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Reasons for Itchy Scalp

Updated February 21, 2019

Itching of the scalp may be annoying and cause embarrassment. The reasons for itchiness of the scalp include fungal and parasitic infections, skin disorders and allergic reactions. Treatments for itchy scalp depend on the cause of the itching and include antihistamines, antifungals and medicated shampoos.

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Ringworm is a fungal infection that may occur anywhere on the skin, including the scalp, and causes itchiness and hair loss.


Dandruff, a scalp condition that can cause itching and flaking of the skin, is treated with medicated shampoos.

Scalp Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis causes thick scales of skin on the scalp that itch and burn and may bleed when dry or cracked.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis can cause itchy bumps and scaling of the skin of the scalp that can flake off and look like dandruff.

Head Lice

Head lice are parasites that spread through personal contact and cause intense itching of the scalp, neck and around the ears.


Contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that can occur on the scalp and causes itching and swelling.


An allergic reaction to pollen, pet dander, foods or plants such as poison ivy or poison oak can cause itching all over the skin and scalp.

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About the Author

Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.

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