An itchy and dry scalp can be an absolute social nightmare. If you ignore it - if you can, it can actually worsen, leading to other complications. Before we share about how to treat itchy and dry scalps in adults, let us learn the underlying causes of a dry, itchy and irritated scalp. Our special guest today on AskMeDoctor! is Dr Ch\u2019ng Chin Chwen, a Consultant Dermatologist at Subang Jaya Medical Centre. Dr Ch\u2019ng is here to give a better insight on why do we have dry, itchy, and irritated scalp. #Q1: What are the common signs and causes of dry, itchy, and irritated scalp? Dr Ch\u2019ng: Itchy, the feeling of tightness, scaling, irritation et cetera are signs of dry skin. Dry skin can happen on the scalp as well. It can happen for many reasons. For example: Image credit: Motherhood Story \tchange in weather \twashing the hair with hot water \tusing inappropriate or very harsh shampoo \twashing the hair too frequently Image credit: Motherhood Story Sometimes, it is associated with underlying medical problems, such as seborrhoeic eczema as well as scalp psoriasis. When it is underwashing, then the buildup of sebum and dead skin on the skin surface can cause a lot of itchiness and irritation. #Q2: What is scalp psoriasis? Dr Ch\u2019ng: Psoriasis is a relatively common immune related inflammatory disorder that affects about three per cent of our population. Scalp is one of the common areas that psoriasis loves to attack. Sometimes it can involve only the scalp, which can be confusing with dandruff or seborrhoeic dermatitis, or even contact dermatitis. Image credit: Motherhood Story Psoriasis can be caused by a genetic link; often happens in the same family and it is further triggered by environmental factors such as stress, hot weather, or sometimes when the person\u2019s health condition deteriorates. For example, if you are down with COVID-19 or dengue, and other illnesses. Sometimes, things like having an accident can also worsen it.\u00a0 #Q3: Why is my scalp skin so itchy after pregnancy? I didn\u2019t have this before. Dr Ch\u2019ng: Postpartum is a time when a lot of hormonal changes takes place. It is also a stressful period for most women. Thus, it can take a toll on the skin and scalp health. In Malaysia, we also have the culture of observing confinement periods. It can vary from 28 to 45 days, depending on which culture you are coming from. During the confinement period, women are often not allowed to wash their hair or they are only allowed limited hair wash. This can lead to the accumulation of sweat, dust, dead skin, and oil on your scalp surface causing it to itch. Image credit: Shutterstock #Q4: How can I stop my scalp from itching and irritations? Dr Ch\u2019ng: First, find out what is the cause of the itching and irritations. For instance, if it is because of infrequent hair wash, then you might just want to wash your hair and solve the problem. It is recommended to try over-the-counter hair care products that contain soothing ingredients like: \tMenthol \tSzechuan Pepper \tLinoleic Acid These ingredients can help to alleviate the itchy feeling, regulate the moisture content, as well as, restore the skin barrier leading to a healthier and stronger scalp. #Q5: Can a healthy scalp help combat hair loss? Dr Ch\u2019ng: In some cases, yes. \u00a0A healthy scalp leads to better hair as well. If you have an irritated scalp, it can cause a lot of hair loss. Other ways to combat hair loss include, using a gentle shampoo that has a low pH level between 4-6 and shampoo that has skin barrier repairing ingredients. Avoid tying high ponytails, tight hairstyles like braids, etc. as this can cause a lot of traction on the hair roots that lead to traction hair loss. Last but not least, having a healthy and balanced diet, taking food that is rich in zinc, iron, biotin, as well as Vitamin D, can help you to have a healthy scalp and hair as well. Image credit: Shutterstock #Q6: Is there a cure for scalp psoriasis? Dr Ch\u2019ng: Psoriasis is a chronic disorder. Once it starts, it tends to last for a long time. There isn\u2019t a real cure for psoriasis but there are lots of things that we can do to control it. Psoriasis often improves when a person\u2019s overall health improves. When you eat and sleep well, do regular exercises and having a good mood help in improving your psoriasis\u2019 condition.\u00a0 For mild psoriasis, it can actually be improved with anti-dandruff shampoo. When it is a bit more severe, you might want to try a tar-based shampoo. If you have thick plaques that are scaling, try, topical preparations like \tSteroids \tSalicylic acids \tCalcipotriol (a form of topical vitamin D) can help to thin the plaques out Sometimes, if the condition still doesn\u2019t improve with all these measures, you can also go for phototherapy. This uses UVB or excimer lights to thin out the plaques. Oral medicines and injectable biological agents can help people with severe psoriasis. #Q7: When should we go to the doctor for an itchy scalp? Dr Ch\u2019ng: If they could not find out the causes of the scalp problem and they could not solve their scalp problem with over-the-counter shampoos and products, then, it is probably the time to visit your friendly nearby dermatologist for some professional help. Image credit: Shutterstock Advice from Dr Ch\u2019ng "Hair and scalp problems can be very upsetting. They are often not caused by serious medical problems but it can lead to a lot of social embarrassment. And in some cases, it may even affect a person\u2019s marital life." https:\/\/youtu.be\/FPGjwUNhHrk To anyone who may be experiencing itchy and irritated scalp, just know that you are not alone. A lot of individuals are going through this. And whenever you\u2019re in doubt, just visit your friendly dermatologist. Meanwhile, we recommend that you can try Linola Forte Shampoo!\u00a0 Image credit: Linola Linola Forte Shampoo is specially formulated to meet the specific needs of itchy, dry, and irritated scalp. It is formulated in an effective yet gentle microemulsion system containing vegetable oils such as canola oil that are rich in linoleic acid. Linoleic acid in this shampoo helps to protect and restore the skin\u2019s natural barrier to prevent moisture loss. This makes it kind to the skin. With added Szechuan pepper extract and menthol, it helps to relieve itching due to dry skin and soothes dry scalps. Formulated in pH 5.5, this shampoo also helps to maintain a healthy pH balance in the scalp. It is also free from silicone, mineral oil, paraben, and Cocamidopropyl betaine. It can be used daily by simply applying it to the scalp and then rinse thoroughly. Hopes this information about scalp care from Dr Ch\u2019ng are helpful to all Mum\u2019s out there! Can't get enough of our experts answers on pregnancy and childcare? Tuned in our next episode of AskMeDoctor! here. Check out Motherhood Story\u00a0to get your daily dose of parenting guide!