An itchy scalp is not only irritating and sometimes painful, but it can also make those suffering feel self-conscious – especially when the itching leads to a flaky scalp and dandruff. In this article we will be sharing the most common causes of an itchy scalp, and what you can do to help alleviate the symptoms and fix the underlying issue.
What Can Cause an Itchy Scalp?
First thing’s first, dandruff is often regarded as a symptom of an itchy scalp, but did you know that it is actually a cause of its own? Dandruff refers to a form of dermatitis in the scalp, which is called ‘seborrheic dermatitis’ and is the most common cause of an itchy scalp – with the oil-secreting glands in the scalp becoming inflamed and leading to itching and flaking. Of course, this has to come from somewhere, with most doctors linking this kind of seborrheic dermatitis to hormonal fluctuations, seasonal changes, or a yeast overgrowth on the skin.
Another common cause of your itchy scalp could be a little more self-imposed – with the very products we use to keep our hair clean and fresh often being to blame for our scalp and hair problems. A build up of products at the roots can sometimes lead to an itchy and irritate scalp, as silicones and other plastic sources in these products can suffocate the hair follicle and cause them to inflame.
And then we have the less obvious but still very prominent causes, including:
- Head lice
- Migraines and headaches
All of these causes can be attributed to both internal and external issues, both hormonal and relating to the changing seasons which can exacerbate and irritate underlying conditions.
Now that we’ve covered the potential causes behind your itchy scalp, how can you manage the symptoms and deal with the underlying problems causing your itchy scalp?
Top Tips for Dealing with an Itchy Scalp
Dealing with an itchy scalp means managing the symptoms and dealing with the root cause of the problem; both of which require their own methods and steps to take.
The first thing to do is research and look into the ingredients and products you can use that minimise the symptoms. Some of the most common include camphor, which is good for cooling and soothing the scalp, witch hazel which is anti-inflammatory and absorbs oil, and salicylic acid which is a popular exfoliating ingredient which can help to strip away the dead skin cells on the surface layer of the scalp. Factoring these ingredients into your haircare routine can help to deal with the root problem.
Aside from specific products, some of which can even be prescribed if you feel like your itchy scalp requires further treatment there are other things you can do to manage an itchy scalp: the first of which focusses on haircare once your hair is dry.
Brushing is one thing that most of us factor into our daily routine – but when we don’t brush regularly, skin cells can build up at the roots and cause the kind of itching which can make flaky skin worse. Brushing helps to shed old skin cells and keep your hair fresh and bouncy, so it’s always worth having a small comb in your handbag to freshen up during a day out as well as at home.
Another thing you can do, and one which is so often overlooked, it look at your diet and hydration, and how that might be affecting your hair. All too often, people forget that their diet is intrinsically linked with their hair, skin and nails, with a lack of oil in your diet leading to dried out skin and hair. Eat plenty of healthy fats and stay hydrated to keep your hair in the best possible condition.
Our final tip is simple – every time you wash your hair, follow the process up with a cold rinse. This is a great way of refreshing the scalp, ensuring everything is rinsed out thoroughly, and that your hair has a lovely sheen to it that can only be achieved with cool water.
An itchy scalp is irritating, sometimes painful, and difficult to live with and manage. Hopefully you now feel that you not only understand where your itchy scalp might be coming from, but also able to manage it and deal with the underlying conditions that could be causing you problems.
For more severe cases, we always recommend contacting a doctor to discuss your individual needs.