Why Does Dandruff Itch?

Dandruff can be extremely annoying and embarrassing, especially if you are experiencing a lot of flaking.  Another annoyance that comes with Dandruff is the constant itch on your scalp. The itching sensation can at some points be so severe, that the urge to scratch your scalp can often not be resisted.

In this article, we will explore why your scalp feels itchy when having dandruff and how to overcome this annoyance.

What Causes the Itchy Sensation?

An itch is a sensation which is felt on the skin that is often confronted with the urge to scratch. The cause of an itch can happen due to many reasons.

Dandruff not only leaves your scalp dry and flaky, it also brings up other problems. It can weaken your scalp barrier, which usually causes subclinical inflammation (it sometimes does not show any observable symptoms) [1]. This can leave your scalp more susceptible to irritants causing you to experience any itching sensation.

Studies have shown that histamine is released from mast cells when the skin tissue is inflamed or when having an allergic reaction [2]. When histamine is released, information is transmitted to our brain via our spinal cord. This happens similarly when we experience pain.

This is a normal reaction and your body is trying to tell you that it’s experiencing a form of discomfort. At times, you may experience this randomly. When you scratch the affected area, the itching sensation goes away.

However, when you have dandruff and as a consequence, your skin is inflamed, you will most likely experience an itch repeatedly, as the signals are constantly being activated.

Studies have shown that people who suffer from dandruff have more than twice the amount of histamine, compared to people who don’t have dandruff. That is one possible explanation why people with dandruff are experiencing increased itch sensations.

How to Relieve Dandruff Itch

Experiencing an itch is not bad, it’s only a signal that your body sends to your brain, informing it that there is an issue. If you have dandruff, your brain is letting you know that your skin is inflamed and possibly damaged. It’s only natural to try to get rid of an itch, but the worst thing to do would be to scratch the inflamed area.

There are other ways to relieve the itch. Give these 3 methods below a shot, to ensure that you don’t worsen your dandruff situation.

3 ways to relieve dandruff

Don’t Scratch

Not scratching an itch is probably the hardest thing to do, as it requires a lot of discipline. This is understandable, as it’s an instinctive reaction. However, try not to scratch dandruff no matter how itchy it gets.

Scratching inflamed areas on your scalp can actually make it worse. When you are suffering from chronic skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis, scratching can actually cause serious skin damage. You may also feel the itch getting worse when you are sweating or in warm temperature.

The best thing to do is not to scratch. Instead, try to rub the itchy area on your scalp.

If your itch feels more like a continuous burn (more likely to occur with seborrheic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis), then you may need to start a shampoo or home remedy treatment.

Anti-Dandruff Shampoos

Anti-dandruff shampoos are one of the most effective treatments for getting rid of dandruff and relieving the itchiness. You may experience your scalp becoming itchier over time, the longer you leave dandruff untreated.

Dandruff shampoos contain active ingredients that kill and remove fungi that are the cause of it. For that reason, not every dandruff shampoos are the same. The most effective active ingredients are:

  • Ketoconazole
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Salicylic acid
  • Coal tar
  • Pyrithione zinc

Make sure that you understand which ingredient works best for you. You can always try them out and see which ingredient has the best effect on your scalp. If you are unsure about which anti-dandruff is best for you, or if your scalp irritation and itch become unbearable, please seek the advice of a doctor or a dermatologist.

Natural Home Remedies

You can also try anti-dandruff home remedies to relieve the itching sensation. I’ve personally tested most of the home treatments for dandruff and they have done wonders for me. I recommend that you try them out individually to see which ones work best for you.

Dandruff home remedies contain natural ingredients that are mainly antibacterial or antifungal. These help to destroy the cell walls of the fungi. This helps to reduce dandruff on your scalp leaving it less irritated and itchy.

Many of the oils also tend to soothe and moisturize the scalp, ensuring that it is adequately hydrated and that your scalp becomes less inflamed and irritated. Once your scalp is well taken care of, the itching will subsequently subside.

Here is a list of the most effective anti-dandruff home remedies that you should try:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Neem oil
  • Olive oil
  • Oregano oil
4 anti-dandruff oils

Make sure to check out my guide on removing fungal dandruff with natural home treatment, with step-by-step instructions.

Itchiness with Severe Skin Conditions

Dandruff can also be caused by chronic skins conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis. If you are experiencing increased itching and suffer from a skin disease, please get proper medication for it.

People with seborrheic dermatitis or scalp psoriasis usually experience greater levels of scalp inflammation and irritation. It’s therefore vital that you do not scratch vigorously, but rather treat the root of the problem.

There are plenty of over-the-counter or prescription products that are able to reduce dandruff and relieve the itchiness. If you are unsure of what steps to take or need professional advice, please see a doctor or dermatologist.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.