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What is itchy scalp?

Itchy scalp is a common complaint. It is common often without any evidence of the cause of the itching, making it a distressing situation both for the clinician and the patient. It is classified into two types depending on the presence or absence of hair loss and with or without visible lesions.

What are its main associated signs and symptoms?

Itchy scalp is itself a symptom. It may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms such as:

  • Inflamed scalp
  • Dandruff
  • Presence of nits from lice
  • Patches of redness
  • Scaling
  • Pus or crusting

What are the main causes?

Itchy scalp is a symptom which can be caused by any of the following conditions:

  • Dermatologic, which arise from the skin like a fungal infection of the scalp, psoriasis, eczema and others
  • Head lice
  • Neuropathic, which can arise from the disorders of afferent nerve fibres
  • Systemic diseases, which affect the entire body like lupus
  • Psychogenic/psychosomatic, which is related to psychiatric and psychosomatic (physical illness that are caused or aggravated by psychiatric factor) diseases

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The acronym SCALLP is useful in the diagnosis of the underlying condition causing itchy scalp. It takes five steps for complete evaluation of the scalp. These steps are:

  • Listen: Listening carefully to the patient history
  • Look: Complete physical evaluation of the affected regions
  • Touch: Touching the scalp to feel its texture
  • Magnify: Observing the scalp under the microscope
  • Sample collection: In some cases, a tissue sample can be collected for examination under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis

Treatment of itchy scalp includes:

  • When it is due to chronic folliculitis or dry skin or acne, medications such as tetracycline (doxycycline, minocycline), PAR-2 antibodies or antagonists are used.
  • When it is due to psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis, then anti-histamines are used.
  • Antifungal medications will be recommended to treat ringworm of scalp.
  • Local steroids might be advised for eczema and psoriasis of the scalp.
  • In neuropathic itch, topical cannabinoid receptor agonists are used for treatment.
  • Head lice need topical permethrin containing shampoos or solutions that kill lice and their eggs. This would typically have a regimen of a few days to be followed.
  1. Medicines for Itchy Scalp
  2. Doctors for Itchy Scalp
Dr. Rohan Das

Dr. Rohan Das


Dr. Nadim

Dr. Nadim


Dr. Sanjeev Yadav

Dr. Sanjeev Yadav


Medicines for Itchy Scalp

Medicines listed below are available for Itchy Scalp. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Medicine NamePack SizePrice (Rs.)
ADEL 32 Opsonat DropADEL 32 Opsonat Drop200
ADEL Iris Tenax DilutionADEL Iris Tenax Dilution 1000 CH144
Fuseal HFuseal H 2%W/W/1%W/W Ointment94
Fuson HFuson H 1%W/W/2%W/W Cream0
Smuth CreamSMUTH 30GM CREAM77
Dr. Reckeweg Actea Spicata QDr. Reckeweg Actea Spicata Q 232
Bjain Bellis perennis Mother Tincture QBjain Bellis perennis Mother Tincture Q 239
ADEL 75 Inflamyar OintmentADEL 75 Inflamyar Ointment340
ADEL 78 Dercut OintmentADEL 78 Dercut Ointment340
ADEL 79 Ferrodona TonicADEL 79 Ferrodona Tonic705
Dr. Reckeweg Bellis Per DilutionDr. Reckeweg Bellis Per Dilution 1000 CH136
ADEL Bellis Per DilutionADEL Bellis Per Dilution 1000 CH144
Dr. Reckeweg Bellis Per QDr. Reckeweg Bellis Per Q 176
Ketosh ShampooKETOSH SOAP 75GM0
AtiketAtiket Soap52
Canzol (Monichem)Canzol (Monichem) 2% W/W Cream78

Do you or anyone in your family have this disease? Please do a survey and help others


  1. Vázquez-Herrera NE. et al. Scalp Itch: A Systematic Review.. Skin Appendage Disord. 2018 Aug;4(3):187-199. PMID: 30197900
  2. Ghada A. Bin saif. The Itchy scalp - scratching for an explanation. Exp Dermatol. 2011 Dec; 20(12): 959–968. PMID: 22092575.
  3. Cleveland Clinic. [Internet]. Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, United States; Do You Have an Itchy Scalp? 5 Common Problems and Fixes.
  4. Ploysyne Rattanakaemakorn and Poonkiat Suchonwanit. Scalp Pruritus: Review of the Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Management. Biomed Res Int. 2019; 2019: 1268430. PMID: 30766878.
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Dandruff, Cradle Cap, and Other Scalp Conditions.
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