Mar 2, 2013

Itchy Scalp Remedies

Causes of itchy scalp include dry scalp, dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, contact dermatitis, head lice infestation, ring worm of the scalp, tinea amiantacea, lichen planus, hair follicle inflammation, neurogenic excoriation and pyogenic infection of scalp. It is evident that no single shot remedy can effectively get rid of the scalp itching.

Itchy scalp remedies include diagnosis of the specific underlying disease and general and specific measures of treatment according to the causes of itchy scalp.

Diagnosis of Itchy Scalp

This involves both clinical and laboratory diagnosis.

Clinical Diagnosis of Itchy Scalp

Most diseases causing itchy scalp like psoriasis and lichen planus have characteristic appearance. Dry scalp is a diagnosis reached after excluding other causes of itchy scalp. Only when confusion arises as to the cause of the itchy scalp, is there any need for the laboratory investigations.

Laboratory Diagnosis of Itchy Scalp

If there is any doubt about the cause of the scalp itching, your doctor will take a scrapping from the scales and examine it under microscope to confirm or rule out fungal infections. A skin biopsy will differentiate lichen planus and discoid lupus erythematosus, both of which cause scarring, hair loss and itching on the scalp. In treatment resistant folliculitis of scalp, the doctor may call for a gram’s stain of the pus or even a culture study.

General Measures to Get Rid of Scalp Itching
  • Keep the scalp scale free with regular shampooing.
  • Too much harsh shampooing should be avoided.
  • Avoid drying hair lotions, tinctures etc.
  • Take a well balanced diet, have sufficient sleep and do regular exercise.
  • For moderate to severe itchy scalp, an antihistamine will help reduce the itching.
Specific Measures to Get Rid of Scalp Itching
  1. Dry Scalp Remedies. Treatment of dry scalp involves avoidance of drying shampoos and application of moisturizing lotions and creams. 5-10% urea lotion will help keep the scalp moist.
  2. How to Get Rid of Dandruff. Regular cleansing with anti-dandruff shampoos and application of anti-yeast medications will help clear dandruff.
  3. Seborrheic Dermatitis. Mild steroid-antifungal combinations and tar shampoos will keep the seborrheic dermatitis in check.
  4. How to Treat Scalp Psoriasis. Removal of the thick scales followed by application of a combination of calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate gives best results for scalp psoriasis.
  5. Contact Dermatitis. Avoidance of the culprit for the contact allergy, application of steroid creams, and antihistamine medications will control mild to moderate contact dermatitis of the scalp. Severe reactions may require oral steroids.
  6. Head Lice Infestation (Pediculosis Capitis). Pediculosis capitis or head lice infestation responds well to anti-louse medications and shampoos used weekly ones.
  7. Ring Worm of the Scalp (Tinea Capitis). Antifungal medications, both oral and topical, is required to treat tinea capitis. Shampoos containing selenium sulphide, ketoconazole or zinc pyrithione can be used on alternate days. Treatment may have to be continued for a period of up to 3 months to avoid recurrence.
  8. Pityriasis Amiantacea (Tinea Amiantacea). Treatment of the underlying cause like psoriasis, lichen simplex or seborrheic dermatitis will cure P.amiantacea.
  9. Scalp Lichen Planus. Scalp lichen planus requires treatment with intralesional steroids or topical super potent steroids. Itching will disappear early, but treatment cannot prevent scarring most of the time, unless treated early.
  10. Hair Follicle Inflammation. Folliculitis of the scalp is usually either a pityrosporum folliculitis due to yeast or a staph infection. Treatment depends upon the outcome of the gram’s stain or culture studies.
  11. Neurogenic Excoriation . This is a neurodermatitis. Treatment involves stress management, anxiolytics, and super potent steroids or intralesional steroids.
  12. Pyogenic Infection of Scalp. Topical and systemic antibiotics will clear the infection most of the time. Regular cleansing with povidone iodine cleanser will help in avoiding recurrences.


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