Can Itchy Scalp Cause Hair Loss?

balding senior man skratching his other ear

 

A variety of factors play a role in the level of hair loss that requires scalp treatment, but hair loss due to itchy scalp, while potentially caused by a number of conditions, is the easiest to treat.

Often, proper itchy scalp treatment can be something as simple as changing the type of shampoo you are using. A number of shampoos exist for irritated scalps, and many of them are available over the counter, too! These include medicated shampoos such as ketoconazole (Nizoral) and, in extreme cases, topical steroid creams and lotions are available.

balding senior man skratching his other ear

Connection Between an Itchy Scalp and Hair Loss

While there’s no direct connection between an itchy scalp and hair loss, scalp itchiness is a symptom of some potentially serious conditions that can lead to hair loss. Additionally, even though the itchy sensation doesn’t cause your hair to fall out, the harsh pressure from incessantly scratching your scalp does cause dryness, flakiness, and hair loss. It can even severely damage the hair follicles and prevent them from producing more strands of hair in the future.

Connection Between an Itchy Scalp and Hair Loss

While there’s no direct connection between an itchy scalp and hair loss, scalp itchiness is a symptom of some potentially serious conditions that can lead to hair loss. Additionally, even though the itchy sensation doesn’t cause your hair to fall out, the harsh pressure from incessantly scratching your scalp does cause dryness, flakiness, and hair loss. It can even severely damage the hair follicles and prevent them from producing more strands of hair in the future.

Causes of an Itchy Scalp

If your scalp is always uncomfortably itchy to the point where it becomes unmanageable, then it’s time to seek medical attention because this usually means something is very wrong. There are many common causes of an itchy scalp that usually result in either minor or severe hair loss. Some of these conditions can easily be treated with all natural home remedies, whereas other more serious conditions might require medical treatment.

If you are losing hair and have a painful and itchy scalp, it is strongly recommended that you contact your doctor immediately, since it may be a symptom of any number of medical conditions, including:

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis

More commonly known as dandruff, this mainly affects the scalp, but it can also strike other areas of the body that are oily, including the chest, face, and back. The most common symptoms of dandruff include itchy, scaly patches; red skin; and flaking. Most people can treat their dandruff easily with shampoos and topical ointments, but in severe cases, a doctor-prescribed scalp treatment may be required.

  • Hair Care Products

Certain hair care products can lead to itchy scalp. Treatment is easy, however; simply discontinue using them. Hot rollers and curling irons can cause damage to hair as well.

  • Alopecia Totalis

Alopecia totalis is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack and destroy healthy body tissue, leading to hair falling out in round patches, leaving smooth areas where the hair once was. Some sufferers may also suffer from an itchy and burning scalp.

Alopecia totalis affects men, women, and children, though it’s more common to those who have recently experienced trauma, had a stressful period, and/or given birth. Severe cases will require medical scalp treatment, but thankfully, if the condition is not widespread, hair will start to regrow after a few months.

  • Tinea Capitis

Tinea capitis, or ringworm of the scalp, is a fungal infection of the scalp that is almost always accompanied by an itchy sensation. It may involve certain parts of the scalp or all of it and is characterized by patches of raised, scaly skin or small, black dots caused by hair that has broken off. Those afflicted may also have a low-grade fever. Treatment is usually a medicated shampoo, along with keeping the affected area clean.

  • Folliculitis

Folliculitis is an incredibly irritating and contagious skin infection that destroys the hair follicles from within. Outwardly, it produces disgusting and itchy blemishes on the skin that become increasingly inflamed with pus or blood the more you scratch them. These pimples can occur anywhere on the body and scratching them is discouraged because you could end up spreading the virus to other parts of your body or even to other people through physical contact. Usually, folliculitis should clear up on its own as long as you don’t scratch, but if it doesn’t, your best course of action is to seek medical attention.

  • Psoriasis

Psoriasis is another skin condition that can develop anywhere on the body. This condition causes dead skin cells to dry and harden on the scalp rather than fall out as they naturally would, creating a scaly affect on the skin. Like folliculitis, psoriasis doesn’t directly cause hair loss as a result of an itchy scalp. It’s the removal process which involves peeling off the dead skin cells that can inadvertently lead to hair loss or patchiness coupled with excessive scratching that causes hair loss and damage to the follicles.

  • Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs as a result of your scalp coming into contact with something that might irritate your skin. This is more likely to happen if you have an especially sensitive scalp. It could be caused by various fabrics in pillowcases, hats, or towels, as well as hairstyling products or even shampoos and conditioners.

  • Head and Body Lice Infections

Since most women tend to wear their hair long, they’re usually more susceptible to head lice infestations. Once you contract head lice (which are spread by making physical contact with another person who has lice), they can rapidly spread to other parts of your body that contain hair follicles if the condition is left untreated for too long. Lice harvest their eggs on healthy and clean hair strands so that their offspring can thrive and spread to other hair follicles. They suck blood from the scalp, making it unbearably itchy and resulting in a great deal of hair loss in females due to extreme scratching.

Scalp Treatment in Toronto

If you are suffering from hair loss due to itchy scalp, The Canadian Institute of Hair and Scalp Specialists again advises you to visit your doctor first, since it may be caused by one of the medical conditions listed above. But once you have received treatment, we can restore your hair quickly. We offer surgical hair transplants, as well as non-surgical treatments that can restore your hair before you know it!

For more information about our hair restoration treatments, contact us at (905) 272-0190 or toll-free at 1-800-563-3836 today.

transplant right

Sources:

“Hair Loss,” MedicineNet.com; https://www.medicinenet.com/hair_loss/article.htm, last accessed on December 8, 2014.

“Hair loss,” MedlinePlus, May 15, 2013; https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003246.htm.

by Ken Robson

In business since August 1, 1986, I am the president and also a client at The Canadian Institute of Hair & Scalp Specialists. Having worked with a team of Doctors and Chemists over the years I have compiled a great deal of knowledge in this area, originally involved with a Pharmaceutical company manufacturing vitamins for the hair loss industry. Years ago I was fascinated by the new developments in this area as my own hair was beginning to thin. Studying Trichology at the Toronto clinic I then opened my own office and have enjoyed it ever since.

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