Itchy Scalp and Hair Loss – Causes and Treatments

For most people, hair loss can be a devastating thing to experience. Not only does it affect your appearance, but it can drastically reduce your overall self-confidence and esteem. To make matters worse, sometimes, the hair loss is accompanied by an itchy scalp, which can add insult to injury.

Itchy scalp may be a symptom of a scalp disease which is one of common causes of hair loss. If you are currently suffering from this kind of condition, we understand that you want help. Dealing with itchy scalp hair loss can be challenging, but that doesn’t mean you should let it control your life.

Today we’re going to discuss the most common causes for this condition, as well as show you treatments to help alleviate or solve the problem. There are also some home remedies that you can try so that you can take matters into your own hands.

Stop suffering, and start doing something about it.

Itchy Scalp and Hair Loss – Causes and Treatments

One of the primary reasons that itchy scalp hair loss is so aggravating is that it’s hard to pinpoint why it’s happening in the first place. Fortunately, once you can identify the source of the problem, you should be able to at least prevent more hair from falling out, and perhaps even reverse the symptoms.

Before we continue, it’s imperative that you talk with your doctor or dermatologist about what could be causing both your itchy scalp and your hair loss. In many cases, they are interlinked, so solving for one will take care of the other, but sometimes, they are independent. As such, you want to make sure that your treatment is comprehensive enough to address both issues.

Also, we’re going to discuss potential reasons for your condition, but it’s imperative that you conduct more research before beginning any type of treatment. Unless you know for sure what’s happening under the skin, you won’t be able to solve the problem effectively.

 

Dandruff

More often than not, the reason that your scalp is itching is that the skin around the roots is flaking and peeling off. According to the National Institute of Health, about 2-5% of the population suffers from this condition.

If the flaking happens in multiple parts of your body (not just your hair), then it could be a form of eczema, or it could be something known as seborrheic dermatitis. However, if it is localized to the head, it is called Pityriasis Capitis. These terms are necessary if you want to discuss possible treatments with your doctor. There is a slight variation between the two, so it’s vital that you know which is which so that you don’t mess up your treatment options.

Although dandruff is mostly related to scalp itching more than anything else, it can lead to hair loss in a few cases. First, if you’re scratching a lot, then you could be damaging the follicles, which causes them to thin and fall out. Second, the skin could be loosening to the point where the hairs can be pulled out much more easily, either by scratching or brushing.

What’s important to remember is that everyone loses hair on a regular basis no matter what. Thus, these conditions can simply exacerbate something that’s already happening.

Causes of Dandruff

So why is dandruff so common? Unfortunately, there is not really a 100% consensus on how this problem develops in the skin, but there are some theories. Here are the most common reasons that you may have dandruff.

  • Malassezia: this is a type of yeast that lives in your skin already. It feeds on the oils secreted by your scalp and can cause flaking and scaling over time
  • Skin Disorders: if you suffer from eczema or extreme acne, it can manifest along the hair follicles, causing dandruff
  • Stress and Exhaustion: most people underestimate how much stress affects the body, but when it comes to hair, some of us are more damaged by it than others
  • Infrequent Washing: because Malassezia feeds on hair oils, it’s essential that you wash your hair often to keep it in check
  • Age: typically, dandruff affects both men and younger people the most. So, if you fall into both categories you may be more susceptible to it no matter what
  • Excessive Dryness: in some instances, the flaking may be a result of your scalp needing moisture and nutrients. If you live in a hot and dry climate, it could be doing damage to your skin and hair. In this case, essential oils may be enough to solve the problem

 

Treatment for Dandruff

Fortunately, since dandruff is so common, it can be treated just as easily. Usually, having shampoo that moisturizes and heals the skin can do a lot to mitigate or eliminate the problem. Nizoral A-D Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is very popular among those who have dandruff and hair loss problem. Its active ingredient Ketoconazole works to suppress the androgen receptor which is part of the process of testosterone conversion to DHT and its destructive action on hair follicles. However, while shampoo will provide fast and effective relief, there could still be lingering issues beneath the surface. This means that once you stop using the shampoo, the itchiness and flakes can come back.

Right now, there is no “cure” for dandruff, so it’s vital that you maintain a treatment plan for as long as possible. In some instances, you may need medicated shampoo if your condition is more severe than normal. However, as long as you keep treating the disease it should stay manageable.

In addition to shampoos, you may also use a fungicidal treatment. This method works to reduce the amount of Malassezia in your scalp, which can reduce the effects it has on your dandruff.

Overall, washing your hair frequently, minimizing your use of other products that can cause flaking (such as mousse or gel), and medication can keep your dandruff (and itchiness) under control. Once that happens, you might also notice fewer hairs dropping from your scalp.

 

Home Remedy for Dandruff

If you don’t like the idea of using pharmaceutical shampoos or other harsh chemicals on your hair, then there are different ways of treating your dandruff.

  • Diet: eating more zinc, fatty acids, and B vitamins can help restore your hair naturally. Click here for more information about foods for hair growth.
  • Use Organic Oils: tea tree oil is a common remedy for dandruff because it both moisturizes the scalp and helps kill any fungus or bacteria that could be lingering in the follicles. Check out other oils for hair growth
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: many people swear by this substance for a lot of home remedies for hair growth, but it seems to help with dandruff a lot. Just don’t go overboard with it

 

Psoriasis

Unlike dandruff, which can range from mild to severe, this condition is usually somewhat serious and requires medical attention. In some instances, you may have psoriasis that is incorrectly diagnosed as dandruff, so it’s imperative that you understand the differences. Most notably, psoriasis affects multiple parts of the body, not just the scalp.

