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Can an itchy scalp turn into hair loss?
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Updated on June 10, 2024

Over 85% of men [1] and 50% of women [2] will experience some sort of hair loss during their lifetime.

Although many people may panic when they start to notice their hair falling out or their scalp feeling itchy, it’s not always necessary to jump to the conclusion that you’re going bald. According to the NHS an itchy scalp has more than 20 potential causes.

If you’ve started to notice scalp itching more frequently, there’s no need to worry straight away as there are many different reasons why this could be happening.

In this article, we’ll be taking you through:

  • The different causes of an itchy scalp
  • The relationship of an itchy scalp and hair loss
  • If scalp itchiness is an early sign of hair loss, or male/female pattern baldness
  • The most effective solutions that you can use to treat scalp itch.
Table of Contents

What are the causes of hair loss due to an itchy scalp?

Many of us will experience an itchy scalp at some point in our lives. With all the scratching, some of us might even begin to wonder if it will lead to hair loss. The average person loses around 50-100 hairs every day due to the normal hair growth cycle [3]. Could it be that an itchy scalp would increase that rate of hair loss?

Here are some of the most common causes of itchy scalp and hair loss.


Folliculitis is a common condition that occurs when hair follicles get infected or inflamed [4] which is usually caused by bacteria or fungi.

It will appear as small, itchy bumps on the skin which can go on to cause temporary hair loss. It can be an uncomfortable condition to deal with however, there are plenty of solutions to treat this scalp condition that will ensure the hair grows back completely.


Psoriasis is a skin condition that can appear as red, crusty patches of skin that are covered in silvery scales.

This is a condition that can affect the whole body, but around 50% of people who live with psoriasis also develop scalp psoriasis [5].

Scalp psoriasis can lead to hair loss, caused by the excessive scratching and pulling of the silvery scales that cover the affected skin.


Almost half of adults will experience dandruff at some point and, although the condition can be annoying, it can also inflame the scalp which can result in weakened hair follicles and hair loss.

However, it’s normally very unlikely that someone will experience hair loss as a result of dandruff. It’s only when the dandruff is severe or left untreated that potential hair loss can occur. Dandruff should not be confused with seborrheic dermatitis.

Tinea capitis (scalp ringworm)

Tinea capitis is a fungal infection that damages the hair shaft and causes itchiness or hair loss. It’s a very contagious infection that’s most common in young children. It can appear as a raised, scaly rash or black bumpy dots across the scalp.

Allergic reactions

When you are allergic to something like shampoo, styling products, hair dyes, etc., your scalp can sometimes become inflamed and itchy, leading to hair loss.

For example, 1% of the population is allergic to paraphenylendiamine (PPD) [6], a common ingredient in hair dyes, that can often cause hair loss.

In some cases, you may have a delayed reaction to the allergen. You may find your scalp starts itching a day after washing, or even later.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata can often be a cause of hair loss that results in bald spots around the scalp. Although it can sometimes be more commonly experienced by those who are also suffering from autoimmune diseases, this condition is normally independent of other conditions.

Lichen planopilaris

Lichen planopilaris, an inflammatory scalp condition that’s often caused when someone’s immune system is not operating as it should. It’s most common in young adult women and can appear as scaling, redness, bumps, or blisters on the scalp.


Trichodynia is a painful condition characterised by a burning or crawling sensation on the scalp. You may find that your scalp hurts when you move your hair. In addition, you may also develop inflamed red patches on the scalp skin.

Can an itchy scalp lead to male pattern hair loss?

Although you may be worried that an itchy scalp can be a warning sign of male pattern baldness, you will often have nothing to worry about.

As we’ve explained above, there are many different reasons why your scalp itches, many of them completely unrelated to androgenetic alopecia (also known as female pattern hair loss or male pattern baldness).

Genetic hair loss conditions such as female or male pattern hair loss is something that will often develop over time and will not result in uncomfortable scalp itching.

Things as simple as using the wrong shampoo, dust irritating your skin, or not washing your hair enough can all contribute to an itchy scalp. That’s why it’s important to maintain a good hair care routine to prevent hair loss and/or scalp conditions.

Although some scalp conditions can result in temporary hair loss, they can often be reversed once you’ve identified the underlying cause and have taken the appropriate treatment to treat the scalp condition and regrow hair. For example, making some lifestyle changes, using a medicated shampoo or another hair loss treatment will usually clear up hair loss experienced.

In conclusion, in some cases, an itchy scalp can be linked to hair loss. Scalp itching isn’t usually associated with hair growth. However, hair loss isn’t normally something you will need to worry about as soon as you first notice the itchiness.

What should I do if my hair does start falling out?

If you’ve been suffering from an itchy scalp and have started to notice that your hair is falling out, we’d recommend speaking to your GP first.

When you visit your GP, they should be able to identify the underlying cause of your hair loss or hair thinning. There are many potential reasons why your hair is falling out. Your GP will be able to help you treat the underlying condition, which should reverse any of the hair loss you’ve experienced.

If it was not one of the conditions above that caused your hair loss, you may want to start looking for some hair loss treatments. Some of the most popular medications to treat hair loss include Finasteride, Dutasteride, and Minoxidil.

The other option is a hair transplant, which is a more permanent procedure but can result in natural, long-lasting results.

If you’re interested in getting an FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) or FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantations), we would love to talk to you about the process.

We know that it can be scary to go through a procedure like a hair transplant, which is why we offer a free, no-obligation introductory call to all our customers. Book a consultation today to learn more about the hair restoration services we provide to our patients and what you can do to treat your hair loss.

Can an itchy scalp turn into hair loss?, Wimpole Clinic

Dr. Michael May (FRCS)
Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael May (FRCS)Updated on June 10, 2024
The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.

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