Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"If my scalp itches does it mean that I have dandruff?"
Have a really itchy scalp. I don?t see white flakes really, which is what dandruff is I guess. If my scalp itches though, does that mean that I have dandruff? What else could make a person?s scalp so itchy?
The most common cause of an itchy scalp is seborrheic dermatitis, which is thought to be a result of a combination of oily skin and overgrowth of yeast. However, there are many other disorders and conditions that can lead to an itchy scalp, and it is difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of your condition without an in-person visit. The causes include inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, infection, allergies, and head lice. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disorder from a dysfunctional immune system, but the exact cause is unknown. Another autoimmune disorder is lupus that may cause your scalp to itch. Bacteria and yeast can cause an infection of your skin and hair follicles on your scalp, leading to an intensely itchy scalp. Head lice are extremely contagious that cause intense itching and may lead to skin breakdown and possible secondary bacterial infections. Another source of your itchy scalp can also be caused by an allergic contact dermatitis (i.e., allergy to chemicals in your shampoo). Have you switched to a new shampoo lately? Your emotional state, such as stress and anxiety, may also cause you to scratch your scalp more frequently. In some cases, an itchy scalp can lead to complications, especially if there is severe scratching leading to breakdown of the skin of the scalp that introduces bacteria or fungus into the layers of skin on the scalp resulting in infections. Such complications include open sores and lesions as well as hair loss, thinning hair, or bald patches. Complications of underlying causes of an itchy scalp can also occur as well. You can best reduce the risk of complications of an itchy scalp and its underlying causes from a visit with a primary care physician who can help you develop the treatment plan.
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