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What Are the Causes of an Itchy Head Other Than Lice?

author image Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams began her freelance writing career in 2009, teaching others about medical conditions and promoting wellness by writing on online health and fitness publications. She is educated and licensed as a registered nurse, having received her degree from North Georgia College and State University.

The scalp may itch for a variety of reasons, including head lice. The itching may occur due to an infection of the skin or from a chronic medical condition. Treatments for an itching scalp include curing the infection or, for conditions that have no cure, a therapy that helps decrease the symptoms. Some conditions that cause itching on the scalp are contagious, while others cause discomfort to the affected individual but do not pose a threat to others.


Dandruff is a common condition affecting the skin on the scalp. Causes of dandruff include dry skin, oily skin, eczema, fungus and contact dermatitis. The symptoms of the condition consist of itching and white flakes that can fall onto the shoulders. Dandruff treatment includes using medicated shampoos to help control the condition. The shampoo is available over the counter and in stronger prescription strengths. Lifestyle changes such as managing stress, eating well, allowing some sun exposure to the scalp and decreasing the use of styling products can help reduce dandruff, according to MayoClinic.com.


Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes redness and irritation on the surface of the skin. A person suffering from psoriasis can have thickened, flaky skin and silvery-white scales. The affected areas of the skin may itch. Psoriasis can cause lesions anywhere on the body, but often occurs on the scalp. Individuals with a family history of psoriasis have a greater risk of developing the condition, and certain medications and conditions can cause flareups. There is no cure for psoriasis, but topical treatments such as steroidal creams and calcipotriene, a vitamin D derivative cream, can help reduce the itching.


Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin. Ringworm can occur anywhere on the body, including the head. Ringworm of the scalp, also referred to as tinea capitis, causes reddened, itchy scales on the scalp. The scalp may also have pus-filled lesions and small black dots. Some individuals may experience bald patches from hair that has broken off. Ringworm is contagious, and scratching the area can transfer the rash to other locations on the body or to other people. Treatment for ringworm on the scalp includes oral antifungal medications such as terbinafine and itraconazole, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. The symptoms may reappear after treatment is completed, requiring additional treatments.

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