itchy scalp and hair loss connection
By Tamim Hamid Updated on 05/30/2024

Are Itchy Scalp and Hair Loss Related? 7 Major Causes

So, you are experiencing the discomfort of an itchy scalp and worrying about hair loss? Don’t worry! You’re not alone. Itchy scalp hair loss is a common concern that affects both men and women all around the world. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, and effective solutions to help you tackle this issue.

But what exactly is itchy scalp hair loss?

Itchy scalp hair loss is a condition in which the persistent itching of the scalp is accompanied by hair thinning or loss. It can be both a frustrating and distressing experience. It's important to understand the underlying causes to find the right treatment.

Are Itchy Scalp and Hair Loss Connected?

Yes, itchy scalp and hair loss can be connected sometimes. Persistent itchy scalps can lead to sudden hair loss, and there are several conditions to which these two issues can be related. Some conditions, such as tinea capitis, ringworm, and Lichen Planopilaris, can result in both itching and hair loss as main symptoms.

Itchy scalp is often a result of inflammation that can affect the hair follicles. When the hair follicles are inflamed, they become weaker and eventually lead to hair loss. Conditions that cause frequent and excessive scalp itch can indirectly lead to hair loss if there is excessive rubbing or scratching of the scalp, leading to hair and scalp damage and resulting in hair loss or breakage.

Find out how scalp inflammation and hair loss are connected.

However, in some cases, one can occur before the other. For example, when you lose hair, it leads to scar tissue development on the scalp. This can cause itchiness. On the other hand, an itchy scalp can make you scratch your scalp too much or too hard. This can cause damage to hair follicles and skin, leading to hair loss.

What Causes Itchy Scalp And Hair Loss?

Itchy scalp and hair loss can occur independently, but sometimes there may be a link between them. Allergic reactions to hair products, fungal infections, and inflammation of hair follicles can cause itching of the scalp, damage hair follicles, and lead to hair loss. Here are some causes of itching scalp and hair loss:

what causes itchy scalp and hair loss?

Scalp Conditions

One of the primary culprits responsible for itchy scalp hair loss is various scalp conditions, such as dandruff, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis. These conditions can lead to itching and inflammation, disrupting the hair growth cycle.

Although dandruff causes dry and itchy scalp, hair loss due to dandruff is very rare. Dandruff only causes hair loss if you don’t treat it on time and also scratches your scalp a lot.

Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that causes itchiness and a red rash. Although atopic dermatitis is not a direct cause, it can lead to excessive scratching, which may cause temporary hair loss.

Whereas psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes dry, red patches with a covering of silver scales to form. Hair loss might occur if an individual scratches the psoriasis scabs on their scalp and the scabs fall off.

Hair Care Products

The products you use on your hair and scalp play a significant role. Shampoos with harsh ingredients, styling products, or excessive heat styling can irritate your scalp and lead to itchy head with temporary hair loss.

Allergic reactions to hair products can also irritate the scalp and hair follicles, resulting in itchiness. In most cases, the reactions are mild, and irritation or inflammation on the scalp is temporary. However, if irritation persists, it can lead to hair follicle damage and hair loss.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become inflamed and infected. If it is left untreated, severe infections can lead to itchy head and hair loss. It can affect people of all ages and is characterized by red, pimple-like bumps or small boils that can be itchy and painful.

Lichen Planopilaris

It is a rare inflammatory condition that affects the hair follicles and leads to scarring hair loss. It is considered a subtype of mucous membranes. Lichen planopilaris specifically targets hair follicles and can result in permanent hair loss.

Tinea Capitis

Tinea Capitis is more commonly known as ringworm of the scalp. Ringworm usually presents with scalp itchiness that can lead to hair loss or thinning. It also appears with a rash that might arise red or silver, as well as black bumps. This fungal infection can lead to hair breaking off at the scalp or just above, creating subtle.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety cause our bodies to release more of the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can make the scalp feel itchy and lead to hair loss. Stress and inflammation can also cause hair follicles to go into a resting phase, leading to hair shedding and thinning.

Poor Diet

Whether you believe it or not! Poor diet causes itchy scalp and leads to hair thinning. Nutritional deficiencies like iron, zinc, protein, and vitamins A, C, D, and B are connected to dry, itchy scalp as well as hair loss. A lack of these essential vitamins can scramble the growth of hair. So proper intake of balanced diet is crucial for overall hair health.

Get to know more in detail on role of nutrition in hair growth.

Symptoms of Itchy Scalp and Hair Loss

A dry, itchy scalp and considerable hair loss are signs that something is not quite right. Several conditions can cause these paired symptoms of an itchy, irritated scalp and sudden excess hair loss. Here are some key symptoms to be aware of:

  • Patches of thick, smooth scales on the scalp: Sometimes, when someone has an itchy head and loses hair, their scalp can get thick, smooth scales or crusty patches. These scaly patches are often very itchy and uncomfortable. The scales may be thick in some areas but smooth and flat in others. Scratching these scales can cause bleeding and make hair fall out in those spots, leaving bald patches on the scalp.
  • Flakes: Having lots of flakes on the scalp is a common symptom when you are losing hair due to an itchy scalp. These flakes can be white, yellow, or grayish. They may look like dandruff flakes or dry skin flaking off the scalp.
  • Small white bumps on the hair: These could be nits or head lice eggs. A medical professional may need to perform a visual examination to identify signs of lice.
  • Small raised bumps: Sometimes, when you have an itchy scalp that's causing your hair to fall out, you might also get little raised bumps on your scalp. These tiny bumps could look like pimples or insect bites. They can make the scalp feel scratchy and bothersome. The bumps may be red or the same color as the skin. Some might even have fluid inside if they get infected from too much scratching.
  • Red spots, pus-filled bumps, and hair loss: All of these can be symptoms of ringworm when they appear at the same time.
  • Difficulty sleeping: An itchy scalp that doesn't stop can make it very hard to get good sleep. The constant itchiness and urge to scratch can keep you awake at night. Losing hair can also cause lots of stress, which disrupts sleep. Not sleeping well then makes the itchy scalp and hair shedding worse. It becomes a difficult cycle.
  • Dry, red scalp: Having a dry, red scalp is often a sign that it is very irritated and itchy. The redness means the scalp is inflamed, while dryness leads to itchiness and flakiness. A dry, red, itchy scalp may cause someone to scratch a lot, which can make hair strands fall out more easily. The scalp may look red all over or just have patches of redness.

