When we feel that we have an itchy scalp, most of us would just head down to the grocery store and buy an anti-dandruff shampoo without giving it a second thought. However, while an over the counter itchy scalp shampoo will probably work out in most cases of dandruff, there is more to it than meet the eyes. There are a few other common causes of an itchy scalp that has nothing to do with dandruff.

In this article, we look at some of the other reasons you may be causing an itchy scalp that requires specific shampoo for each causes.


Firstly when it comes to shampoo for itchy scalp, dandruff is the number one reason people buy and use these types of products. Dandruff is just a shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp due to frequent exposure to extreme heat or cold. You should understand that while dandruff is neither dangerous nor contagious, it is also not curable. Dandruff shampoos that you can buy at any ordinary grocery shop may give a temporary relief to itchiness, it is not however permanent. As soon as you stop applying the shampoo, the skin would once again start to flake.

Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

If you find that regular anti dandruff shampoo is not curing your itchy scalp, then there’s a good chance that what you have is not ordinary dandruff, but rather a condition known as seborrhoeic dermatitis.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a very common inflammation of the skin due to the reaction with a type of yeast, Malassezia which is found on the scalp. This condition causes an over production of skin oil or sebum. In addition, the yeast produces toxic substances that cause the itchiness and irritation of the scalp. In this case, you may need a special type of shampoo to decrease the oil overproduction in order to treat the problem.

Head Lice

One may think that all the causes of the itching of scalp are caused by the flaking of the scalp skin however you are mistaken. If you’ve tried all the common shampoo for itchy scalp and find yourself in the same spot, there is a high possibility that the itching may be caused by a tiny living organism living on your scalp with the name of the head lice or head louse.

The head lice are tiny wingless parasites that spend their entire life living on human scalp and feeds on human blood. This causes the itching and irritation sensation on your scalp. The head lice is one of the most difficult itchy scalp problems to identify as the eggs of the head lice looks exactly like the scalp shadings or dandruff. The normal treatment to head lice is to use shampoo for itchy scalp that contains permethrin. This type of shampoo can be easily bought at a store without any prescription.


Next on the list is folliculitis. Folliculitis is the inflammation of one or more hair follicles that can occur anywhere on the skin. It is not caused by your average hair itching culprits such as the shedding of skin, overproduction of oil or the head lice but rather by a bacterial infection at the base of the hair.

Whenever you go to the barber for a haircut, it is common that some of the hair follicles are damaged due to unintentional friction or pulling. In most of the cases, the damaged or hurt hair follicles are infected by a bacterium known as Staphylococcus. In fact, if you look closely a scalp affected by folliculitis, you are likely to see and feel tiny pimples at the base of each hair. Unlike other itchy scalp problems, an anti-itch shampoo will most likely not solve the problem. Unfortunately, antibiotics are required.

What To Do If The Shampoo For Itchy Scalp Is Not Working

It is a natural reaction that when you have an itchy scalp, buy an anti-dandruff or anti-itch shampoo for your dry scalp. However, as you can see from this article, there are many different causes for itching of the scalp. If you find that the shampoo for itchy scalp is not solving the problem after a few days to a week, then you may need to visit your doctor for further inspection. There may still be a specific shampoo for itchy scalp that you have to prescribe use.