In this video we’ll look at the 5 main reasons behind an itchy scalp, how to solve it, how it can cause hair loss, and how to stop it so you can regrow your hair.
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An itchy scalp can be a real pain, especially because it is not easy to find out the exact cause. But if left untreated, the constant scratching and inflammation may trigger an even more noticeable problem: hair loss.
In most cases, an itchy scalp is just a symptom of another underlying medical condition that interferes with the normal working condition of the scalp.
As such, the best response to itchy scalp hair loss can only be accomplished after prior understanding of the medical conditions that directly affect the scalp.
The Five Common Causes of Itchy Scalp
There are many medical conditions and environmental factors that can cause an itchy scalp. Here is an in-depth look at the five most common.
Pityriasis capitis, more commonly known as dandruff, is a chronic inflammatory malady that manifests as itchy patches on the scalp that result in white or grey flaking.
The buildup of white sebum on the scalp can be a sign of an unhealthy scalp and possible future hair thinning
The condition exhibits symptoms that are similar to those of a closely related disease known as seborrheic dermatitis (1). However, while seborrheic dermatitis may affect other parts of the body including the face and the neck, dandruff exclusively attacks the scalp.
According to the National Institute of Health (2), dandruff has a worldwide prevalence rate of between 2% and 5%. It affects both sexes, though it’s more prevalent in men and usually sets in after puberty. In infants, the disease is known as cradle cap.
Strong scientific evidence suggests that the disease is caused by a species of yeast known as Malassezia, which normally lives in the skin (3). The disease responds to antifungal medications very strongly, a fact that supports the argument that yeast is a causal agent.
Physicians usually carry out a scalp biopsy, where a small part of the scalp skin is removed and examined under a high resolution microscope.
The following are the risk factors for dandruff:
Infrequent hair cleansing
Stress and fatigue
Skin disorders such as acne
Recovery from chronic conditions like heart attack and stroke
Age, especially young adulthood
Excessively oily scalp
If you use a minoxidil product then this can also cause itching, dryness, and dandruff. This is mostly from the alcohol content that most products use as a solvent – and it’s why I recommend alcohol free versions of minoxidil.
Flaky white or grey scales in the hair and on the shoulders
Red patches on the scalp in extreme cases
Sore and/or tingly scalp
Scaling rash on scalp
Why Dandruff Is Bad for Your Hair
Dandruff does not directly cause hair loss. It is the intense itching that makes people lose hair. If your scalp feels itchy, you quite naturally tend to scratch it. Constantly rubbing the hair causes the individual hairs to loosen and, eventually, fall out.
Dandruff Hair Loss Treatment
Dandruff treatment has been the subject of numerous studies aimed at finding the most efficient and reliable product, with most studies concentrating on antifungal products.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, shampoos containing zinc pyrithione perform significantly better than products without it (4). Other numerous studies also seem to suggest that zinc pyrithione is the go-to chemical.
A different study revealed that shampoos containing zinc pyrithione have the ability to treat a dandruff scalp well enough to bring it towards the characteristics of a non-dandruff scalp (5). However, studies in this area remain inconclusive. Besides zinc pyrithione, other anti-fungal treatments that are commonly used include:
Products like Nizoral containing ketoconazole (6)
Dermatologists advise people to stop using anti-fungal shampoos as soon as dandruff disappears. If one product does not work for you, try combining two anti-dandruff products.
Other tips that you may find helpful in treating dandruff include:
Avoiding products that build up on the scalp producing more flakes and itching. These may include hairsprays and mousses.
Incorporate foods that contain zinc into your diet. These may include seafood, meats, pumpkin seeds, and vegetables.
You may also want to reduce how often you wash your hair.
This video is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease