Why is my scalp itchy and flaky?

No one likes an itchy scalp and the continuous urge to scratch your head is plain nuisance. Scientifically known as Scalp Pruritus’ the reason behind it can be something as simple as residual hair products to skin conditions like eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. Now the causes and treatments can vary from condition to condition, but they are not entirely different from one another. We are going to break down this dilemma by going through its causes all the way to the best remedies. Characterized with irritated skin which can be flaky in some cases, you can only treat an itchy scalp if you know what is causing it. Let us talk about a few common reasons for your “itchy” situation. 

1. Left Over Hair product

That tropical scented shampoo you really love could be the reason for your scalp irritation. Usually when shampoos or other hair products are not properly rinsed put of our hair they dry out and start looking like white flakes on the scalp.  As unpleasing as that may sound, it’s very common and very easy to treat. Synthetic hair products are usually filled with chemicals that can severely irritate your skin, so it is better to thoroughly rinse them out.

2. Dandruff

You usually find dandruff on scalps that are either very oily or very dry. Although it may not be a serious issue it can be a bit tricky to get rid of it. Dandruff can be because of many reasons for example not washing your hair often, sensitive skin or Malassezia, which is a yeast infection common mostly on oily scalps and sensitive skin. Even though it is nothing serious, diseases like Parkinson’s and HIV have been linked to it.

3. Atopic Dermatitis and Seborrheic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis (also known as atopic eczema) is often found in babies, but adults can have it too. According to the Healthline, the scalp goes through two phases, the acute phase, and the chronic phase. The scalp can become itchy and scaly in the acute phase while inflammation and pain has been recorded during the chronic phase. Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disease. Scaly patches and redness are a common symptom of the disease. Furthermore, it tends to spread from the scalp to the forehead or the back of the neck. We might know it in the form of cradle cap, scalp eczema or scalp psoriasis.

4. Stress

Stressing over that deadline can bring more than just sleepless nights. Scalp irritation and itching is often associated with stress. Stress can take a toll on the entire body including effecting your scalp. In an article published in the Newsweek, a stress-inducing environment can facilitate the production of certain hormones that may cause itchiness around the scalp .

5. Head lice

We have all been through the dreaded days of lice infestations. One of the most common reasons behind an itchy scalp is head lice.  Headlice can be easily transferred from one person’s hair to another. The itching usually is a result of lice bites that may last a couple of days even after the hair has been cleared of all lice.

What can I do?

There are various treatments for your “head scratching” dilemma. While not all remedies give a permanent result there sure are some effective solutions for you.

Organic is the new black.

Synthetic shampoos are filled with chemicals like sulphate, artificial fragrance and other irritants.

Organic shampoos on the other hand are made with all-natural ingredients like natural oils, minerals and herbal extracts. In addition to repairing your scalp they also make your strands healthier and promote hair growth. Since they are composed of natural ingredients, they are suitable for all skin types.

Trustee DIYs

Your mom’s DIY hair mask may not be as useless as you may think. Honey has been known to have nourishing qualities. A simple hair mask recipe is combining honey with yoghurt and leaving it on for two hours or more. Rinse out the mask and see the wonders of nature. Some other DIY masks that you can make are honey, egg and apple cider vinegar or lemon and egg masks.

The Doctor knows best!

Sometimes it is better to consult a dermatologist because skin diseases like scalp psoriasis or scalp eczema cannot be treated by simple home remedies or shampoos. It is best to consult a professional when your skin feels infected, irritated or when DIY home remedies do not seem to help. Depending on the disease and its intensity, your dermatologist might recommend a clinically treated cleanser along with a shampoo or soap.

Easy on the washing

Excessive shampooing can dry out your scalp, and this actually results in itching. Although there is no solid answer as to how much washing you need, most dermatologists recommend washing your hair every second or third day. If your hair feels oily and itchy that is your que for a nice rinse.

Hair is both an accessory and an asset. To sum up, even if you are struggling with scalp issues there is no reason to be embarrassed or self-conscious. A healthy scalp just needs a bit of maintenance with the right products and you are good to go. Happy Hair Day!

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