why does my scalp itch so much at night

If youre constantly scratching your head because of an itchy scalp, it could be more than just dandruff. Many conditions can cause an itchy scalp from dandruff to ringworm or something more serious like a bacterial infection or autoimmune condition. Before you can stop the itch, you need to find out whats causing it. 1. Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
These are the most common reasons for an itchy scalp. Your bodys inflammatory response to an overgrowth of yeast causes the itching and flaking associated with these conditions. Yeast normally lives on the scalp and other hairy areas of the body, but the problem arises when theres too much yeast present, says dermatologist. The fix: For mild cases, you can use an over-the-counter shampoo containing selenium or zinc pyrithione ingredients that help control yeast. For more serious cases, you may need a prescription-strength antifungal shampoo, topical cortisone or medicated foam, solution, cream or ointment. RELATED: 2. Psoriasis This is a chronic that causes raised, reddish, scaly patches on the skin or scalp. You cant get psoriasis from other people. Experts dont have a clear understanding of what exactly causes this skin disorder, but youre more likely to develop it if someone in your family has it. The fix : Dr. Piliang recommends trying over-the-counter medicated shampoos containing coal tar or salicylic acid to control scalp psoriasis.

If those dont work, make an appointment with your dermatologist. He or she can prescribe stronger shampoos and topical cortisone. 3. Tinea capitis This is a fungal infection commonly known as, which can infect the scalp. Tinea capitis extends deep into the hair follicle, causing round patches of hair loss that increase in size over time. The rash may appear raised and with black dots or a stubbly appearance. The fix: If you have a ringworm infection of the skin, you can use an over-the-counter antifungal formulation to get rid of it. Not so with the scalp. Since the organism exists deep in the hair follicle, youll need to take oral anti-fungal medications to resolve the problem, says Dr. Piliang. Your doctor will verify that this is actually whats causing the problem before prescribing these powerful medications. 4. Head lice Although most people think of schoolchildren when they hear about head, they can invade anyones scalp. Dr. Piliang says that lice prefer clean hair, so having a case of head lice doesnt mean you have poor hygiene. If you look closely, you can see tiny nits (eggs) attached to individual hair strands. They look a bit like dandruff, but they arent easily shaken off because theyre glued to the hair shaft. You might also be able to see adult lice moving around the head, but theyre harder to spot than the nits.

The fix : You can treat head lice with over-the-counter shampoos containing insecticides pyrethrin or permethrin. Each head lice shampoo formula has its own treatment protocol, warns Dr. Piliang. You must follow the instructions on the box exactly to get rid of the lice. These work well if you use them as directed. RELATED: 5. Allergic reactions Hair dyes, and atopic dermatitis are other, less common causes of itchy scalp. The fix: Allergic reactions will generally go away on their own if you can identify and avoid the chemical to which you are allergic. This is challenging and specialized tests in a dermatologists office may be needed to sort out which chemical is causing the allergy. Most of the time, an itchy scalp isnt cause for concern. But there are times when it can indicate something more serious. See your doctor when: Dr. Piliang says that its always a good idea to see your dermatologist when you have a persistent itchy scalp even if you think its just common dandruff. Your dermatologist can check it out and tell you which remedies will bring you some relief. RELATED: Here are a few medicines and home remedies to relieve itchy skin at night. If a condition like a nerve disorder or restless legs syndrome is causing the itch, see your doctor to get it treated. To treat nighttime itch yourself, you can try an over-the-counter or prescription medicine.

Some of these medicines relieve just the itch. Others help you sleep. A few do both. Older antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), hydroxyzine (Vistaril), and (Phenergan) relieve the itch and make you sleepy. Newer antihistamines, such as fexofenadine (Allegra) or (Zyrtec), are also helpful and may be taken at night or during the day. Steroid creams stop the itch at the source. Antidepressants like (Remeron) and (Silenor) have an anti-itch and sedative effect. To help you sleep, you could try. You can buy it at your local drugstore or. This natural hormone helps regulate sleep. When you take it nightly, it has a sedative effect that can help you sleep through the itch. If stress aggravates your skin, try techniques like meditation, yoga, or progressive muscle relaxation to calm your mind. You can also meet with a therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This program helps reverse some of the harmful thoughts and actions that aggravate your stress. Apply a lubricating, alcohol-free moisturizer like, or to your skin during the day and before bed. Apply cool, wet compresses to soothe the itch. Take a bath in lukewarm water and colloidal oatmeal or baking soda. Turn on a humidifier. It will add moisture to the air in your bedroom while you sleep.

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