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Why Is My Head Itching So Bad?

Itching Head
Ten common reasons for head itching include infectious or autoimmune disease and allergic reactions.

When your head itches continuously, there may be many contributory factors. Head itching can be irritating and troublesome. Finding the cause and treating it should be a priority. Ten common reasons for head itching include infectious or autoimmune disease and allergic reactions.

Which infectious diseases cause head itch?

Some of the most common causes leading to head itching are:

  1. Dandruff: Dandruff mainly occurs as a result of the body’s response to yeast overgrowth, resulting in itching and a dry, flaky scalp. It primarily affects the hairy areas of the body. 
  2. Tinea capitis: Commonly known as ringworm, Tinea capitis is a fungal infection that affects the scalp. Tinea capitis goes deep into the hair follicle resulting in round patches of hair loss
    • Because these infections extend deep into hair follicles, physicians may prescribe oral antifungal medications. 
    • However, if the infection is superficial, then over-the-counter antifungals are the solution.
  3. Head lice: Head lice can invade anyone’s scalp, not just school children. Poor hygiene does not necessarily result in an infestation of head lice, as it may infest clean hair too. A louse spends most of its life cycle glued to a hair strand. 
    • Shampoos containing permethrin or pyrethrin can treat head lice
    • Follow the instructions on the label to get the desired results.
  4. Scabies: Mites cause scabies, resulting in intense itching. If it affects the scalp, then the itching may keep you awake all night. 
    • Patients should consult a board-certified dermatologist. The dermatologist prescribes topical creams containing permethrin or crotamiton and sulfur ointments for treating scabies.

What autoimmune disease causes itchy scalp?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes itchy scalp. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder causing reddish and scaly patches in the skin or scalp. The exact causative factors of this disease are unknown, but psoriasis is not contagious. A family history of psoriasis is a risk factor.

Physicians recommend medicated shampoos containing salicylic acid or coal tar to treat scalp psoriasis. If psoriasis doesn’t respond, topical cortisone is the treatment.

Which allergic reactions cause head itch?

  1. Allergic reactions: Allergic reactions to hair care products and hair dyes can cause itchy scalp. 
    • Para-phenylenediamine is an ingredient found in hair dye, which causes an allergic reaction
    • Discontinuing the Para-phenylenediamine product is the best solution to treat itchy scalp.
  2. Hives: Hives are small red itchy bumps that form in the skin as well as the scalp. 
    • Hives usually resolve on their own; however, hives lasting for more than six weeks are called chronic. 
    • Only chronic hives need treatment, which includes antihistamines.
  3. Atopic dermatitis: Atopic dermatitis involves redness and scaling of the scalp, along with a burning sensation and itching.
  4. Nerve Problem: If you experience persistent itching without any signs of a rash or other skin disorders, then this could be a sign of a nerve problem. 
  5. Skin Cancer: Basal cell carcinomas (BCC) symptoms include raised reddish patches of skin that may crust or itch, but are usually not painful.

QUESTION

Ringworm is caused by a fungus. See Answer

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Reviewed on 7/10/2020
References
References:

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/itchy-scalp-5-common-problems-and-fixes/

https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/itchy-skin/itch-relief/relieve-scalp-itch

https://www.medicinenet.com/skin_cancer_overview/article.htm
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