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Why Does My Scalp Burn And Itch?

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If you’re tired of having a tingling scalp that itches and burns, here’s what you need to know in order to get relief.

Tingling sensation in the scalp is usually described as a feeling of pins or needles, accompanied by itchiness and sensitivity.

The scalp is a very sensitive part of your body that is easily irritated. This can be because of hormonal factors, reactions, infections, and physical causes.

Although this is a mild problem that goes away on its own, it can also become long-lasting.

What Is A Tingling Scalp?

A tingling or burning sensation can occur in any part of the body but it is more common in the arms, palms, hands, legs, and feet.

Tingling in the scalp however may feel like pins and needles, accompanied by prickling, itchiness, numbness, burning, and pain sensitivity.

It is a common issue in men and women, however; it is more prevalent in women.

The scalp may itch for various reasons ranging from the type of hair products used and its reaction, sunburns or skin conditions with associated symptoms, hormonal factors, medications, and parasitic insects like lice.

This condition often happens because of irritation. The scalp is a sensitive part of the body; it is connected to different nerves and can easily get irritated.

Hair products like dye and relaxers can burn the scalp, causing tingling and itching. Some scalps are dry by nature and get itchy when they are not properly oiled or moisturized.

Itchy scalp is not usually a cause for alarm, it also does not lead to hair loss unless it is a severe condition or an associated symptom of health and skin issues that cause hair loss.

How Does A Tingling Scalp Feel?

Sometimes this tingling feeling in the scalp may be so intense and annoying. The level of intensity and duration of occurrence varies for every individual.

Some may find it mild and only after certain activities, while others experience this sensitivity frequently.

This is a bothersome issue that may cause a more severe one if proper care and attention is not taken.

Older adults of 50 and above may need to visit their doctor for immediate treatment and diagnosis.

Why Does My Scalp Burn And Itch?

Your scalp may itch for different reasons, some of which may be because of lifestyle choices.

There are various types of scalp itchiness that you may or may not experience, some are accompanied by redness or rashes on the skin.

Due to the sensitivity of the scalp, it is more likely to get irritated from hair care products that contain Para-phenylenediamine, an ingredient mostly found in hair dyes.

Autoimmune disease and disorder is another reason your scalp may tingle.

This is a group of diseases that causes a malfunction in the immune system, it is characterized by an abnormal functioning that often causes the immune system to produce antibodies against the tissues.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that causes scalp burns or itches, reddish and scalp patches.

Although this is usually a rare occurrence with your scalp and a non-contagious skin condition. It is still likely to happen. Individuals with a family of psoriasis are more likely to develop this condition.

In cases like this, go for a proper diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible.

Underlying medical conditions like diabetes, skin cancer or shingles which affect the nerves in the scalp are not left out.

Skin cancer may cause reddish patches or crusts on your scalp but this is not painful.

What Causes The Scalp To Burn And Itch?

Here are some factors that can make your scalp burn and itch ;


This is a condition that sheds white scales of dead skin from the scalp.

Dandruff is common in people with dry scalp or those with hairstyles too tight on the scalp. Your scalp after itching will produce small white flakes in your hair.

They may also fall off your clothing while combing or scratching your scalp.

Skin Irritation

Because of the sensitivity of the scalp’s skin, it is easily irritated. Hair products that irritate the surface of the hair can aggravate this irritation.

Applying heat and using products that contain fragrances and chemicals can worsen the skin. Other sources include laundry detergents, soaps, and cosmetics.

Allergic reaction

Mostly because of reactions from hair products or hair care practices.

Hair products such as black hair dye contain an active ingredient known as para-phenylenediamine, which irritates the scalp and causes itches.

There are hair care practices that may leave your scalp flaky, dry, and irritated, this includes not properly rinsing shampoo from your hair.

Shampoos and conditioners can also irritate your scalp and affect other areas that it touches, for example, your eyelids.


Hives are red, itchy, and raised bumps that form anywhere on the skin, including your scalp.

These can be very itchy and occur in two forms. Hives may be mild, that is, they come and go away on their own.

They can also be chronic and long-lasting; these prevail for longer than 6 weeks.


Lice are tiny parasitic insects that also cause an itchy sensation.

They are tiny bugs that are not usually seen except for their movements. Lice are not only found in the scalp, they can be on your skin, or even in The furs of animals.

Unhealthy hair practices and interactions can trigger problems caused by lice with animals that have lice.

To get rid of this scalp itch, you will have to first get rid of the lice.

Scalp Psoriasis

This is a flare-up on the scalp that affects about 50% of people at one point or the other in their lives.

It is characterized by reddish patches, dry scalp, and flakes that are silvery-white and dandruff-like.

Itchiness associated with scalp psoriasis often ranges from mild to severe.

Hormonal Causes

Women also experience tingling scalp because of hormonal fluctuations involving pregnancy, menopause, and menstrual cycles.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that can develop in your scalp.

If you experience this, you may have redness and scales on your scalp accompanied by a burning and very itchy feeling.

Intense scratching of this dermatitis can lead to an infection.


This is a skin condition commonly caused by bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.

It makes the hair follicles inflamed. Symptoms include burning, itchy skin, pain, skin lesions and pimple-like red bumps.

Nerve Problems

Itchy scalps without a rash or skin reaction are most likely because of nerve damage known as neuropathy, pronounced neu-rop-ah-thie.

It is caused by a malfunction, disease, or disorder to the nerve functions. Diabetes and shingles are associated health conditions.

Scars that run deep can also damage your nerves and cause scalp itching.

Physical Causes

Scalp burns can also occur because of physical factors and weather-related issues.

Cold seasons can leave your scalp dry while heat and humidity cause prickly sensations. Too much sun exposure can also burn your scalp and skin. Other physical factors are:

How To Get Relief From Scalp Burns And Itches

More often than not, a scalp burn or itch may not be a serious cause of concern as they heal on their own.

If it is caused by a hair product, it is advisable to stop using the product immediately.

Always use shampoos and hair products such as a sensitive scalp or baby shampoo that are gentle on the scalp.

Test run relaxers and dyes on a small patch of skin before applying them to your hair.

Stress aggravates some skin and scalp conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis.

If you suffer from either of these or a skin condition, try to get enough sleep, eat healthily, and exercise regularly.

Minimize or avoid activities that stress you too much. Practice relaxation techniques to help manage stress.

Treat underlying medical health issues that can cause tingling scalp or skin conditions that affect your scalp.

Other treatments include over-the-counter scalp products such as medicated shampoos, creams, and prescribed medications.

When To See A Physician

You should see a dermatologist or doctor if you experience persistent tingling scalp and associated symptoms that do not go away and affect your daily routines.

Adults of ages 50 and above should see a doctor or dermatologist if they experience any of these symptoms.

If you notice hair loss besides your tingling scalp, see a physician immediately. Although most sources of the tingling scalp are not associated with hair loss.

A scalp tingling is usually not a cause for alarm since they mostly go away on their own and require at-home remedies.

However, if it lasts longer for over 6 weeks with debilitating symptoms that interfere with your everyday activity, see a physician or dermatologist as soon as possible.


Healthline: Tingling scalp; causes, treatment and related conditions

AAD: 10 reasons your scalp itches and how to get relief

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