What's Causing Your Itchy Forehead and How to Treat It

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There are many reasons why a person might have an itchy forehead, including an allergy to contact with various allergens and irritants, as well as several skin conditions. The good news is that an itchy forehead usually results from a condition that is very easy to treat: dry skin.

Simply changing the type of shampoo and cosmetic products you use and tweaking your daily hygiene routine can often be enough to effectively treat an itchy forehead. In other instances, when a medical condition is an underlying cause, a consultation with a healthcare provider may be necessary. It’s important to be able to decipher the difference when it comes to the cause of an itchy forehead so you can treat it properly.

This article discusses the causes and treatment of an itchy forehead.

itchy forehead

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Causes

Itchy Forehead Without a Rash

The most common cause of an itchy forehead without a rash is a harmless condition called dry skin.

Dry skin can be caused by:

  • Cold, dry weather, and other environmental factors
  • Using soaps, makeup, or lotions that contain harsh chemicals or are abrasive
  • Washing your face too often
  • Washing your face with very hot water
  • Wearing hats or bandanas with itchy fabrics

Hair Care Products and Dry Skin

Hair care products, dyes, shampoos, hair spray, and other hair styling products are common culprits of an itchy forehead without a rash. Many of these products contain things known to irritate the skin, including:

  • Sulfates
  • Alcohol
  • Mineral oil
  • Synthetic fragrances

Itchy Forehead With a Rash

One of the most common causes of an itchy forehead with a rash is an allergic response to something the skin has had direct contact with, a condition that is medically coined contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis is caused by direct contact with irritants or allergens.

Symptoms of contact dermatitis include a red rash that is:

  • Swollen
  • Burning or stinging
  • Blistered (may also be oozing or crusting)
  • Dry and cracked
  • Scaly
  • Itchy
  • Painful

Contact dermatitis will usually clear up after the irritant or allergen that caused the skin reaction has been removed.

Other causes of an itchy forehead with a rash may include:

Itchy Forehead With Red Spots

Several skin conditions with symptoms of red spots can cause your forehead to itch, including:

  • Psoriasis: A chronic (long-term) inflammatory skin disease that is considered an autoimmune disorder
  • Eczema: A chronic skin condition that involves periods of flare-ups and remissions. It is considered an autoimmune disorder. There are several types of eczema, including atopic eczema (the most common form) and contact dermatitis.

When to See a Doctor

When symptoms of an itchy forehead (with or without a rash or red spots) do not respond to treatment or prevention measures (such as eliminating irritants), or when the symptoms are severe enough to disrupt your daily routine, it’s important to see your healthcare provider. 

Treatment

The treatment of an itchy forehead depends on the underlying cause of the symptoms.

Skin Conditions

Treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema) may include a prescription for a topical (on the skin) steroid cream to help alleviate inflammation and itching. 

For contact dermatitis, the treatment may involve a patch test to help identify and eliminate irritants or allergens that are causing an itchy forehead with a rash. It’s important to have a healthy home skin care routine, using only the approved skin care products, such as those suggested by the National Eczema Association.

If eczema is severe, your doctor may prescribe an oral (by mouth) or injectable medication, such as a corticosteroid to treat symptoms like severe inflammation.

Prevention

Prevention measures for the most common cause of an itchy forehead—dry skin—include:

  • An antihistamine (to treat symptoms of itching caused by an allergic reaction)
  • Home remedies (such as the use of colloidal oatmeal to alleviate itching)
  • The use of a humidifier when the air is dry
  • Avoiding the use of hot water when showering or washing the hair
  • Eliminating the use of products with harsh ingredients (such as soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, and more) that may irritate the skin
  • Eating a healthy diet (including healthy fats such as olive oil or avocados to help prevent dry skin)
  • Wearing sunscreen to protect the skin from burning
  • Establishing a healthy skin care routine
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Article Sources
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  1. Cleveland Clinic. Do you itch? Know the signs of an underlying medical problem. Updated January 18, 2017.

  2. Cleveland Clinic. Contact dermatitis. Updated October 10, 2019.

  3. Michigan Medicine. UOFM Health. Scalp Problems. February 26, 2020.