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Itch is one of the most common signs of dandruff and is often an early warning sign before flakes start to appear. But it isn’t always dandruff.

First, rule out dandruff – it's one of the most common causes of itch and is easy to treat with itchy scalp shampoo.

How to spot the symptoms of dandruff

Allergic reactions
Some people have allergic reactions to substances in certain foods or products like the chemicals in hair dyes that can cause irritation such as itching and redness.

Another common cause of irritation is a sensitive scalp. If you have a sensitive scalp, try to use a sensitive scalp shampoo– it’s designed to be gentle on your scalp to help prevent irritation.

If you think you might have an allergic reaction, it’s best to contact your dermatologist who can perform tests to identify what you might be allergic to.

Head lice
Another common cause of itching, and happens as lice bite the scalp, causing it to become inflamed and itchy.

You might feel lice moving along the scalp or you could spot the lice on visual inspection to try to identify the problem.

Other scalp problems
Aside from dandruff, other scalp issues like psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis or tinea capitis (ringworm) can cause itching.

So if you’ve ruled out dandruff, allergies and lice it’s best to visit your dermatologist to help identify and treat the problem.

More about itchy scalp

What's behind an itchy scalp?