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There are few things in life as annoying as an itchy scalp. It’s uncomfortable, distracting, and when the flakes start covering your favorite black shirt - it’s downright embarrassing!
One in four people in the U.S. suffers long-term with an itchy scalp. That means a quarter of the dudes you pass on the street are battling to contain the itch. Perhaps it’s you?
Thankfully, there are proven ways you can rid yourself of an itchy scalp. However, you first need to get to the root of what’s causing it.
In this article, we’ll explain the itchy scalp triggers and show you how to treat itchy scalp fast!
What causes itchy scalp?
- Oily hair
- Dry scalp
- Hair products (shampoos and conditioners)
- Blow drying your hair too often or too intensely
1. Oily Hair
Can oily hair cause an itchy scalp?
If you’re a guy with naturally oily hair, chances are you've also got an oily scalp. And an oily scalp is often accompanied by an itching sensation.
This condition is known as seborrheic dermatitis and can be caused by several things:
- Hot weather. As we all know, hot weather leads to sweat, which can also trigger an itchy scalp. If you let sweat sit on your scalp for too long, it can clog your hair follicles, leading to itching as skin cells start to build up. As the temperature rises, your body also produces more of its natural oil (sebum) to keep your skin from drying out. This oil can build up and irritate your scalp.
- Stress. Stress can be the cause of many crappy things in life, including an itchy scalp. Stress releases the hormone cortisol into your body, and this makes your skin - including your scalp - produce more oil.
- Genetics. Has Mom or Dad ever suffered from an itchy scalp? Chances are it’s been passed onto you. Your DNA influences everything from your eye color, height, shoe size, and even your body's oil production.
How to get rid of oily hair fast
Unfortunately, you can’t control your genes (just ask any guys who are vertically challenged). However, you can control what you put on your scalp and hair.
Next time you hit the supermarket, don't just grab the first hair product you see. Oily hair and an itchy scalp need an extra dose of TLC!
Many "off the shelf" shampoos will strip your hair and scalp dry. This leads to your body overproducing sebum and only worsening the problem.
Look for products containing plant-based ingredients like lemongrass oil - a natural ingredient shown to reduce dandruff effectively.
2. Dry Scalp
Can dry scalp itch?
Dry skin anywhere on your body tends to become irritated and start to itch. Unfortunately, this includes your scalp.
How to cure dry scalp
Start by ditching your chemical-based hair products and replace them with naturally nourishing products. If you want to get rid of an itchy scalp for good, you need to avoid anything containing chemicals or any of the toxic skincare ingredients.
Best ingredients against dry scalp
When looking for ingredients that you need for your dry scalp problem, pay attention to the following:
- Coconut Oil - Lauric acid found in mature coconuts helps your skin absorb the oils effectively. Many natural shampoos and hair care products use coconut oil.
- Kakadu Plum - A natural extract packed with antioxidants to repair skin damage.
- Peppermint Oil - A soothing oil that has been shown to improve circulation. Improved circulation means increased nutrients to your hair follicles.
- Lemongrass Oil - It is clinically proven to reduce dandruff (and therefore itchiness).
- Aloe Vera Leaf Juice - A natural gel commonly used for its health benefits and moisturizing properties.
3. Hair Products
Many supermarket shampoos and conditioners are full of chemicals and artificial nasties. These toxic ingredients are the last thing you want on your body - especially if you want to treat itchy scalp.
Watch out for products containing parabens - a family of chemical preservatives first introduced in the 1950s. They're used to prolong shelf life in many grooming products by preventing mold and bacteria growth within them.
Parabens can sensitize your skin, causing allergic reactions and dry scalp.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that can trigger an itchy scalp. It causes the skin to build up to ten times faster than usual, creating thick and itchy flakes of skin.
Psoriasis isn't contagious and often affects specific family lines. Flare-ups of psoriasis can be caused by stress, medications, infections, or skin damage such as cuts and scrapes.
What stops the itching of psoriasis?
- Limit your time in the shower to 5 minutes. Too much time in the shower can dry your skin, making the itch worse.
- Apply pH-balanced moisturizer. This helps reduce redness and itchiness. Ensure you use a natural body moisturizer with ingredients like aloe vera leaf juice and avoid anything containing strong fragrances or perfumes.
- Don't scratch! It might feel satisfying at first, but it only makes the problem worse, especially if you draw blood. This can lead to infection and even scarring in some cases. Instead of scratching, apply a moisturizer to itchy skin. Try keeping your moisturizer in the fridge as the cooling sensation soothes your itch.
- No more super-hot showers: Hot water can inflame your skin, causing redness, irritation, and itching
We're all strapped for time and blow-drying is a quick-fire way to dry your hair. While it adds convenience, it may be making your itchy scalp worse.
Can blow-drying cause hair damage?
Frequent blow-drying or hair straightening can damage your hair, leaving it dry and brittle.
The heat can also dry your scalp, leading to irritation and itchiness. Believe it or not, it’s also possible to scorch your scalp with a hairdryer, so be careful!
Where possible, use a clean, soft towel to gently dry your hair, and then let it fully dry naturally.
How to treat itchy scalp fast
No matter what’s causing your itchy scalp, you can be confident that it’s treatable. Here’s a quick recap of the ways you can treat and prevent your itchy scalp:
- Use hair products made with natural ingredients (avoid chemicals)
- Limit your shower time to 5 minutes
- Don't blow dry your hair
- Use a pH-balanced scalp treatment to replenish your scalp's moisture and relieve the itching