Itchy Scalp? Is It More Than Just Dry Scalp?

It is a known fact that most people get itchy scalp and just assume its dry! They either default to oiling it or go straight to shampooing it, but it could be more complicated than you think!

Seasonal changes usually bring about changes in skin so this is one of the times of year that you may notice “dry scalp.”

Today I’m going to highlight a few different scalp disorders!

Scalp Psoriasis

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Scalp psoriasis is a very common skin disorder! Psoriasis can affect any skin surface but about half of the 7.5 million Americans with psoriasis have it on the scalp.  It is sometimes the only place that one may have it even though it is uncommon.

Scalp psoriasis can appear as a single patch, several patches, or cover the entire scalp.  It makes raised, reddish, scaly patches. Scalp psoriasis is NOT contagious.

Symptoms include:

  • Silvery-white scales
  • Scaly, red, bumpy patches
  • Dry scalp
  • Dandruff- like flaking
  • Itching
  • Burning or soreness
  • Hair loss**

** Scalp psoriasis DOES NOT cause hair loss but scratching a lot or very hard, picking the scaly spots, harsh treatment, and stress can lead to temporary hair loss.

There is no cure for psoriasis but your dermatologist can prescribe medicated shampoos and ointments for severe cases.  There are also some over the counter (OTC) options available at your local drug store.

(visit WebMD to learn more about causes, symptoms, and treatment)

Seborrheic Dermatitis

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Seborrheic dermatitis is another common skin condition that mainly affects the scalp.  It causes scaly patches, red skin, and stubborn dandruff.  Seborrheic dermatitis is also called dandruff, seborrheic eczema, and seborrheic psoriasis.  In infants it is commonly known as cradle cap which causes crusty, scaly patches on the scalp.

Symptoms:

  • Skin flakes (dandruff)
  • Patches of greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales
  • Red Skin
  • Itching

*** The signs and symptoms may be more severe if you’re stressed.  They also tend to flare in cold, dry seasons.

As with other skin disorders you can purchase OTC shampoos and ointments at a drug store or seek a dermatologist if you feel you have a more severe case.

(visit the Mayo Clinic online for more information)

Dandruff

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Small pieces of skin can flake off your scalp and leave a noticeable sprinkling of white on your shoulders.  Overly dry or oily skin can cause this as well as certain illnesses.  It can also be caused by a reaction to certain shampoos, soaps, or to a fungus on your scalp.

Treatments for dandruff will vary on the cause of the dandruff itself.  If it is caused by a reaction to your shampoo then I suggest swapping your shampoo for another.  You can also try an OTC shampoo like head and shoulders or sulfur 8.  If your dandruff does not go away you will need to visit a physician or dermatologist.

There other scalp disorders but these are the 3 most common disorders I come in contact with on a regular basis. If you suffer from any of these disorders be sure to tell your hair stylist when booking your hair appointment and being serviced.  They may have OTC options available during the appointment.

Also, if you feel that you suffer from more severe cases please visit your dermatologist for a stronger option to treat your scalp disorder.

 

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