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Does White Hair Cause Itchy Scalps?

Medically reviewed by Sue Kua, MD · Dermatology

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated 7 days ago

Does White Hair Cause Itchy Scalps?

The appearance of white hair on one’s head is usually something that people don’t want to deal with. After all, society associates white hair with getting older. Over time, however, most embrace the white or silver hair on their heads as something that would happen sooner or later. But, despite the acceptance, people still experience some concerns. For instance, some believe that white hair triggers scalp itching. We therefore must ask, does white hair cause itchy scalps?

Why does hair go white?

Canities, or hair graying, is a part of aging and occurs regardless of gender or race. Generally, the age when graying occurs depends on race and ethnicity. Note that while we often notice white hair in older adults, it can happen to people in their 30s. 

Those who develop white hair before their 20s or 30s may be experiencing premature graying of hair. Premature canities may appear alone without any underlying illness as an autosomal dominant condition. However, it may also point to autoimmune disorders. Examples include pernicious anemia, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and as part of premature aging syndromes like progeria and pangeria.

Other causes of premature white hair include stress and certain drugs, like chloroquine, mephenesin, phenylthiourea, triparanol, fluorobutyrophenone, dixyrazine, the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor imatinib and interferon – alpha, and use of certain chemicals.


Hair graying is a natural part of aging. However, it may also happen due to underlying conditions (like autoimmune disorders) and certain medications.

What causes itchy scalp?

Is there reason to believe that hair graying contributes to scalp itching? Does white hair cause itchy scalps? To answer this question, let’s first talk about the causes of itchy scalps. 

Scalp pruritus (or having an itchy scalp) can arise from a variety of conditions. 

Case in point: seborrheic dermatitis may cause scalp pruritus. Seborrheic dermatitis, a skin disorder that mainly affects the scalp, causes itchy, yellow, or white patchy scales or thick crusts that may attach to the hair shaft. The signs and symptoms may be more severe if you’re under stress and the flaking tends to flare during cold, dry seasons.

Meanwhile, a 2011 survey of 195 patients with psoriasis showed that 58% were suffering from itchy scalps as well.

On top of psoriasis and dermatitis, dandruff, head lice, and an allergic reaction or irritation toward a hair care product, may also cause scalp itching. Serious conditions, like skin cancer and nerve problems may also trigger scalp pruritus.


The cause of itchy scalps can range from something as simple as dandruff and irritation to hair products to conditions as severe as skin cancer and nerve problems.

Does white hair cause itchy scalps?

At present, no studies have shown any correlation between developing canities and having scalp pruritus.

Both may develop because of stress,  but there’s no clear evidence tying sprouting white hair with an itchy scalp. 

While white hair is often a natural result of aging regardless of age or gender and the exact cause of dandruff and itchy scalps remains largely unknown, no connection has been put forth to tie one with the other.

Key takeaways

Aging can bring on canities or white hair for all individuals, regardless of gender or race. On the other hand, scalp pruritus can develop due to seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis, and irritation from haircare products. 

Does white hair cause itchy scalps? Are the two connected?

Currently, there’s no evidence that they are. Therefore, further studies will have to be undertaken to show if there really is any relationship between these two manifestations on the top of our heads.

For more on hair and scalp care, click here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Sue Kua, MD


Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated 7 days ago

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