Dry Itchy Scalp: Causes and Treatment
Imagine standing in a room full of people with a constant urge to scratch your scalp! Wouldn’t that be extremely embarrassing if somebody notices the dry flakes that fall off while you scratch your head? Now, whether you are in a public place or within the comforts of your own home, a dry and itchy scalp is a cause of concern which should be addressed immediately. This is because dry flakes or dandruff are not the only side effects of a dry and itchy scalp. In some cases, it can also lead to hair loss which in turn will just amplify your problems.
Once you have identified the problem which is your dry, itchy scalp, it is imperative for you to find out the causes of this condition. This will help you in not only treating your dry and itchy scalp successfully but will also go a long way in helping you prevent its reoccurrence.
Causes of Dry and Itchy Scalp
Below are some of the major causes of dry and itchy scalp:
- Dandruff or Seborrheic Dermatitis – This is considered to be the most common cause of a dry and itchy scalp. It is common to have yeast on our scalp and other parts of the body covered by hair. An overgrowth of this yeast causes inflammation which leads to all the dryness and itchiness.
- Psoriasis – A chronic autoimmune disease, psoriasis is a kind of skin disorder which causes scaly, reddish and raised patches all over your scalp as well as skin. Though the disorder is non-communicable, the cause of psoriasis is still not established.
- Tinea Capitis – Commonly known as ‘ringworm’, tinea capitis is a form of fungal infection which affects your scalp. This condition goes deep into your hair follicles, causing itching, dryness as well as loss of hair in round patches.
- Eczema – Another skin condition which can cause chronic itching on your scalp and result in flakes is known as eczema. Like, psoriasis, the cause of eczema is still not known.
- Contact Dermatitis – Contact dermatitis is basically an allergic reaction that occurs on your scalp due to various reasons such as a food allergy, reaction to certain skin care products, sensitive skin, etc. The allergens present in various products get absorbed into your scalp and lead to itching and dryness.
- Build-up of Products – There are a number of hair styling products that we use and they all contain various ingredients and chemicals. Over a period of time, these ingredients start building up on your scalp and slowly make your scalp dry, itchy, irritated and red. This usually occurs when you don’t wash your scalp to get rid of the products that you have used.
Tips to reduce Dry and Itchy scalp
Now before we get on to the various treatments that you can opt for to get rid of your dry and itchy scalp, we have listed down some effective tips to reduce the dry and itchy scalp. Following these tips diligently can also ensure that you do not have to deal with any dry scalp again or the constant urge to scratch the itch.
- Always ensure that you wash your hair and scalp thoroughly at least twice or thrice in a week.
- Avoid sharing your personal items such as combs, hair styling tools, rubber bands, etc., with others. You can also regularly make use of an antimicrobial soap or liquid to wash your combs.
- Try and avoid hair styling gels and hair dyes as much as possible. This will ensure that your scalp is not treated to unwanted chemicals and allergens.
- Find out what food items you are allergic to and avoid their consumption.
- After washing your hair, try to dry it naturally as much as possible. When you use hair dryer it can lead to dryness and itchiness on your scalp.
- The best way to avoid any kind of scalp issues and keep your overall health in good condition is to eat a healthy diet which is well-balanced in terms of proteins, nutrients and carbs.
- Switch to gentler hair products such as shampoos, conditioners, serums, etc.
- One of the most important tips to follow is to avoid scratching your scalp as much as possible, especially when you are washing your hair. If you notice that the itching is extreme, then you need to get yourself checked by a dermatologist as soon as possible.
Treatment for Dry and Itchy Scalp
Once the causes for your dry, itchy scalp have been identified by a certified dermatologist, they can suggest any of the below listed treatment methods. They might either prescribe medical treatments or cosmetic treatments, depending upon the severity of your condition.
Medical treatments include:
- Corticosteroid – These help in controlling the production of sebum as well as reduce inflammation on the scalp. This is generally prescribed for people who are suffering from various scalp conditions such as psoriasis, folliculitis, lipedematous, etc.
- Spironolactone – This medication is mostly used for treating alopecia in women and it is essentially a male hormone blocker.
- Antibiotics – Any bacteria or fungal infections on the scalp can be treated using antibiotics.
- Griseofulvin – This is an effective medication for people who are suffering from dry, itchy scalp which has developed due to ringworm.
Under cosmetic treatments, we have:
- Ketoconazole – Dry, itchy scalp which has developed due to dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis can be treated by using Ketoconazole. It is an active ingredient present in various anti-dandruff shampoos.
- Steroid Injections – Various skin conditions such as psoriasis which cause inflammation, redness or any other kind of flare ups can be controlled with the help of steroid injections.
- Steroid Creams – Apart from the injections, your dermatologist can also opt for steroid creams to control the inflammation, itchiness and dryness of the scalp.
- Laser – Excimer Laser therapy is an effective cosmetic treatment which can help you to get rid of dry and itchy scalp developed due to psoriasis.
- Salicylic Acid – This is another active ingredient which is found in a number of scalp and hair-related products which can provide satisfactory relief from all the itchiness on the scalp.
P.S. Check out the previous post on how to get rid of dandruff and itchy scalp with Kamedis.
In a nutshell:
Having a dry and itchy scalp is not only a medical condition which needs to be addressed immediately but it is also a condition which can affect your social appearances and personality. Since, this condition can range from mild to severe, it is best to consult a dermatologist who can examine it thoroughly and then guide you to the right treatment methods.
Also, don’t forget to follow all the tips provided to avoid the problem of dry, itchy scalp altogether and save yourself from dealing with bigger problems such as hair fall and hair loss!
Guest Author Bio:
With a degree in Life Sciences, Riya Deshmukh, from Hyderabad, Telangana, India, has a diverse experience in writing for beauty and health care domain; with topics like skincare, hair problems, tips and advice. She aspires to bring change in the lives of people through her earnest and research-based articles. She is looking out for opportunities to work with value driven organizations and to associate with their content producers and generate meaningful and valuable content towards mutual benefit.
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