October 25th, 2010
08:28 AM ET

Why is my scalp so itchy?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Monday, it's Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician.

Question asked by Cindy of St. Louis, Missouri

My scalp has been itching really bad for about two months, I don't have lice or a flaky scalp, it's not even red. Any idea what would cause this?

Expert answer:

Thanks for your question. While your physician would be the best one to make a diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment, I consulted with Dr. Jeffrey Benabio, a dermatologist in San Diego and author of The Derm Blog, for general information about itchy scalps. He shared the following:

"Itchy scalp can be a frustrating problem. There are several things which can cause it. Dandruff is the most common. Dandruff is caused by overgrowth of yeast on your scalp. The yeast triggers inflammation and itching. It usually causes flaking, but not always. When the scalp is red and flaky from dandruff we often call it seborrheic dermatitis, but the cause is the same.

Allergic contact dermatitis is also a common cause of itchy scalp. Sometimes people develop an allergy to their hair color or to their shampoo, conditioner, or hair products. This is often intensely itchy and sometimes spreads to the back of your neck or your back (depending on the length of your hair).

Inflammation of the hair follicles or bacterial infection of the scalp can also cause itching. Usually people with this problem have acne-like bumps or pustules in the affected areas.

Other causes of itchy scalp are uncommon. Inflammatory and hair loss conditions of the scalp are rare, but can also cause itching. There are many of them–discoid lupus and hot comb alopecia are two examples. They always have areas of obvious hair loss.

Systemic, or whole body, diseases can sometimes cause scalp itching. Common diseases such as psoriasis and rare conditions such as dermatomyositis can cause itchy scalp. Both also cause redness and flaking.

Sometimes, frankly, we just don't know what causes the itching. Washing your hair too infrequently is more likely a problem than washing too much, as the scalp rarely dries out. Using anti-dandruff shampoos 2-3 times a week and over-the-counter anti-itching treatments such as Scalpicin (R) usually relives the problem."

soundoff (3,105 Responses)
  1. Maserati Emblem


    May 15, 2021 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Optometrist Near


    May 15, 2021 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Maserati St Pete

    There is certainly a lot to find out about this subject. I love all of the points you have made.


    May 15, 2021 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. rv mattresses near me


    May 15, 2021 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Local Marketing Firm

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he actually bought me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this matter here on your site.


    May 15, 2021 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. willian chelsea

    The swing is an accessory pastime. Go with multiple sets of low to medium reps. You shouldn't be afraid using Liverpool vs Real Madrid some real weight and go with sets of 4. These do best following a whopping movement like deadlifts.Whether it is a basketball pick, or football or another sport pick, you ought to conservative. Your individual game of Football is really a national past time. Football betting is heavily on such basis as various facts.{But, let's clear espresso up.protein is merely food in liquid means.


    May 15, 2021 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Social Media Marketing Reviews


    May 15, 2021 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Content Marketing Orange County

    When I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service? Kudos!


    May 15, 2021 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Video Marketing Services


    May 15, 2021 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Digital Marketing Pro


    May 15, 2021 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Seo Marketing Companies Near Me

    After I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. There has to be a means you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!


    May 15, 2021 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Aika Mmo


    May 15, 2021 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. collision repair shops near me


    May 15, 2021 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. camper accessories near me

    I was able to find good advice from your blog posts.


    May 15, 2021 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. aika private server


    May 15, 2021 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Digital Marketing Quote

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Cheers! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 15, 2021 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Internet Marketing Contractors

    May I just say what a comfort to uncover an individual who actually understands what they are talking about online. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you're not more popular because you certainly have the gift.


    May 15, 2021 at 21:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. combigan

    brimonidine eye drops combigan generic

    May 15, 2021 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Digital Marketing Videos

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Thanks for providing this information.


    May 15, 2021 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Internet Marketing Club

    I like reading through an article that can make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!


    May 15, 2021 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Seo Marketing Ideas


    May 15, 2021 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Content Marketing Videos


    May 15, 2021 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Aika Global

    Right here is the right site for anybody who wants to find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic which has been discussed for a long time. Excellent stuff, just great!


    May 15, 2021 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. aika private server

    Excellent post. I definitely appreciate this site. Keep it up!


    May 16, 2021 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Aika Game

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and the rest of the website is really good.


    May 16, 2021 at 00:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Content Marketing Videos


    May 16, 2021 at 01:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Persona Aika

    Hi, I do think this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return yet again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    May 16, 2021 at 01:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Aika Private Server


    May 16, 2021 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. combigan

    combigan eye drops generic brimonidine tartrate

    May 16, 2021 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Seo Marketing California


    May 16, 2021 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Digital Marketing Agency Near Me

    I love looking through a post that will make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!


    May 16, 2021 at 01:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Digital Marketing Events


    May 16, 2021 at 03:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Content Marketing Orange County

    Your style is so unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this blog.


    May 16, 2021 at 03:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Content Marketing Agency Orange County


    May 16, 2021 at 04:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Social Media Marketing Quote

    Great article. I'm going through some of these issues as well..


    May 16, 2021 at 05:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Brett Tuomala

    Olympic Park! That’s a great one. You’re right, they also have the sand pit plus the Olympic swimming pool for serious swimming action. Thanks for taking a look #fortheloveofBLOG X Sunita


    May 16, 2021 at 05:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Hel Networks Aika


    May 16, 2021 at 05:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Digital Marketing Companies


    May 16, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Aika Online Download


    May 16, 2021 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Repair Van

    This page truly has all the info I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 16, 2021 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. 2006 Mercades Sprinter 2500 Turbo Actuator Repair

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Cheers!


    May 16, 2021 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. aitan arena aika private server


    May 16, 2021 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Aika Online

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me breakfast because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this subject here on your website.


    May 16, 2021 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Ford Van Repair


    May 16, 2021 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Authorized Dodge Sprinter Repair

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this web site.


    May 16, 2021 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Maserati Precio 2016

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog posts.


    May 16, 2021 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Maserati For Sale In Texas


    May 16, 2021 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. 2014 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own website now 😉


    May 16, 2021 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Van Rust Repair


    May 16, 2021 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Maserati Warranty

    Very good blog post. I certainly love this site. Keep it up!


    May 16, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.