Common Causes and Treatments of Itchy Scalp

Itchiness can be extremely irritating for many reasons. No one wants to feel itchy and not be able to do anything about it, yet scratching comes with its own consequences, such as open sores and dandruff. You also don’t want to be scratching when in important meetings and events.

Often itchy scalp can be remedied with over-the-counter topical treatments and shampoos, yet sometimes it becomes necessary to see a doctor for diagnosis and a prescription treatment. Here are the most common causes of itchy scalp and how they can be treated.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

This is a red, scaly, itchy skin rash that can produce dandruff, especially when scratched. Mild cases can be treated with over-the-counter shampoos that have ingredients like selenium sulfide, coal tar, and zinc pyrithione.. 

Scalp Psoriasis

This skin condition comes with a bright red rash on flaky skin. Sometimes the flaking parts of the scalp can get open sores if scratched. You can use the same medicated shampoos for psoriasis as you would for seborrheic dermatitis, but it is still important to get diagnosed by a doctor. Psoriasis can sometimes be related to psoriatic arthritis.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions present with red itchy scalp, and there may also be small bumps or hives. Sudden changes in your shampoo, conditioner, or other hair care products could trigger an allergic reaction. The best course of action is to switch back to your previous brand and see if that helps the rash and itchiness go away. If not, there may be another cause.


Folliculitis is a condition in which the hair follicles become inflamed, leaving itchy bumps like pimples on the scalp. Sometimes this is the result of bacteria getting into the hair follicle. It is important to have this diagnosed and treated by a physician.

If you have had itchy scalp and it has not been relieved by these over-the-counter remedies, contact us today to schedule an appointment for examination.

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