dandruff itchy scalp hair doctor st louis missouriAn itchy scalp can be very uncomfortable. If you’re dealing with a constant scalp itch, it’s important to know the cause to help get it under control. Otherwise, your constant itching can lead to irritated skin that might be rubbed raw or even bleeding. Here are some of the common causes of an itchy scalp and how to deal with them.

Dry Skin

One of the most common causes of an itchy scalp is dry skin. During the winter, the cold, dry air can dry out your skin. When your skin lacks moisture, it can become itchy. This dryness can occur in your scalp the same way it occurs in skin on other parts of your body. In order to avoid itchiness caused by dry skin, moisturize your hair and scalp, especially in the winter. A deep conditioning once a week can help keep your hair and scalp well hydrated.

Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis

On your scalp, there is a presence of yeast. When there is an overgrowth of yeast, your body exhibits an inflammatory response that manifests itself as dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, which result in itching and flaking. In mild cases, over-the-counter shampoo with selenium or zinc pyrithione can solve these issues. More serious cases will require prescription-strength antifungal shampoo, topical cortisone, or medicated foam, solution, cream, or ointment.


Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes raised, reddish, scaly patches on the skin or scalp. Although experts are unsure what causes it, genetics play a role. Fortunately, over-the-counter medicated shampoos with coal tar or salicylic acid can usually solve the issue. If the problem persists, a dermatologist can prescribe stronger shampoos and topical cortisone.

Tinea Capitis

This fungal infection is commonly known as ringworm, and extends deep into the hair follicle. It can cause round patches of hair loss that increase in size over time. A rash can also appear, that may have black dots or a stubbly appearance. To treat this infection, a doctor will prescribe oral anti-fungal medications that will solve the problem.

Head Lice

Head lice are small ectoparasites that can live on your scalp. Although head lice are often too small to see, you can see tiny nits (eggs) attached to hair strands if you look closely. Although nits can look like dandruff, they are not shaken off easily, as they are suck to the hair shaft. Head lice can cause a lot of itching on the scalp, but the problem is easily solved through over the counter shampoo with insecticides.

Allergic Reactions

Another common cause of an itchy scalp is an allergic reaction. The skin on your scalp can react to hair dyes and other products, resulting in eczema and atopic dermatitis. These reactions typically go away on their own when you stay away from the thing you’re allergic to. If you’re not sure what caused the allergic reaction, a dermatologist can perform a specialized test to figure out what caused the reaction.

Dr. Richard Moore | St. Louis Hair Loss Doctor

Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, both genetic and medical. If you are concerned about hair loss and thinning hair, we invite you to contact our office today to schedule a complimentary hair and scalp evaluation and get all your St. Louis hair loss treatment and hair restoration questions answered fully and completely.