as for lice. If a serious underlying disease such as or Parkinson’s disease underlies the itchy scalp, it can also be treated with immunological agents. Those who suffer from psoriasis or psoriasis are dependent on lengthy treatment. This is the only way to prevent the scalp from becoming chronically scabbed and renewing itself only slowly. The causes are specifically combated with medication and often antihistamines and cortisone are given to alleviate the symptom.

Occasionally, however, treatment for this cause is very difficult, as the reason cannot always be sufficiently combated. If the itchy scalp is due to an allergy to certain chemical ingredients in some , these can be avoided or the doctor starts a desensitization treatment.

Whether this is advisable for the person concerned should be thoroughly clarified in advance by the physician. If , ie discomfort on the scalp due to anxiety or depression, is behind it, a visit to the psychotherapist for talk therapy can be helpful. This is occasionally accompanied by homeopathic remedies or naturopathic therapies to soothe the itchy scalp.

Outlook & Forecast

An itchy scalp is a common ailment. The further course of the disease and the prognosis depend on the causes. If the problem is due to too frequent washing of the hair or the use of a too aggressive detergent, a change in these habits is usually sufficient to remedy the disorder within a short time.

In children, parasites, especially head lice, are often the reason for itching. After killing the parasites and removing the eggs (nits) with the help of special shampoos and special combs, the suffering quickly subsides. Patients with very dense hair often have to wear a short hairstyle temporarily in case of severe infestation, otherwise the parasites cannot be completely removed. Rasta braids must be braided for the same reason in any case.

If an allergy is the trigger for the itchy scalp, the irritant must be found and avoided in the future. In the case of a food intolerance, an adjustment of dietary habits is usually unavoidable. However, the symptoms subside quickly afterwards.

Skin fungi or Eczema can be successfully treated with special preparations that not only relieve the itching but also combat the causes.

On the other hand, patients whose scalp itching is caused by psoriasis have to be prepared for a protracted course of the disease. Symptoms are usually treated with Cortisone and antihistamines. The itching then often subsides quickly, but it can take weeks for the affected scalp to fully recover.


Preventing an itchy scalp is not easy as the reasons can be so varied. However, the risk can be minimized by, for example, using suitable, type-appropriate hair care. In the case of existing allergies, the respective Allergen should be avoided. However, there is no protection against lice as the cause. They spread to the hair on the head whether you shower every day or not.

You can do that yourself

An itchy scalp can be treated ideally with home remedies. Noteworthy here is Peppermint . In pure, ethereal form or as a Tea it works against an itchy scalp. The tea contains the same Essential Oil . It soothes the skin and relieves itching. In addition, it is antiseptic. Inflammation of the irritated scalp can also be treated in this way.

Rosemary is also suitable for counteracting an itchy scalp. Rosemary has an essential oil that soothes and balances the scalp. In addition, rosemary cares for cracked skin areas. In addition, shea butter helps with itchy scalp. It is not only known for its nourishing effect, but also for the relief of skin irritation. Shea butter ensures that formed pimples heal quickly.

Another way to treat the itchy scalp is coconut oil. The oil not only moisturizes, but also nourishes the hair. The same effect can be achieved with lavender oil. The oil quenches the itching of the scalp and heals minor wounds. Furthermore, the oil contributes to cell renewal. It is also worth . If the itchy scalp underlies high sebum production, the oil is ideal for treatment. It counteracts oily skin and dandruff. In addition, an itchy scalp can be treated with bergamot oil.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.