Causes of Itchy Scalp – Reason, Extreme and at Night

Causes of Itchy Scalp – Reason, Extreme and at Night


What are the main causes of itchy scalp? What causes an itchy scalp at night? Find the reason behind extreme itchy scalp at night and the treatment to ease it. The cause of your itchy scalp could be a serious health condition. Learn which conditions are associated with itchy scalp.

The health of your scalp is vital as it determines how well your hair grows.  This is why any sensitivities of itching when detected early should be treated to prevent itchy scalp hair loss. While most people will always disregard an itchy scalp as dandruff, there are numerous causes, both external and internal causes.

What Causes Itchy Scalp- Itchy Scalp Causes in General
What Causes Itchy Scalp

It takes the change of some of the external behaviors to ease the itchiness on your scalp. However, for some of the internal causes of itchy scalp you may have to see a dermatologist or another medical professional so that you can be completely cured. Itchy scalps are common in adults and nevertheless, they do occur in children. Find out what the causes of itchy scalp in both children and adults are in this article, and the different types of itchy scalps.

What Causes Itchy Scalp- Itchy Scalp Causes in General

Itchy scalp causes as I indicated earlier are from both external and internal factors. The external factors have to do with how you treat your scalp. Internal factors on the other hand, indicate underlying medical conditions that cause your skin to itch.

When it comes to external factors, what causes itchy scalp could be:

  • Over washing or under washing your scalp. You should not wash your scalp daily or less often, two to three times in a week is the ideal frequency.
  • Using shampoos, conditioners and serums with harsh chemicals such as alcohol, sulfate compounds, silicone, formaldehyde and fragranced hair washes are the other itchy scalp causes
  • Drying your hair using maximum heat
  • Using hard water to wash your scalp
  • Hot water when used to wash your hair can also cause itching on scalp
  • Getting burned by the sun for long hours on your scalp
  • Using disinfected combs on scalp
  • Lice bites
  • Change of weather
  • Hairstyles that require the use of synthetic hair additions

On the other hand, what causes itchy scalp are medical conditions that can be ruled out by a certified medical practitioner. While some are minor conditions, others are quite serious and unless they are cured, it will not be the end of the itchy scalp.

  • Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism where the thyroid glands over produce or under produce hormones
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Anemia
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Skin problems such as scabies, Ringworms, psoriasis, and eczema
  • Physiological factors of stress and anxiety.
  • Food allergies
  • Use of some medications especially pain relievers such as hydrocodone

All the above itchy scalp causes could also lead to flare up of itching.

Main Reasons for Itchy Scalp

While most of the above causes of itchy scalp are scary, they are rare. They may not be the reason why most people have itchy scalps. Otherwise, anyone with itchy skin would be sickly. The main reasons for itchy scalp are:

  • Dry scalp, which lacks moisture or cannot retain it
  • Dandruff, whose accumulation causes itchy flaky scalp
  • Fungal infection from malessezia globosa a microorganism that feeds on excess sebum produced on scalp. it then releases an inflammatory oil that causes itching
  • Bacterial infections due to excessive scratching with dirty fingernails, your itchy scalp may become infected. Consequently, it will be an itchy scalp with bumps that occur as staph infection, follucilitis, acne and sebaceous cysts among others

Extremely Itchy Scalp Treatment –Treating Extremely Itchy Scalp

Failure to curb itching on scalp may make it extreme and therefore, unbearable. It can be quite embarrassing to interact with people while scratching your scalp. Apart from white debris flying off your scalp, other people may imagine that you are dirty and unhygienic.

It is therefore imperative to look for treatment before you get an extremely itchy scalp. The first towards treating extremely itchy scalp should entail changing your shampoo to a suitable one. If you have a brand with harsh chemicals do not hesitate to toss it in the trash. Furthermore, make sure you wash your hair in alternate days with shampoos containing selenium, ketoconazole, tar, salicylic acid, resorcin, and zinc.  Select the best shampoos for itchy scalp with these ingredients and watch how your scalp behaves using them.

A brand that contains natural ingredients is also useful in healing your scalp without further complications. You should also oil your scalp with natural oils such as jojoba, coconut oil, castor oil mixed with one or more essentials oils. These oils will offer deep moisture to your dry scalp.

