Itching Scalp & Hair Loss

by April Khan ; Updated September 28, 2017

Itchy scalp with hair loss is generally associated with tinea capitis.

Image by, courtesy of Klaus Post

Having an itchy scalp due to dryness or dandruff is a frequently experienced condition. However, when that itchiness is combined with hair loss, it is the classic hallmark of a scalp infection.


Tinea capitis, also known as black dot ringworm, is a fungal infection that covers the scalp. This infection may cause hair loss, but it is treatable.


This infection is caused by a mold-like fungus called dermatophytes; these fungi live in warm, moist places. It mainly affects children although it can affect people of any age.


Risks for contracting tinea capitis are skin or scalp injuries, poor hygiene, wet skin (for a long time, such as from sweating) and stray animals (mainly cats).


Symptoms of tinea capitis include bald patches on the scalp, itchy scalp, pus-filled lesions on the scalp, round and scaly lesions and small black dots on the scalp.


You will have to take anti-fungal oral medication to treat tinea capitis. Medications that are often prescribed are griseofulvin, terbinafine and itraconazole. You should also keep the infected area clean and use medicated shampoos found over the counter.

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Photo Credits

  • Image by, courtesy of Klaus Post

About the Author

April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.