Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why is my scalp so itchy?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy is my scalp so itchy?


I don't have lice or dandruff but my scalp is still super itchy. Can it just be dry skin? Can you get dry skin on your scalp or is it probably something else?


Dry skin on the scalp is actually extremely common. It is definitely more common in fall and winter months, when the air becomes cool and dry. It is also made worse by excessive showering with hot water or the use of strong soaps and shampoos, as these strip away the skin's natural protective oils. Many times, simply backing off on the frequency with which you shower or wash your hair can be enough to make a difference. Also, it is helpful to think about whether any particular cleaning products that you use might be making things worse; if you notice an association between a particular soap or shampoo and itching, you should think about switching to a milder product. It would also be helpful to see your primary care doctor about the issue. They will be able to examine your scalp to make sure there is not something going on other than simple dry skin. For example, an inflammatory condition of the scalp known as seborrheic dermatitis is extremely common and can sometimes be mistaken for dry skin; however it requires specific kinds of treatments in order clear up completely. Make an appointment with your doctor at your earliest convenience.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.