Nizoral AD Shampoo - Causes of Itchy Scalp
Nizoral AD Shampoo

If the itchy scalp does not heal, an extremely itchy scalp will be the outcome and only a doctor can treat it with prescription shampoos and lotions. However, it does not hurt to try some of the over the counter treatments of corticosteoroids, Nizoral AD Shampoo or Psoriatrax 5% Coal Tar Shampoo. A Psoriasis lotion should also accompany this if the cause of your extremely itchy scalp is this skin condition.

Another cause of extremely itchy scalp is a combination of psoriasis and eczema and should be treated with the supervision of your doctor. You may be asked to bask in the sun to get Vitamin D on your scalp. However, this should not be done excessively, as you could end up getting sun burnt.

Itchy Scalp at Night Causes and Treatment

It is almost natural to have an itchy scalp more at night than during the day. When you have itchy scalp at night, it could be that you are suffering from serious food allergies. Then the body is not active much at night and in complete silence and rest, you are bound to be hypersensitive to itching.

Food allergies will not only turn up in form of itchy scalp, but you could also experience some hives or bumps on your scalp. Treating food allergies is easy with antihistamine. However, if you have to use them each day of your life, there is underlying condition that needs to be checked by your doctor. You can also make use of sedating antihistamine to help you enjoy a good night sleep.

Another cause of itchy scalp at night is eczema. Although eczema is treatable with prescription emollients and oral medication known as Alitretinoin, a retinoid, it can get complicated when you scratch severely. An infection could occur from your itchy scalp at night, which can is treatable with oral and topical antibiotics.

In order to avoid scratching your scalp at night, wear gloves when you go to sleep, the same case for babies. Dress them in mittens to prevent the excessive scratching of itchy scalp at night. You can always know a child with eczema for the itchy scalp at night and the lack of sleep.

Putting cool compresses on scalp may also help ease the itch at night. Furthermore, oiling the scalp with natural oils and combing before going to bed is also advisable.

Causes of Red Itchy Scalp and How to Treat

The constant rubbing of skin can lead to all sorts of problems on skin from itchy flaky scalp to red patches. If you experience red itchy scalp and soreness, then clearly you should see a dermatologist to give you the best treatment.

It is not always that a change of hair products will ease the itch on your scalp.  Similarly, some prescription ointments and shampoos may also make the situation worse. In case this happens, home remedies for itchy scalp would be the perfect escape route if you have red itchy scalp.  It could be that the chemicals in the shampoos, ointments and the treatments are reacting against your scalp and you should discontinue using them.

However, if the redness comes with pain, the red itchy scalp could be infected and you would require oral prescription medicine. If there is no pain, then you have to avoid scratching your scalp at all costs.

Another cause of red itchy scalp is lice bites. These wingless bugs hide in mattresses and beddings in general. When your scalp is infested by these bugs, you can feel them crawling on your scalp. In order to treat the red itchy scalp you would have to destroy the nits. This is possible with certain medications such as synthetic pyrethroids and permethrin.

You should also wash all your clothes and beddings, including the mattress in hot water and dry them under the sun to kill them completely. You could also have a red itchy scalp due to scabies, which can be treated by a dermatologist variously.

Causes of Baby Itchy Scalp

Tots too suffer from itchy scalps. In babies, it is also known as cradle cap. Baby itchy scalp in most cases clears on its own, However, in some cases it does not. You have to make use of mild shampoos and oils to make it go away. You can tell a baby’s cradle cap is itchy by the way he or she rubs the temples. Most mothers insist that Johnsons Baby shampoo is not ideal to take care of itchy scalp in babies. If you find a baby has no relief when you use it on her, it is time to change to a milder and antibacterial shampoo such as Cetaphil or CeraVe. Furthermore, you must use baby oil or olive oil and comb the hair to remove the flakes there.

However, do not leave olive oil on the baby’s head it could make the baby itchy scalp worse. Rinse it off with warm water. Eczema is also a condition common in babies below five years. If the above treatment of shampooing, oiling and combing does not work, you may have to take your baby to a dermatologist.