We scratch our heads when we’re thinking. We do it when we’re confused. We even do it when we’re angry — or the opposite, when we’re trying to relax. But in all those times when you’re itching to scratch, your head might actually be, well, itchy. And if you want to know what it really means when your head itches, there are a lot of possible reasons — and how to fix it.
If you’re finding some flakes falling when you’re scratching your head, chances are dandruff is the cause of your itch, the Cleveland Clinic reported. It happens when your body responds to too much yeast growth, which usually occurs on the scalp. Another alternative is the autoimmune disease psoriasis, which can also lead to itching and flaking skin, Psoriasis.org found.
But there might be other reasons why you’re seriously scratching your head. You might find that you have an unfortunate reaction to a new haircare product, like shampoo or conditioner. This condition, known as contact dermatitis, can be caused by an allergic reaction to beauty products that come into contact with your scalp. Thankfully, stopping usage of the product is sometimes enough to reverse the reaction.
Three more reasons why your head gets itchy
Unfortunately, there might be a creepy crawly reason you’re itching, and it has everything to do with critters that climb through your head and scalp. Head lice is a major cause of itching, the Mayo Clinic cited, and it’s fairly easy to diagnose: Just have someone inspect the strands of your hair to see if they see the itty-bitty bugs. And as if that weren’t enough, scabies (super small mites called Sarcoptes) can actually burrow into your skin and (ack!) lay their eggs, WebMD reported.
While an itchy scalp might be a total nuisance, it might be the sign of something more serious. If you don’t have any other physical symptoms, your itching might be a result of a nerve problem, the American Academy of Dermatology Association reported. And in some more severe cases, itching might be because of skin cancer, the AAD additionally reported. In both instances, you can consult with a dermatologist who will perform an exam to see if you need to go for further testing.
An itchy scalp is annoying at best, or it might be the result of an underlying medical condition. If you’re unsure of what’s causing it, you can stop the scratching by scheduling an appointment with a medical professional, who can truly get to the root of the problem… literally.
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