March the Month of 'Good Hair' - Dry/Itchy Scalp
Can't think of many things worse than an itchy scalp...
Patting, scratching, itching, rubbing, it's a nightmare.
Now I've found that most of the time if my scalp is dry/itchy it's down to one of 3 things, sometimes all of them:
- Dirty Hair/Scalp - When was the last time you washed your hair? If you scratch your scalp and your hand smells funky you need to hop in the shower! Often your head gets a little itchy because it's DIRTY. Make sure you wash your hair and cleanse your scalp regularly. You need a clean scalp to promote healthy hair growth. If you use a lot of products, chances are you'll need to wash your hair more often. If you work out a lot you'll need to wash your hair more often too. The salt in your sweat will dry out your hair and scalp. Build up clogs your pores and who wants that? You need to make a conscious effort to ensure that you have washed ALL product out of your hair on wash days. Gently rub your scalp in circular motions with your finger tips, and rinse. My advice is to repeat this 2-3 times. Being thorough is key because a dirty scalp and lots of itching will lead to soreness and tenderness. So before you start panicking, make sure your hair is clean. If you have braids/extensions in your hair, you could try cleansing your scalp with apple cider vinegar. Some people use white spirit, but it will dry the hell out of your hair! Another way to avoid a dirty scalp is to try to make sure that when you are using products, you're applying them to your HAIR and not your SCALP. I'm probably stating the obvious but I know it's something I often forget.
- Damp Hair - This is more of an issue for natural women than women with relaxed hair because generally speaking, relaxed women dry their hair immediately after washing it, and it tends to stay that way. Natural hair needs plenty of moisture, which often entails using/spraying lots of water on your hair. Now this is great for your HAIR, but it can irritate the SKIN. Imagine if the skin on your arm was always wet, or left all day under a damp towel. Chances are your skin would start to itch a little bit. I sometimes forget that my scalp is just hairy skin. So make sure you're not sleeping with soaking wet hair, it's not going to do much for your scalp.
- Lack of moisture. I have dry skin. I moisturise my body everyday. Sometimes at night too. So why should my scalp be any different? This point probably sounds like a bit of a contradiction to the first two, but it's not. Well, maybe it is a bit but well, black hair is complicated like that I guess. So anyway, I use coconut oil to lightly moisturise my scalp 3 times a week. It prevents dryness and flaking and coconut oil naturally has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which is great. I like the way coconut oil smells, used in moderation it isn't too greasy and provides instant relief from itching. I used to use castor oil but I found it a bit too thick and gloopy for my scalp, that's just me though.
Dandruff is probably the most common, or should I say well known cause of dry itchy scalp. It's horrible and annoying, and it can be embarrassing if your scalp is flaking.
The thing about dandruff is it can be caused by a lot of things; stress, genetics, puberty, change in seasons, too much oil in the skin, fungal infections to name a few. Please note: DANDRUFF IS NOT CONTAGIOUS!
- White or grey dry flakes of skin on your scalp and in your hair.
- The flakes are often noticeable and sometimes fall from your scalp on to your shoulders.
- Tight, sore or slightly itchy scalp
In my teens I got dandruff a lot. I used Head and Shoulders shampoo and conditioner. It worked BUT it dried out my hair... and that was when my hair was relaxed so I can't even imagine the effects it would have on my natural hair now.
Medicated shampoos (shampoos that contain specific anti-infective and antifungal ingredients to treat conditions affecting the skin and scalp) that contain the ingredients (Zinc pyrithione/Salicylic acid/Selenium sulfide/Ketoconazole/Sulfur/salicylic acid combined with sulfur) are effective in treating both skin conditions. You can buy them over the counter in pharmacies.
Deep conditioning may be problematic for some people when treating dandruff, so try using Shea butter instead of your normal deep conditioner, also try doing hot oil treatments with coconut oil and vitamin E oil.
Dry/itchy scalp can be a nightmare, but it's not the end of the world and unless you have a more serious skin condition, it is manageable!
Hope this helps,
Ciao for now xxx