Why Is My Scalp so Itchy? 8 Common Reasons And How To Get Relief

As long as we’ve had scalps, some have itched. Though it’s a common and natural occurrence for everyone, it can still be embarrassing every now and then. Fortunately, there are some reasons and remedies that we can share here. Be rest assured that there is nothing wrong with having an itchy scalp from time to time.

But before you jump into our list, I do want to advise you to see a dermatologist or general practitioner for more serious scalp issues. An itchy scalp can be a symptom of a moderate to severe skin condition that requires prescribed medications. So make sure that you consult a doctor if you’re experiencing burning, pain, heavy flaking, or if the itching doesn’t go away after these minor treatments.

Why Is My Scalp Itchy?

  1. Dirty tools

If you wouldn’t cook in a dirty pan, then you shouldn’t comb your hair with a dirty comb. Combs, flat irons, brushes, and even curlers can collect dead skin cells, shed hair, and old product that can cause itching, inflammation, and infection. But dirty tools won’t just leave your scalp inflamed. If you neglect to clean tools that collect hair and produce heat (i.e. flat iron, blow dryer attachments, etc.) you can cause a fire. So make sure that you’ve cleaned out those tools before each use to ensure that your freshly washed scalp stays fresh.

2. Too much product

We all know the old saying: “You can have too much of a good thing.” Well, that applies to our hair too. Though there are many great products out there, a natural really only needs the following:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner and/or Leave-In
  • Styling gel

Anything else is advanced hair care. When I first started, I was using Eco styler, curling cream, a personal oil concoction, and anti-frizz serum just for a twist out. If you think that using too much product might be the culprit, try reducing your products down to those three basics for two weeks and see how you feel.

3. Intolerant to Certain Oils

When I first went natural, I fell in love with a certain branded products. They were affordable, my hair loved it, and it smelled great. But after a while, I started to notice that my hair became intolerably itchy and started flaking constantly. When I stopped using these products and switched to a competitor brand and pure olive oil, the inflammation and amount of flaking went away. Now there are times that companies will alter their ingredients, and this can cause a negative reaction too. Fortunately, you can always try other brands or make your own hair care serums and creams.

There are times when it’s the brand and then there are times when it’s the oil. Carefully pinpoint which is which and don’t be afraid to change things up. I personally hate wasting money when I have to throw out a product, but if you can’t give it to a friend or family member, then it’s okay to let it go. Your health is more important than your wallet.

4. Your hair may not be moisturised enough

This reason might seem very basic, but it’s a major reason why most naturals suffer from an itchy scalp. But keep in mind that lack of moisture can come from anywhere.

The best thing you can do for your body is drink water. Now don’t feel obligated to start carrying around a gallon of water wherever you go; feel free to start slow and make it fun. Here are a few tips to start:

  • Get a fun water cup to drink from and commit to finishing it
  • Drink flavoured or sparkling water
  • Add fruit, cucumber, or herbs to your water to add taste
  • Add ice to your water to make it refreshing
  • Get an app to help you to track how much water you’re drinking

Another way to make sure that your hair is properly hydrated is by using a hydrating shampoo, spray and conditioner. Try a conditioner and shampoo that specifically say they’re moisturising, thirst-quenching, or hydrating. I also recommend using a clarifying shampoo once a month to make sure that you’ve properly removed any extra product build-up.

5. Not washing your hair properly, or at all

Shampooing has always been a controversial topic for naturals. Many have listened to guru’s who do pre-poos, co-washing, or no-poos at all. But the truth is, you need to wash your hair and wash it thoroughly. If you put products in your hair or sweat, then you need to be washing your hair regularly. Depending on the thickness of your hair, it might be a good idea to separate your hair into sections to make reaching your scalp and detangling easier.

6. You may have a fungal infection

Fungal infections are a common reason for itchy scalps too. Fungal infections can be caused by your hair not drying properly, certain bacteria producing too much, fungi or bacteria entering a wound, and many other reasons. However, this can only be determined by a doctor, so if your hair is still itchy after you’ve done all that you can, make sure that you seek a doctor.

7. The season is changing

Our environment can affect our bodies more than we think. So try to listen to your body as the seasons change. You may have to adjust your routine based on your environment at the time.  I often wear my hair in protective styles and wash my hair more frequently in the spring and autumn; I especially love wearing head-wraps. They keep my head cool, my ends safe, and keep all that pollen out of my hair.

8. Poor diet

It may seem like a cliché at this point, but it’s true that having a poor diet can affect every aspect of your body – including your scalp. Your skin is your largest organ and, like any other organ, it gets affected by the things that we eat. So make sure that you’re eating healthy most of the time, exercising, staying hydrated, and getting enough sun. I found that I started feeling better before looking better. It may take a while to see the results that you want, but it’ll be worth it.


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