Having an itchy scalp is pretty common. All people have experienced itchiness of the scalp, which sends a trigger to scratch the head and go at it. You can even see celebrities scratching their scalp in interviews.
So, what is the reason behind an itchy scalp?
Scalp itchiness can be due to a lot of reasons, and new hair growth can be one of them. However, it is not the only cause.
Scalp itchiness can also be due to: (1)(2)
- Lice infestation
- Microbial infections
- Scalp disorders
- Mental health issues
- Kidney failure
The actual cause can only be determined by a professional, but yes, hair growth can be the reason for scalp itch. If you’re now wondering how that is possible and why it happens, read on.
If your scalp is itching more than usual and you have ruled out other factors such as dandruff, lice infestation, and scalp disorders, then hair growth just might be the reason for it. Here’s why.
Your scalp has a rich supply of blood vessels that become more active during the growing or anagen phase of the hair growth cycle than during other phases of the cycle. This increased stimulation of the blood vessels can cause scalp itchiness when new hair is growing. (1)
Remember having a constant urge to scratch your arms and legs a few days after shaving or waxing? That is because when new hair is growing, it gets pushed through the skin, which leads to a prickling sensation that feels like an itch.
The same happens with your scalp when there is fresh hair growth.
Your scalp has hair follicles from which the hair grows, and these hair follicles have nerve endings for communication to and from the brain. These nerves undergo changes as your hair goes through different phases.
During the growth or anagen phase, there is an increase in these nerves. They are also more active and might interact with other cells such as mast cells, (1) which can lead to increased itchiness.
If you want to know whether your itchy scalp is due to hair growth or some other reason, look for these signs.
If you see a few dark-colored patches or spots on your scalp around your hair follicles, you may be growing hair.
Pull your hair slightly back and look at your hairline. Can you see tiny hairs that are pretty thin and new? These are baby hairs, which are a sign of hair growth.
Hair loss that is less than your usual count of hair shedding can also be a positive indication of hair growth.
To manage scalp itchiness at home, topical treatment is the best way to go. Use hypoallergenic and gentle products, and refrain from heat styling or chemical usage. (3)
Also, make sure you moisturize your scalp with scalp oils and lotions. Try not to scratch your scalp with your nails; just gently use your fingertips or the knuckles.
No, trimming will not directly fasten hair growth but it can keep away split ends.
Yes, hair growth may slow down as you age.
Scalp itchiness can be quite common, and while new hair growth is one potential cause, it’s not the only one. Dryness, dandruff, infections, and underlying health issues can also lead to an itchy scalp.
When hair is growing, increased blood flow to the scalp, new hairs pushing through the skin, and stimulated hair follicles with active nerve endings can contribute to the sensation of itchiness. To determine the exact cause, consult a professional.