ID'ing the cause of your itchy scalp is crucial to finding the right treatment. What works for mild dandruff isn't going to be effective on a serious skin condition. Let's take a look at the possibilities:
- Contact dermatitis. If your skin is sensitive to certain ingredients or dyes, your solution is simple: Switch products.
- Scalp psoriasis. Scalp psoriasis is caused by a malfunctioning immune system. Its hallmark is red, scaly patches.
- Scalp ringworm. A fungal infection related to athlete's foot, scalp ringworm results in scaly or bald patches Mayo Clinic].
- Malassezia. Ringworm isn't the only fungus that infests the scalp. A yeast-like organism called malassezia can cause dandruff, too.
In children, an itchy scalp is often the sign of head lice, a common childhood disease that spreads easily. The parasites feed on blood, and an allergic reaction to their saliva is what causes the itch [source: Mayo Clinic].