Ah, the bothersome itch that can turn a good hair day into a not-so-great one. As someone who appreciates the beauty of natural hair care, you're well aware that an itchy scalp can feel like a never-ending annoyance.
So let's decode the top 10 reasons behind this uncomfortable sensation and provide you with expert solutions to soothe your scalp and restore your hair's glory!
First signs of an issue: An itchy scalp
An itchy scalp is typically the first sign that something is not right up there, and something needs fixing. Your scalp should not be dry – ever – so if you are feeling tingling, tightness, burning, and especially itchiness (which is what happens most often), then you want to revisit your routine and fix it up!
Is scratching okay THOUGH? What's wrong with scratching??
The biggest problem with an itchy scalp is that you will probably be scratching it using your nails. Now, think of all the things you touch in a day... heck, all the things you touch in one hour's time! Plus the fact that the fingertips, like the rest of our body's skin, is covered in a thin and protective layer of oil (called 'sebum'). This means that just about everything you're touching is going to have "something" stick to your fingertips:
the dirt covering your keyboard
the germs on the shopping cart
all those door knobs and cupboard handles...
the apples you picked from the supermarket (that dozes of other people touched)...
And then you're going to scratch your scalp? yech!!
Yes, scratching is okay and a natural human reaction to itchiness, but make sure that you either use your finger PADS (not nails) and that you wash your hands well before scratching!
Better yet, let's look at some of the main culprits for an itchy scalp:
1. Dry Skin Drama:
The skin on our scalp can become dry just like the rest of our bodies. Cold Canadian winters, heat styling, and harsh shampoos can strip the scalp of its natural oils, leading to itchiness. Just like your arms and legs can get stretchy, scaley and itchy, so can your scalp! Combat this by washing your hair less often and allowing your natural protective scalp oils do their thing: protect your scalp. You can also switch to a more natural shampoo with conditioning in it, like our Bi-Phase Shampoo Bar or our Powdered Shampoo. Every scalp cleansing routine begins with a shampoo, so make sure yours is as natural as possible, and that it doesn't overly dry your scalp and cause itchiness!
2. Product Residue Resentment:
Sometimes, the products we use to pamper our locks might not be as friendly to our scalp. Residue from hair styling products can build up, leading to irritation. If you're finding that you have to clarify your scalp often, then maybe you should switch to a more natural shampoo, yes? Have a look at our Nourishing Greens Shampoo Bar, which is super gentle on the hair and scalp, and pH balanced to protect them both! A more natural shampoo should clean the scalp effectively, without having to use so-called "clarifying" shampoos which can strip your scalp of its natural oils, again causing itchiness and discomfort.
Have a look at this blog post on the different types of hair shampoos in the mainstream shampoo market, and learn which are marketing gimmicks, and which are worth the spend:
3. Unwanted Guests:
Lice and mites are uninvited visitors that can cause havoc on your scalp. Be vigilant, especially if you have little ones who love to share hairbrushes. If these critters make an appearance, consider using natural remedies or consult with a professional. We have a whole blog post on the topic [HERE], if you suspect lice have popped in for a visit!
4. Sensitivity Struggles:
Just like some people have sensitive skin, some scalps are sensitive too. Certain hair care products or even environmental factors can trigger itchiness. Stick to natural and gentle products, like those in your OBLOOM lineup, to keep your scalp content.
There are some ingredients that people are sensitive to, that you may not think of! Some of the most common ones – even in the natural world – can include:
Cocamidopropyl betaine (a cleanser that many are sensitive to)
Preservatives (as natural as they may be, some are still sensitive and can easily get scalp irritation)
If this is the case, our most natural shampoo is our Unscented Powdered Shampoo (just add your own water to foam up and wash!). Since it doesn't contain water, there are not even any preservatives added in there – so it's safe even for babies and breastfeeding mums.
5. Weather Woes:
Your scalp can be quite the weather barometer. Extreme temperatures, humidity shifts, and sudden weather changes can make your scalp throw a tantrum. Shield your scalp with a hat during intense weather shifts and use a hydrating mask like our Hair Renew Mask to combat weather-induced dryness.
Studies have also indicated that, with all the climate change we are experiencing, the rays of the sun are harsher and the rain is more acidic, affecting the health of our scalps. Yet another reason to protect the scalp when venturing outdoors – regardless of the time of year.
6. Neglecting the Clean Routine:
We get that you are trying to wash less often, but going for weeks on end can also have its negative effects. Sometimes, a basic hygiene routine can be the key to an itch-free scalp. Regular washing with a mild, nature-derived shampoo helps keep oil, dirt, and grime from becoming itch-inducing squatters on your scalp.
7. Allergic Alerts:
Your scalp might be shouting "allergy alert" if it doesn't agree with certain ingredients in your hair products. Sensitivities and allergies can be quite different on any part of the skin:
A sensitivity can cause itchiness, while an allergy can cause redness, swelling and even blistering!
Read labels diligently, and opt for hypoallergenic and natural formulations like the ones we've curated in our OBLOOM line of nature-derived hair products. Here are a list of our ingredients if you'd like to have a peek at why our products are so much more natural than the mainstream products you may find in a drugstore.
8. Stress Showdown:
Stress doesn't play nice with our bodies, and our scalps are no exception. It can trigger or exacerbate itchiness, much like it can cause anxiety, sleeplessness and even hair fall! Incorporate stress-relief techniques into your routine, whether it's yoga, meditation, or a leisurely stroll in our beautiful Canadian outdoors.
9. Dandruff Drama:
Dandruff, caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the scalp, is a common culprit for itchiness. There are many reasons for dandruff, including all of the ones listed above! So if necessary, use an anti-dandruff shampoo, massage your scalp daily, and most importantly – change your haircare routine, including some of the stress-relief techniques previously mentioned. Dandruff IS conquerable! One day at a time.
10. OTHER Health Matters:
Sometimes, an itchy scalp can be a signal of an underlying health issue such as psoriasis or eczema. If your itchiness persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it's best to consult a trichologist or a healthcare professional to get to the root of the issue (pun intended :).
Also, if you are taking prescribed medications, ask your healthcare practitioner if one of the side effects is irritated or dry skin, because some meds can cause skin dryness and skin itchiness (pruritus) – such as:
diuretics (medications to help your kidneys get rid of extra water and salt)
statins (medications to bring down cholesterol)
oral acne medications (like tetracyclin)
antibiotics (like penicillin, amoxicillin – not in all individuals)
aspirin, codeine and some other strong opioids for pain relief
some vaccines, like the Influenza virus vaccine
Don't stop taking your medications, but do consult with your healthcare practitioner about possible side effects.
There you have it, a thorough investigation into the top 10 reasons behind the itchiness that can throw a wrench into your hair game!
Armed with our knowledge and the expertise gained from crafting OBLOOM's nature-derived hair products, you're now well-equipped to tackle scalp itchiness head-on. Remember, a happy scalp leads to happy hair days, and with your dedication to natural and ethical solutions, you're bound to find the perfect remedy for any scalp itchiness woes. So go ahead, bid farewell to the itch and say hello to healthier, happier hair!
-> What did you find helpful? Are there other reasons you think we should add to this list? Comments are welcomed!