Throughout this past 3 weeks, I have noticed that my scalp has become increasingly itchy, like its embarrassing when you are out and you can get your fingers out of your hair because of that one itchy spot. So I took to google, and looked up causes of itchy scalp. Then I looked for causes of itchy scalp specifically for natural hair women because I know we use more products and do more things to maintain our hair, therefore we could possibly have more causes of itchy scalp.
Anyways here are a list of the common causes I found, for natural hair women and general causes as well:
- If you are wearing hair extensions, a wig or a weave, especially synthetic hair, the chemicals or products used to treat the hair during manufacturing, could affect your scalp.
- Dandruff (a condition on its own that needs to be addressed separately)
- Dry scalp
- Allergy or sensitivity to hair products, hair dyes or specific ingredients, other general allergies.
- Scratching itself can allow more bacteria into the dermal layers of your scalp, resulting in increased itchiness.
- Fungal or bacterial infection of the scalp
- Stress and Anxiety
- Head lice
- Folliculitis (infection of a hair follicle)
- Dirty Scalp – many naturals tend to cut shampooing out of their regimen because they don’t like the stripping away of moisture and oils. However cleansing your scalp is very important and you can use alternatives to shampoos. But having dirt clogged up in your pores can lead to an itchy scalp.
- Environmental pollution
Personally for me, I think my itching is a result of several factors. Some of you may know I have relocated from London to China for a few years to complete my medical degree. China is a very very very polluted area, even more so than London. So I believe that maybe the pollution in the air is affecting my scalp.
Secondly, I had braids in when I came so my scalp was exposed to the air. Also the kinky twists have been said to be treated a lot during manufacturing, even more so than other synthetic hair. Again, my scalp my have reacted to this because believe it or not his is the first time I have done kinky braids.
Anyways, I took out the braids not long after settling into China ( I cant keep braids for more than 6 weeks lol, I’m so bad at keeping them neat). My current hairstyle is a full lace wig. I have jumped on to the wig life because it is very convenient for me ( I will do a separate post on my light yaki full lace wig). However, the wig is human hair so I don’t think that has much effect.
Obviously in China , I am unable to find my usual shampoo and conditioner (Tresemme Naturals), so I had to look for a different brand with friendly ingredients to use instead. This switch in hair products may also have affected my scalp. Next time I go home, I will be sure to bring some Tresemme Naturals back with me. Fortunately, I brought my other hair products with me, my Shea butter, my oils, etc., so all hope is not lost!
So how do you go about treating or relieving the itchiness?
- You can elevate dry scalp by moisturizing not just your hair but also your scalp using water based products and both carrier and essential oils. Simply message your hair with oils to keep it moisturized.
- Incorporate scalp cleansing into your regimen, it does not have to be weekly but do not go too long without actually cleaning your scalp. You can use a sulphate free shampoo, or other kitchen ingredients such as apple cider vinegar or baking soda. Dilute with water and rinse scalp with it. You can read how to wash with these kitchen products here.
- Tea tree oil has anti-itching properties, add a few drops to your hair products, especially the products that use for your scalp.
- Aloe vera gel is also very good in reducing itchiness. Massage into scalp.
- If you have braids in , there are some hair sprays sold in any African hair store, specifically to relieve the itch, they actually do work. This is the brand I use when I have braids in:
- If you find yourself relocating to a more polluted area, try to go out with hairstyles that cover the most of your scalp, i.e. do less flat twist, bantu knots etc. You can also try wearing more head scarves etc. Eventually your scalp may get used to the increased pollution but for the mean time you can try protecting your scalp this way.
- Head lice are not common in the African community, however if you do have head lice, there are quick and easy products found in your local super market that can kill lice within like 5 minutes.
- If your are suffering from itchy scalp, make sure you have clipped short nails to prevent more bacteria from reaching your scalp and causing more infection and itchiness
- Usually with dandruff, there may be an underlying cause such as eczema or psoriasis, in which case the dandruff will be treated when you treat these conditions, and the itchiness will also be relieved with reduced dandruff.
Make sure you take action against itchiness, because persistent itchiness can lead to a very sore and painful scalp and increased risk of fungal and bacterial infection.
Love y’all, take care of your hair and take care of yourself!