Itchy Scalps: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
At one point or another, many of us have experienced that annoying tingle, that tenacious itch on the head that seems impossible to relieve. An itchy scalp can be distressing and finding a solution can leave us, well, scratching our heads. However, understanding the the problem can help us manage it and uncover the best treatments.
In the most general terms, an itchy scalp refers is an inflamed skin condition, which may or may not be associated with a rash. If you are constantly scratching, it can be an indication that your skin has lost its moisture balance and, eventually, you may notice dry, white flakes, or dandruff. Because a variety of physical, environmental and lifestyle factors can potentially contribute to itchy scalp, pegging the underlying cause or causes requires some due diligence. Physical factors, such as skin conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, hormonal changes, and age can be at root. Equally, environmental and lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, smoking, changes in season and irritating shampoos and hair treatments can potentially offer an explanation.
Itchy scalp symptoms can come and go quickly, or they can appear and remain for prolonged period of time. The duration of the symptoms can hint to the cause. If you switched shampoos and suddenly experience itchy scalp, for example, you may be having a reaction to the ingredients in the product. On the other hand, if your symptoms are more consistent and ongoing, the cause may be related to other issues. Whatever the culprit or combination of culprits, a dry, itchy scalp needs proper treatment to restore its equilibrium.
Because itchy scalp is linked to dry skin, adequately moisturizing the scalp is essential. Scratching, although it may grant temporary relief, can actually exacerbate the problem—and in extreme cases, scratching can introduce infectious agents, such as bacteria and fungus. As you are restoring the moisture to the scalp, it is best to use a product that also addresses inflammation and soothes discomfort. The goal is to alleviate irritation and encourage the healing process.
Dr. Marder Scalp Therapy’s 2-Step System does just that. The System is a therapeutic treatment that contains hydrocortisone and pyrithione zinc, two key ingredients that have anti-inflammatory properties and antibacterial properties, respectively. The Total Relief Shampoo and Conditioner work together to relieve the symptoms of itchy scalp and promote healthier skin, while conditioning the hair. In step one, the shampooing process, hydrocortisone addresses scaling and flaking. In step two, the conditioning process, pyrithione zinc targets dandruff-causing bacteria. The2-Step System is safe and calming for all hair types, including chemically treated hair.
Stress can adversely affect the skin, including contributing to dandruff and itchy scalp. Minimizing anxiety and stress and maintaining a proper diet—rich in zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins E and B-12—and can help prevent dandruff.
Sometimes an itchy scalp can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. If you notice patches that bleed and crust, or if the itchy scalp persists, it is advisable to see a healthcare professional for an exam and diagnosis.