Home Remedies for Itchy Scalp Hair Loss

There are several at-home or natural remedies for treating hair loss and scalp itchiness. Some of them are:

home remedies for itchy scalp hair loss

1. Use Natural Oils

Using Oils like coconut, tea tree, and lavender oil to help soothe your scalp and promote hair growth. They have anti-inflammatory properties that can strengthen the hair strands, prevent breakage, and reduce itchiness.

2. Apply Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar

It has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. This vinegar rinse can rebalance your scalp’s pH levels and alleviate itching and other common scalp conditions caused by factors like dandruff and Foliculitis.

3. Maintain Scalp Hygiene

It is also an important step to address itchiness. When our body produces too much sebum, it can spread on our scalp, resulting in greasy hair and a scalp infection. So, wash your hair more frequently and medicate shampoo and conditioner.

4. Proper Diet

Consume foods that are good for hair growth, such as fish, eggs, Nuts, spinach and soy drinks.

5. Regular Washing

Use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo to wash your hair regularly. This product will help remove excess oil, dirt, and debris from your scalp.

6. Baking Soda

Gently massage baking soda and water paste into your scalp and rinse thoroughly. Baking soda can exfoliate the scalp and reduce itchiness.

7. Use Shampoos to Help with Dandruff

Dandruff also causes itchiness on the scalp. Look for shampoos containing active ingredients like selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, or coal tar. These help to reduce the fungus on the scalp that causes dandruff.

When to See a Doctor

You should seek medical treatment for symptoms of itchy scalp and subsequent hair loss.

  • Which includes itching that is so severe that it disturbs your sleep or interferes with your normal activities
  • The scalp is burning or painful to the touch
  • Crusty spots on your scalp
  • Bald patches, or if you're losing hair in clumps or you notice unexpected hair thinning

Theradome for Promoting Hair Growth

Theradome laser hair growth helmet is a medical device which is designed to promote hair growth in individuals who are experiencing hair thinning and hair loss. The helmet uses low-level laser therapy (LLLT) technology as a non-invasive method to stimulate hair follicles and encourage hair regrowth. The red light penetrates the scalp and is believed to stimulate hair follicles, increasing blood flow and energy production in the cells, which can potentially lead to hair regrowth.

Theradome, the hair shedding solution, is designed as a hands-free helmet like device which makes it convenient and easy to use at home. It is a comfortable and secure fit to ensure that lasers are evenly distributed across the scalp. Theradome helmets are clinically tested and also approved by the FDA for OTC use.

Theradome is often recommended for individuals with androgenetic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness) and those in the early stages of hair loss. In order to get the most out of the helmet, it is recommended to use the device in conjunction with other hair loss treatments and medications.

Conclusion

Dealing with an itchy scalp and hair loss can be challenging, but understanding their connection and causes is the first step toward effective treatment. Various scalp conditions, hair care products, infections, stress, and poor diet can contribute to these issues. While it can be frustrating, home remedies like natural oils, apple cider vinegar, and proper scalp hygiene can help alleviate symptoms. However, if the problem persists or worsens, consulting a doctor is crucial. Also, innovative solutions like the Theradome laser hair growth helmet offer promising results for many, providing a convenient way to stimulate hair regrowth and improve scalp health.

FAQs

Are itchy scalp and hair loss related?

Indeed, an itchy scalp and hair loss can be correlated. An itchy, irritated scalp caused by conditions like dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis may lead to excessive scratching and hair shedding over time.

Is it ok to apply oil on an itchy scalp?

Yes, it is okay to apply oil to an itchy scalp. Using natural oils, such as coconut oil, tea tree, and olive oil, can help soothe and moisturize the scalp.

Can dry itchy scalp cause hair thinning?

Yes, Dry, itchy scalps lead to hair thinning. People are likely to scratch more actively When the scalp is dry, itchy, and irritated. This frequent scratching can damage the hair follicles over time and make it easier for hair to fall out, which leads to hair thinning.

Does anxiety and stress cause itchy scalp?

Anxiety and stress can actually cause an irritatingly itchy scalp as they increase cortisol levels, which are directly connected to hair follicles. Internal pressure can also be linked to the growth of fungi disease on the scalp, which causes it to crack, leading to itchiness.

What is the best treatment for itchy scalp?

The best treatment for an itchy scalp depends on the root cause. However, a medicated shampoo containing ingredients like selenium sulfide, coal tar, or salicylic acid can often relieve relief.

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Tamim Hamid

Tamim Hamid

Inventor and CEO of Theradome

Sayyid Tamim Hamid, Ph.D, is the inventor of the world’s first FDA-cleared, wearable phototherapy device to prevent hair loss and thicken and regrow hair. Tamim, a former biomedical engineer at NASA and the inventor of Theradome, brings with him more than 38 years of expertise in product development, laser technology, and biomedical science. Tamim used his laser knowledge, fine-tuned at NASA, and combined it with his driving passion for helping others pursue a lifelong mission in hair loss and restoration. He is now one of the world’s leading experts.