Medical Services

Itchy & Flaky Scalp

Itchy skin of any type can be very disruptive. When the itch involves the skin of the scalp, however, it can be especially troublesome or even embarrassing. Itchy scalp is commonly associated with dandruff, rashes or open sores. Like many skin symptoms, understanding the cause of your itchy scalp is the first step towards finding a successful treatment. Some patients may find relief with over-the-counter products, while others may need a dermatologist’s help.

Four common reasons your scalp is itching

The skin of your scalp is not like the skin on other parts of your body. It holds countless thick hair follicles and surrounding oil glands. It is not uncommon for these oil glands or hair follicles to be the culprit to your scratching. Here are four of the most prevalent causes of itchy scalp:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis: This is a common skin condition, especially when the skin is oily. It produces an itchy rash that is often accompanied by dandruff on the scalp due to the overgrowth of yeast.
  • Psoriasis: Another popular skin condition that can occur anywhere on the body. When on the scalp, it can trigger persistent itching, flaking skin and a bright pink rash. In most cases, psoriasis needs the professional treatment guidance from a medical provider.
  • Allergic Reaction: Your itchy scalp could be as simple as an allergic reaction to a new hair product. It is not uncommon for patients to suddenly react to a new fragrance or preservative found in shampoo, hair dye or other hair product. Allergy testing can be done if you are having trouble determining the ingredient or substance that is causing the reaction.
  • Folliculitis: Since the skin of the scalp has so many hair follicles, it is important to consider inflamed follicles as a potential cause of itchy scalp. Hair follicles become inflamed or irritated with bacteria is trapped inside. You may notice (or feel) pimple-like bumps or sores in this scenario.

Another less common reason for itchy scalp is hair loss. In this case, most patients also have noticeable hair shedding. Talk to our Greenbrae dermatologist promptly for proper testing, diagnosis and treatment.

Stop scratching, see a dermatologist

Whether it is on your scalp or another area of your skin, never let persistent itching go on without treatment. Chronic scratching can lead to severe irritation of the skin, which can make your body more vulnerable to bacteria invasion and other problems. We encourage patients with itchy scalp to visit our office for an accurate diagnosis of their condition. Depending on what is causing the irritation, we can recommend the correct treatment, which often involves a topical product or shampoo to soothe your itchy scalp and eliminate embarrassing dandruff or flaking.

Get In Touch


501 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Suite 200
Greenbrae, California 94904

Phone number:

(415) 925-0550



Open Hours:

Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm PST
Saturday: 8am – 4pm PST
Sunday: CLOSED

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