Itchy skin can occur anywhere on the body. The reasons are usually skin irritation, skin damage, or some skin disease. An itchy skin on the forehead is also caused by similar factors. Itchy forehead is a common but transient symptom. The condition usually resolves quickly with some rubbing or scratching. In some cases, however, itching on the forehead may persist for a longer period, and even worsen over time. Also, an itchy forehead may be accompanied by a skin rash in some cases.
Causes of an itchy forehead
Itching on the forehead may either occur on its own, or along with other symptoms such as a skin rash. The cause of an itchy forehead that occurs without any other accompanying symptoms is difficult to diagnose. A variety of skin conditions can cause an itchy forehead.
Read more on scalp problems.
Allergic skin reactions are a common cause of itchy skin. One of the common causes of an itchy forehead is skin irritation caused by a condition known as atopic dermatitis or eczema. Atopic dermatitis is commonly associated with asthma and allergic rhinitis, and is characterized by the appearance of red, scaly, and itchy skin rash.
Atopic dermatitis mainly develops during childhood, mostly in people who have a family history of this condition. Another example of an allergic cause of itchy forehead is allergic contact dermatitis. This condition is characterized by an abnormal immune reaction to some harmless substances with which a person may come in contact. People with a hypersensitive immune system are more likely to have allergic contact dermatitis.
Skin irritation caused by a variety of substances is another possible cause of an itchy forehead. The main irritants of the skin on the forehead are hair care products, soaps, sweat, and skin care products. Irritant contact dermatitis is a common example of a condition caused by skin irritation. Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes into prolonged contact with an irritant substance. This condition is not caused by an allergic reaction, and anybody can suffer from it.
Hair and hair care products
Skin irritation on the forehead can occur even with something as innocuous as prolonged contact of the skin with hair. Skin irritation in these cases may be due to dust, dirt, hair styling gel, hair dyes, and hair straightening chemicals present in the hair. Both skin irritation and skin allergies are possible when the skin on the forehead comes into contact with these substances. For example, hair dyes are known to cause skin allergies.
Hats, helmets and scarves
A variety of headgear such as scarves, helmets, hats, headbands, and veils can cause an itchy forehead. In many cases, an itchy forehead may be caused by irritant contact dermatitis, in which the headgear directly chafes and irritates the skin. A specific material in the headgear could also be the cause of an itchy forehead.
Additionally, the sweat and heat generated by covering the head may also cause skin irritation and itching. In some cases, an itchy forehead may also be accompanied by a skin rash that is restricted to the region of the skin that comes in contact with the headgear.
Acne can occur in any region of the skin. Acne on the forehead is commonly associated with acne present on the face and the scalp. Teenagers are most commonly affected by acne. However, acne can also occur in adulthood. The main causes of acne or pimples are inflammation and blockage of hair follicles, overactive sebaceous glands in the skin, and bacterial infections of the hair follicles. Itching on the forehead may also occur without any accompanying pimples.
Sunburns occur with prolonged exposure of skin to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The skin on the forehead is one of the most exposed parts of the skin. Therefore, sunburns frequently affect the skin on the forehead. Mild cases of sunburn may present with itching as the only symptom. In more intense cases of sunburn, the affected skin areas become red and swollen.
These skin areas eventually peel off. Itching in these severe cases may precede the appearance of other skin symptoms. It is important to note that exposure to sunlight is not the only cause of sunburns. Exposure to any source of ultraviolet light, such as tanning booth and beds, can cause sunburns.
Wound healing is often associated with an itching skin in the affected area. This is especially the case when the wounded skin area has been covered with plaster or adhesive bandages. A healing wound on the forehead can be the cause of itching in some cases. Pain may also be present.
In some cases, no obvious skin problem may be evident. In such cases, itching may be attributed to psychological causes. For example, nervousness and anxiety are known to cause an itchy skin. In such cases, the itchy feeling subsides when the heightened emotional state changes. In some people, an itchy forehead may be a habitual response to stress (nervous tics).
Chronic skin diseases
A number of skin diseases are known to cause itchy skin as a symptom. An itchy forehead in these diseases may or may not be accompanied by a skin rash. Examples of diseases that may cause an itchy forehead include chickenpox, shingles, ringworm infections, head lice, psoriasis, neurodermatitis, liver disease, seborrheic dermatitis, scabies, and urticaria.
Read more on itchy scalp.
Treatment for itchy forehead
In many cases, an itchy forehead is a transient condition that resolves quickly on its own. When the itchy forehead is persistent, treatment should address the underlying medical problem. Therefore, one must consult a doctor for proper diagnosis of the underlying cause and an appropriate treatment.
Some general lifestyle measures may be helpful in some cases in providing relief from any itchy forehead.
- Rinsing the forehead and scalp with cool water might help in relieving the itch. Also, it is preferable to use mild soaps and shampoos. After washing, the head and forehead areas should be dried thoroughly but gently. Avoiding antibacterial and perfumed soaps may also help.
- Discontinuing hair care and facial products might provide relief from any itchy forehead in some cases.
- When going out in sun, one should liberally apply sunscreen on the forehead. Using a wide-brimmed hat would also shield the forehead from the harsh sunlight. If using prescription topical applications containing derivatives of vitamin A, one should avoid sunlight altogether.
- Not wearing any headgear, or changing to a headgear made of a different material may also help in some cases. The insides of headgears that cannot be washed (such as helmets and hats) should be routinely exposed to sunlight.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as hair brushes and combs. They can spread conditions such as scabies, head lice and fungal infections.