An itchy scalp is more than just annoying – it can actually cause hair loss.

Hair loss from an itchy scalp is most often caused by the constant scratching rather than the condition causing the itching. Scratching irritates the scalp and can cause damage to the tissue and follicles.

For those who have an itchy scalp, it can sometimes be difficult to track down the cause. Once a cause is determined, you can begin treating the root of the problem, eliminating the itchiness and stopping further hair loss.

Common causes of an itchy scalp are dandruff (or seborrheic dermatitis), dry scalp, psoriasis, folliculitis, and traction alopecia.

Dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) – this condition consists of flakes that appear throughout the scalp. Dandruff is often itchy, but doesn’t cause hair loss on its own. While doctors don’t know the exact causes of dandruff, many individuals are able to regulate and control their condition with special shampoos and dietary accommodations. More information found here.

Dry scalp – while a dry scalp can cause flakes similar to dandruff, the treatments are very different. With a dry scalp, simply changing up your moisturization method could solve the problem, while adding moisturizer to a scalp with dandruff could make the problem worse.  A dry scalp could be caused by weather changes or improper nutrition, among other things. More information found here.

Psoriasis – psoriasis of the scalp is a condition in which dead skin cells build up causing itchy, red scales. These scales can cause hair loss if left untreated. Treatment methods vary from prescription medication to specialized shampoos. Many individuals find relief through coal tar of salicylic acid based shampoos. More information found here.

Folliculitis – this condition is an infection of the hair follicles. Folliculitis is characterized by red pimples that appear across the scalp. If left untreated, it can cause hair loss. This condition is caused by bacteria, fungus, or a buildup of sebum or sweat residue. Folliculitis is contagious so be sure to keep your scalp clean, especially when using pools or sharing accessories.

Traction alopecia – if you style your hair in tight braids or pulled back styles, you may have traction alopecia. This condition is caused by the constant tension your hair and follicles endure when styled tightly. This condition is popular in women and those who wear weaves. Traction alopecia causes scalp itchiness and hair loss. More information found here.