It is not uncommon for your scalp to itch, but when it does, there is an underlying cause for this. If your scalp itches all of the time, that is an important sign not to overlook. There are some situations in which that itchy feeling is more than just an annoyance. In some situations, it can lead to the development of conditions that cause hair loss. If you already have hair loss and your scalp is bothersome like this, it may be time to speak to your doctor about what is behind it.
Why Does Your Scalp Itch?
All skin can itch from time to time. That feeling that you get means there is something on the outer layers of the skin that is felt by the nerve endings. In some cases, the tingling sensation you have is due to a buildup of debris, dead skin cells, or other materials. The condition, which is formally called scalp pruritus, is not uncommon, but it is often a sign of something larger that you need to take a closer look at to determine what is happening and to prevent a worsening condition that can lead to hair loss.
What Else Is Happening?
A good place to start is with what is actually happening at the scalp. Take the time to look at your scalp. Do you have flakiness present? You may have white specs on your clothing or in your hair. This may be an indication of a problem. You may have bumps or scaly patches. Some may also develop areas of hair loss – these can be limitedly located across the head, or they could be located everywhere. Once you have a closer look, you can determine what the underlying causes may be.
Dandruff Could Be the Problem
Most people who have an itchy scalp are dealing with it as a result of dandruff. This condition is caused by an overactive oil gland located in the scalp. When this happens, it could be due to an imbalance of hormones in your body. This causes the glands to overproduce oil in the skin, causing the itch. It may also be caused by a bacteria buildup or, in some cases, a yeast infection of the scalp. It is not very common, though it is possible, for hair loss to occur as a result of severe dandruff, especially if it is left untreated for some time.
Another likely possibility is alopecia areata. This condition can cause the scalp to feel tight, inflamed, and itchy. It occurs when a tuft of hair in a specific area seems to fall out. Most of the time, these bunches of hair fall out in clumps and create rounded patches of hair loss. This occurs is the result of an autoimmune condition, in which the body’s own immune system fights its healthy hair cells, causing hair loss to occur. You may also develop this condition if you have type 1 diabetes or a condition like rheumatoid arthritis.
A condition that sometimes occurs more frequently in young children, but can happen to anyone, is tinea capitis. It is a type of fungal infection that gets into the hair follicle and shaft, causing a significant amount of itchiness. It also causes hair loss in many cases. This can happen over time but tends to be the result of a highly contagious type of ringworm. This condition requires medical care to treat the underlying infection and to get the inflammation under control.
There are a number of other conditions that can cause this to happen as well. Lichen planopilaris is one condition that causes inflammation of the scalp due to the immune system, leading to hair loss. Allergic reactions to materials, hair dyes, and other products you use in your hair can also cause hair loss and itchiness, especially in an acute case. Folliculitis is yet another condition that can cause these symptoms. It is caused by staph bacteria or fungus that develops.
In all situations, you should consult a dermatologist to determine what the underlying cause is. Many times, treating the itch can help to restore your hair growth.