The scalp inflammation/itchy/burning/tingling thread
First off I'd like to point out that I've done tons and tons of research on this subject. I've read just about every post on every big hairloss forum about scalp inflammation, tingling, burning and itchiness where hair loss occurs. I even went to a doctor, who took one look and told me that it wasn't MPB but probably a neurological problem. I started off with a perfect scalp, but as of about January or February of this year, I started feeling intense itchiness/burning/tingling in my crown and in other areas on the top of my head where, soon thereafter, hair loss occurred.
I know that there are many of us that feel all of this, and many that do not. For those of us that do, it's a crippling sensation. You feel a hot scalp, sometimes it gets unbearably itchy, other times it just tingles as if there are tiny ants crawling through your hair. And no, it's not lice or any infection because it's been ruled out. For some of us, like me, Nizoral doesn't even help much. It sometimes even exacerbates the problem.
From all my research on the subject, I've deduced the following. This is by no means the absolute truth, but just what I've gathered because I want to find out the real reason as to why it occurs and if there is a cure/possible halting of it.
1. It happens mostly in diffuse thinners
2. The current hypothesis is that all the tingling and inflammation is immune mediated as a result of DHT attacking the hair follicles
3. Finasteride supposedly SHOULD stop it
4. Wherever the burning/inflammation/itchyness happens, it is soon followed by hair loss
5. Nizoral may help/may worsen
6. Tea tree oil/Emu oil/Amla oil may help
7. Fish Oil may help
8. Corticosteroids are a huge question mark
As you can see, there's simply not enough information on the subject. I've been on propecia for 2 months and nothing has changed in regards to my inflammation; as a matter of fact, it has probably even gotten worse.
I know some of you will say "go to your doctor" but the mere fact is most if not 90% of these dermatologists have no idea about the subject and are likely to just call it dermatitis and give you ketoconazole. It starts when we experience hair loss- this is how we know that it is probably DIRECTLY linked to hair loss and MPB.
So, fire away. For those diffuse thinners among us (and perhaps those that aren't diffuse thinners but get the same sensations), tell us your story. Tell us what helped you, what made it worse, how you cured it if you did and anything else on the subject. It's a psychologically taxing sensation because you know you're going to lose more of your hair and there is probably nothing you can do about it.
Thank you for starting this thread. I too have terrible issues with scalp itching, tingling, and burning. At this point I've been to three different dermatologists, all of which were pretty useless. I was diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis and given prescription strength Nizoral shampoo. The Nizoral helped clear up the dandruff flakes I was getting but did nothing for the itching. I then was given several different corticosteroids to use on my scalp, which again did nothing. I agree with you that most dermatologists are clueless about this phenomenon. For me, the itching and burning are worse in the regions of my scalp that have been affected by MPB. Strangely, these sensations are not present 100 percent of the time, they seem to wax and wane over the course of a day. The only things I have been able to identify so far as triggers are water and sunlight. I now dread taking a shower or being in situations where my hair will get wet because I know it will set off a firestorm of itching that will last for about an hour.
At my last visit to the dermatologist, the doctor suggested I try an antidepressant called Neurontin. I'm not too clear on the science, but it is supposed to inhibit Substance P, which is thought to be a factor in scalp inflammation. I'm torn though, as one of the side effects of Neurontin is hair loss, and I don't want to take a drug that stops the itching but causes even more hair to fall out. On the other hand, I feel like whatever is causing the itching and burning can't be good for my hair, so I'm not sure what I will do.
I know what you mean, man. It's worse after I take a shower, even though I use sulfate free shampoo (aveeno pure renewal.)
And if I don't take a shower even for one day, my hair becomes greasy as hell and limp & see through.
Catch 22. It sucks.
In my case it only becomes a problem if I don't shampoo for a day or two. Nizoral has helped me out a lot as well. From what I can remember it's been a problem since I was a kid, if I didn't shampoo my head would just itch like crazy. The tingling/burning is a new thing though.
I experience this itching all over the scalp, it is worse when I don't wash my hair. When I sweat it itches like crazy. I experience days when I barely feel it, days when it itches like hell. Nizoral did nothing for me.
Are any of you guys on FIN? Some people say its all due to DHT wreaking havoc on your scalp. Has it helped for you guys? I've been on it for 2 months and hasn't helped at all.
I was on finasteride when I first noticed the intense scalp itching. Since that time, I've stopped due to side effects. Being on or off finasteride doesn't seem to have made a difference in my case. Corticosteroids didn't help for me either.
This has pretty much been my story: diffuse loss, very resistant itch. I have been taking a supplement called Tocomin SupraBio which I had heard a lot of anecdotal evidence of people experiencing less itching whiles taking it. It's pretty cheap so I bought a couple bottles. It seemed to help for a while very noticeably, but now its back with a vengeance even though I've been taking it faithfully.
My next attempt will be a full size laser helmet, as I've also heard people experiencing good success taming itchiness with one of those. I'll def update if I get any positive results with that.
This is what's happening to your scalp.
The burning is from blood not free flowing there by preventing your scalp from regulating heat. It is then that your scalp which usually has blood close to the surface sweating, loseing heat becomes dry and hot explaining the burning and dandruff from a sweat free scalp. The itchy tingling is an involuntary physiological response from your body forcing you to scratch to move stagnent blood. Much like having a scab that itches because the body is trying to free the injuries stagnent blood clotting. Infections itch to try to make u spread them same as bug bites.
Have had this problem 2 times :
The first time was when my vertex/crown first started thinning about 12 years ago.
I noticed this: increase sex drive, increase body hair, horrible itch/burn and rapid loss in the back.
I believe it is DHT+some other unknown factor as it only happens to some of us.
At the time a hair Dr guessed that it may be some kind of autoimmune response.
I had never had a problem with minox but when this started using minox in the back only made the burn even worse. But even without minox the problem was still there just not as severe. One thing I figured out over time was the itch/burn was most severe to whereever the mpb was spreading, mostly the area right next to my crown outline.
BTW FIN did eventually reduce the problem 95% but it too a long time to work. Give it at least a year.
Back in march my dr put me on a low dose of T and my mpb started up again . Itch/burn/red scale all came back but not as bad as the first time.
It has recently been reduced and I am not sure why. My body has adjusted to the higher levels of T or maybe Nizarol as I started on it about 1 month ago.
Anyway give the Fin a year and hopefully that itch will be gone.
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