5 Surprising Facts About Itchy Scalp

Match Treatment to Your Symptoms.

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].