Many women struggle with itchy scalps (cue hlokoloza head scratch). However, dealing with a sensitive and itchy scalp on a daily basis can cause more pain than we’re willing to admit. Trichologist Dr Leticia Kuda Mupawose answers the question to why you may be dealing with a sensitive, itchy scalp.
What causes my sensitive and itchy scalp?
It’s always important to understand why your scalp is itchy. Scalp itchiness (pruritus) can be caused by several things, including stress (which is a common cause of itchiness), dry scalp, frequent hair-washing with hot water and aggressive shampoos, holding a hair dryer close to the head and cold windy weather in combination with dry air from indoor heating.
Sometimes I get small hairless patches on my scalp – what is the reason for this?
The itchiness of your scalp may result in bald patches (alopecia areata). However, it is not known why alopecia areata or other autoimmune diseases occur. It is thought that something triggers the immune system to react against one or more of the body’s own tissues. Possible triggers include viruses, infection, medicines or other environmental factors.
How can I treat this?
Once you have identified the likely cause of your itchiness, you can follow one of the following DIY treatment methods to assist with your itchy scalp:
- In winter: Don’t over-shampoo your hair and when you do wash it, deep-conditioning is key, as this helps bring back the oils stripped by shampoo.
- Avoid using too many hair oils – oils are not moisturisers. They lock in or lock out moisture from hair, but can coat your scalp and increase itchiness.
- Get into a layering regime, as this will help retain moisture in your hair and scalp.
- Massaging your head is very important, as it will help stimulate your scalp’s own oil production, which decreases itchiness.
- Spray water on your hair and scalp frequently, should you experience itching, as it may be due to a dry scalp.
It is advisable to seek advise from a trichologist when dealing with serious scalp conditions, once you have exhausted all home remedies.