Itchy Skin on the Head
Itchy skin on the head can be a sign of something as easily treatable as dandruff to a chronic condition such as psoriasis. While it may be difficult to see exactly what the itchy area looks like under your hair, a good look at the skin can help you and/or a physician diagnose the problem and find the right treatment.
When you see someone scratch his head, it may be difficult not to assume his problem is dandruff, or even something as unpleasant as lice. Dandruff, a condition in which skin is shed from the scalp in tiny flakes, can be made worse by hormonal or seasonal changes. A condition called eczema, in which the skin can become itchy, red and even blistered, may also be a problem on the head. Psoriasis can also be serious with crusty and thick plaques covering the itchy area. But itchy skin can also be caused by sunburn and the flakiness that can follow.
Topical treatments are, in many ways, the optimal treatment for most conditions that cause itchy skin on the head. The National Psoriasis Foundation notes, however, that some treatments should be rotated or combined, because the body can become accustomed to one particular medication. If the problem is eczema, topical treatments may be prescribed as well as treatment such as cold compresses on the affected area to reduce the itching until the flareup goes away.
Lice tends to be associated with school-age children to the point where the year's first big health awareness month is the traditional starting month of the school year. September is National Head Lice Month, though the winter months can be worse than the summer. Lice can be a very upsetting problem, because treatment requires the close inspection of every hair on the head for nits, the lice eggs. A variety of products are available to treat lice-affected hair directly, but a call to your pediatrician or school nurse can usually tell you the best, latest treatments.
Healthy skin care is the best thing you can do for any problem that causes itchy skin on the head or anywhere. For example, use a sunscreen to avoid sunburn and the inflammation that can accompany it. Sunburn on the scalp can be quite itchy the day or two after exposure. People with eczema are advised to limit exposure to hot water and strong soaps and shampoos. Likewise, if your eczema is triggered by allergies, such as dust mites, make sure you take the precautions to reduce any such triggers in your environment.
Dandruff may the most common source of itchy skin on the head, but it has many causes. A naturally dry scalp can cause a buildup of flakes, while oily hair or oily skin on the head can also leave oils and extra skin cells on the scalp, causing an itch. More serious conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, also result in dandruff. Not washing your hair is a source of dandruff that can easily be corrected by shampooing regularly with an anti-dandruff shampoo.
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