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Can an itchy scalp turn into hair loss?

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.

If you’ve started to notice that your scalp is itching a lot, 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. And, if an itching scalp is an early sign of hair loss, or male/female pattern baldness, we’ll be sharing some of the most effective solutions that you can use.

Causes of an itchy scalp and hair loss

An itchy scalp is something that many of us will experience at some point, and we all lose around 50-100 hairs every day [3]. Both of these things do not mean that we will definitely be going bald in the near future.

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

Folliculitis

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 that will ensure the hair grows back completely. 

Psoriasis

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.

Dandruff

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. Dandrff should not be confused with seborrheic dermatitis.

Tinea capitis

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 have an allergic reaction to something like shampoo, styling products, hair dyes etc. your scalp can sometimes become inflamed and itchy, which can then lead 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.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata can often be a cause of hair loss that results in bald spots around the scalp. This mainly occurs when the immune system damages the hair follicles during conditions such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.

Lichen planopilaris

Finally, there is 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.

Can an itchy scalp lead to male pattern baldness?

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 you may be experiencing an itchy scalp, many of them completely unrelated to male pattern baldness.

Male pattern baldness is something that will often develop over time and will not result in uncomfortable 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.

Although some conditions can result in temporary hair loss, they can often be reversed once you’ve identified the underlying cause and made some lifestyle changes or taken medication to treat it.

In conclusion, in some cases, an itchy scalp can be linked to hair loss. However, this is not normally something that 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. In most cases, it might be related to one of the conditions that we mentioned above. If this is the case, 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 ones 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. 

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

 

References:

[1] https://www.americanhairloss.org/men_hair_loss/introduction.html  

[2] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16921-hair-loss-in-women 

[3] https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding 

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547754/ 

[5] https://www.psoriasis.org/scalp/ 

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3262542/ 

 

The Wimpole Clinic offers FUE Hair, Beard & Eyebrow Transplants & Trichology.
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