There's nothing more frustrating than an itch you can't ease–especially when it's related to your scalp. There are numerous reasons why your scalp may feel itchier than one's should, and we're going to break down the most common causes below.
Itchy Scalp Causes
Some of the most common causes of itchy scalp include:
• Not Washing Your Hair Enough
• Not Rinsing Shampoo Thoroughly
• Using Hot or Hard Water on Your Hair
• Using Too Harsh of a Shampoo
• Scalp Conditions
• Allergic Reactions
• Head Lice
Not Washing Your Hair Enough
Have you ever heard the myth that it's best to go as long as you can in between washes? We're here to tell you that this is false and that it can easily be the culprit behind your itchy scalp. Throughout the day, sweat, dirt, dead skin, and pollution build up on your scalp and clogs your hair follicles. When not removed thoroughly and frequently, this buildup in-between washes can begin to irritate the scalp and lead to frequent scalp itch.
If you find your scalp feeling itchy and irritated regularly and you tend to go a few days in between washes, try increasing your washing frequency as best you can.
Not Rinsing Shampoo Thoroughly
We've all been there–in a pinch for time and we accidentally do a less-than-thorough job at rinsing our shampoo. Although shampoo is designed to cleanse the scalp and remove excess buildup if the product isn't thoroughly rinsed out, your scalp may feel weighed down and unclean. Similar to the sensation of natural buildup on your scalp, your scalp may feel itchier than normal following an improper rinse of hair care products.
If this ever occurs, simply be sure to follow up with another cleanse as soon as you can, and be sure to rinse your scalp and hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. Typically, we suggest rinsing both your cleanse and conditioner for at least 30 seconds each.
Using Hot or Hard Water on Your Hair
We often make the mistake of using hot water in the shower. This will only strip the skin of natural oils, leading to dehydration and an itchy scalp. Similarly, hard water can have an equally damaging effect. It damages the skin’s natural barrier by increasing its surface pH and can therefore increase its susceptibility to irritation.
Always use lukewarm water on your hair. This will help retain those natural oils that our scalp and hair desires. In turn, this will help maintain hydration and reduce the chances of scalp itch. If you think hard water may be an issue in your shower, we would advise looking for a showerhead water softener.
Using Too Harsh of a Shampoo
Standard shampoos may leave your hair feeling squeaky clean, but the harsh sulfates added into these products will strip your hair of any natural moisture present on your scalp. Over time, this will dry your scalp out, leading to an uncomfortable, itchy sensation and sensitive skin.
Using a gentle shampoo free of sulfates or other harsh additives will help to preserve your scalp’s natural moisture and PH, keeping it feeling balanced and comfortable.
If your itchy scalp is paired with redness, flakiness, or any extreme sensitivity, you may have an underlying scalp condition. One of the most common scalp conditions is seborrheic dermatitis. It can also be known as dandruff, seborrheic eczema, and seborrheic psoriasis. Seborrheic dermatitis can be the result of stress, seasonal changes, fluctuating hormones, or an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. When any of these things cause a reaction on the scalp, it leads to inflammation and that itchy feeling.
A consistent hair washing routine full of clean, gentle products can help to ease these conditions should you prefer a holistic approach. Act+Acre products have some specific ingredients which are known to be effective for an itchy scalp. For example, our Scalp Detox includes Coconut Oil. Coconut Oil has the natural ability to penetrate the skin quickly and efficiently, which can boost hydration, improve skin elasticity, fight itch, and reduce the chances of infection. Similarly, one of our latest products, the Scalp Renew, contains Peppermint Oil. Peppermint Oil's cooling properties can help reduce itching.
However, if you find your conditions not improving, or even becoming worse over time, you may want to consider reaching out to a dermatologist for guidance, as they can provide you with medicated products to assist your concerns with these conditions.
Allergic reactions to hair dyes or other chemicals can cause an itchy scalp. Para-phenylenediamine is an ingredient found in hair dye, which can cause an allergic reaction. When an allergic reaction occurs, our immune system will release a chemical called histamine which triggers that itchy sensation.
Allergic reactions will generally go away on their own if you can identify and avoid the chemical to which you are allergic. This is challenging and specialized tests may be needed to identify which chemical is causing the allergy. We would again advise contacting a dermatologist to seek advice if you are experiencing prolonged or worsening conditions.
The common misconception is that you get head lice from poor hygiene. However, a head lice infestation results from the direct transfer of lice from the hair of one person to the hair of another through head-to-head contact. Some people are extremely sensitive to louse bites or saliva and this results in an itchy scalp.
While we would always advise seeking advice from a medical professional, there are some steps you can take to tackle this issue. You can wash hair with shampoo, apply conditioner, and then comb the whole head of hair, from the roots to the ends. Repeat this process regularly to catch any newly hatched lice.
If you have ever experienced sunburn or scalp burn it can be very unpleasant. That itchiness that comes with it is likely because you've damaged the top layer of your skin, the epidermis, which contains many sensitive nerve endings.
Shower in cool or lukewarm water – hot water will only increase discomfort. Avoid hair products with sulfates as they can dry the scalp and cause increased irritation. Sooth the sunburn with Essential Oils or Aloe Vera and stay well hydrated. If you are going outside, wear a hat to protect your scalp from further damage.
Understanding Your Itchy Scalp Cause
The most important thing to identify is the root cause of the problem so that you know how to address it best. Being conscious of the products we use and their ingredients is key to avoid irritation. Act+Acre products are not only sulfate-free but they also contain some soothing agents in Coconut and Peppermint Oil that will help ease an itchy scalp. While our products can be great for itchy scalp issues, please always remember that you should seek medical advice if your condition is prolonged or worsens.