Typically, you can tell if you have psoriasis if the itching is severe enough to cause you to scratch obsessively. Also, the flaking and redness will usually be more pronounced and painful as the condition worsens. Unfortunately, scratching the flakes will only exacerbate the problem, so you must resist the temptation.

Another way to tell the difference between psoriasis and regular dandruff is that the scales are more silver in color. Also, there may be large red patches that develop on the skin.

Cause of Psoriasis

Fortunately, we know why psoriasis happens, which means that treatments for it are highly effective when done often and correctly. This condition occurs when your immune system starts producing new cells at an accelerated rate. Typically, as old cells die they are replaced, and we shed them naturally. However, when the new cells are coming in too fast, they build up on the skin, creating these flakes and redness.

But what makes your immune system act this way? Several factors can contribute to psoriasis, particularly if it starts affecting you later in life.

  • Stress: again, this can have a profound effect on your body, which manifests in a variety of ways. In addition, stress can directly cause thinning hair
  • Head Trauma: an injury to the scalp may cause your immune system to kick into overdrive
  • Beta Blockers: these are usually found in medicines that treat high blood pressure or some mental issues. If psoriasis develops as a result of these medications, talk to your doctor about switching prescriptions
  • Smoking and Alcohol: some people are affected by these activities to the point where the immune system overreacts

 

Treatments for Psoriasis

For the most part, your doctor will prescribe a topical ointment or lotion that has to be applied to the skin directly. When using these products, it’s imperative that you separate the follicles enough to where the medicine can interact with the surface instantly. If the hair gets in the way, it won’t be able to do anything.

Usually, these ointments will contain some or all of the following ingredients.

  • Coal tar
  • Anthralin
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D3
  • Salicylic acid
  • Corticosteroids

Another option is to take a medication that affects your body internally. If you have too much hair or you don’t want to use a topical treatment, these are your next best bet. Your doctor may prescribe either pills or some kind of liquid medication that helps calm your immune system to alleviate your psoriasis. In some instances, you may even be told to take drugs as well as spread a topical cream on your scalp to enhance their effectiveness.

 

Home Remedies for Psoriasis

If your psoriasis is severe, then you will want to see a doctor or dermatologist about treatment. While these remedies may provide some relief, they are not designed to address the source of the problem. Nonetheless, combining them with medication can create an even more viable treatment program.

  • Use Moisturizer: apply it after washing your hair to ensure that it retains liquids and nutrients
  • Wash Your Hair More Often: avoid excessively hot water, though. Daily washing can help remove some of the flakes
  • Prevent Over Drying: stay out of the sun and try not to let your skin get too dry

 

Folliculitis

As you may be able to infer, this condition affects the hair follicles themselves, rather than the skin surrounding them. This is an infection that can quickly spread through your hair, so it’s crucial that you identify and treat it as quickly as possible.

Usually, when folliculitis first develops it isn’t too severe, but scratching excessively can make things a lot worse and help it spread.

Causes of Folliculitis

Typically speaking, you can get this condition by coming into contact with someone who is already infected. Touching their hair and then yours (by using the same brush, for example) can spread it to you almost instantly.

Bacteria, fungi, and yeast may be the source of folliculitis, so you have to treat it accordingly. In rare cases, sweat can clog the pores surrounding the follicles, which can lead to an infection.

Finally, if you go into a pool or hot tub with someone who’s infected and the water isn’t properly treated with chlorine, then you can get it that way.

 

Treatments for Folliculitis

Thankfully, folliculitis is not so severe that it will remain on your scalp indefinitely. Usually, it will only take a couple of weeks to clear up, so you may not need medication or treatments to get rid of it.

However, since an itchy scalp is annoying and frustrating, there are methods you can use to mitigate the problem or help it go away faster.

  • Use a Warm Compress: hold it against the affected areas. This will provide relief and enable you to avoid scratching.
  • Don’t Scratch: even though it can feel good at first, this will only cause the fungus or bacteria to spread. Don’t make things worse
  • Hydrocortisone Cream: you can get this over the counter, and it should help alleviate the itching

 

Home Remedies for Folliculitis

Some possible ways to get rid of folliculitis on your own include making an oatmeal based lotion and applying it directly to the skin. You can also rely on tea tree oil to both moisturize and sooth the follicles. In some cases, the oil may even kill the fungus causing the problem in the first place.

 

Conclusion

Although several other conditions can cause itchiness and hair loss, they are quite rare, especially when compared to the ones we’ve listed. However, just to provide a full list, here are some other possible culprits.

  • Tinea Capitis: also known as ringworm. It creates a circular red patch on the scalp and causes all hair to fall out inside
  • Lichen Planopilaris: this is a severe condition that attacks the follicles and forces them to fall out. It may also leave scarring
  • Head Lice: these bugs can irritate your scalp and cause itchiness, although they are not usually associated with hair loss
  • Hypothyroidism: a rare side effect of this condition could be itchy scalp hair loss

In the end, the most important thing you can do is visit your doctor and find out what is really going on underneath the skin. If none of these treatments work for you, then your itchy scalp and hair loss could be a result of some other disease or condition within your body. Remember, stress can have a massive impact on your overall health, so it could be something like that.

No matter what, it’s vital to know that you have options and that you don’t have to continue to suffer. Take action and start feeling better today.

 

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