Will an Itchy Scalp Cause Hair Loss?

Will an Itchy Scalp Cause Hair Loss?

Most of us have reached up to scratch an itch on our scalp many times without pausing to worry about whether or not it will make our hair fall out. It makes you wonder, does scratching your scalp cause hair loss? The surprising answer is that it can! However, scratching a normal itch will not make your hair fall out. Hair loss as a result of an itchy scalp is typically due to a medical condition. Let's take a look at why scratching your scalp may lead to hair loss and what you can do about it.

Why Can an Itchy Scalp Lead to Hair Loss?

Normal, everyday scratching is not going to lead to hair loss. You do not scratch hard enough to pull your hair out or damage the hair follicles. Most of the time, individuals who experience hair loss from an itchy scalp have an underlying medical condition that is causing excessive irritation.

Individuals who scratch their scalp excessively and aggressively can damage the skin and hair follicles. This results in pulling hair strands out of the follicle and damaging the follicle to the point where it cannot grow new hair. Certain conditions cause scarring of the scalp, which can also lead to damaged hair follicles and prevent new growth.

Scalp Conditions That Can Lead to Hair Loss

There are several conditions of the scalp that can lead to an itchy, inflamed scalp, and ultimately hair loss. Let's take a look at the most common conditions.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections on the scalp such as ringworm or athlete's foot can not only cause excessive itching, but it also weakens the hair follicle. The weakening of the hair follicle causes hair to fall out in patches. Antifungal creams will treat fungal infections, but it will take time for the hair to regrow so long as the hair follicle has not been damaged.


This type of condition causes inflammation of the hair follicles and can either be fungal or bacterial. Hair loss is due to excessive scratching of the scalp. Treatment includes either antibiotics or antifungal creams depending on the origination of the condition. Hair loss can either be temporary or permanent depending on whether or not the follicle is damaged.

Alopecia Areata, Psoriasis, and Lichen Planopilaris

These three scalp conditions are believed to be autoimmune conditions in which the body recognizes hair follicles as foreign objects and attacks them. This causes extreme itchiness and inflammation of the scalp which leads to hair loss. If the hair follicle is damaged, the hair is not able to grow back.

Atopic Dermatitis

This is a skin condition that can affect the scalp. It in itself does not cause hair loss, however, atopic dermatitis does cause extreme itchiness which can lead to temporary hair loss from aggressive scratching. This condition is typically treated with topical creams.

Although not as common, severe allergic reactions and dandruff can also cause an itchy scalp which can lead to hair loss.

What Can You Do?

The good news is that you don't have to wait for your hair to grow back to have a full head of hair. It takes time for hair to grow and here at New Look Institute, we realize that you want to reclaim your look now! We offer a variety of hair replacement and integration solutions for men and women to fit your unique hair loss needs. Our stylists will conduct a thorough examination and explain different solutions that will work well for you. We are dedicated to helping you feel and look your best! Contact us today for a free hair and scalp evaluation!