Itching on the scalp

Pruritus is the unpleasant sensation which causes the sufferer to scratch. Itching can affect any part of the body, including the scalp. Scalp pruritus is very uncomfortable on a daily basis, on a physical, psychological and social level. It is difficult to have an itchy head in public: itching on the head is often misunderstood by those around you, who may think that it is a head lice infestation or a lack of hygiene. To learn more about itchy scalp and the solutions available, click here!



Why does your scalp itch?

Scalp pruritus can have many causes. There is, on the one hand, pruritus of dermatological origin such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, and on the other hand, there is pruritus of non-dermatological origin, or pruritus sine materia, in other words pruritus "without matter", without any skin lesions that could explain it. Pruritus sine materia is of systemic origin (due to a liver, kidney or thyroid disease, an infection, a medication, pregnancy, etc.), neurological origin (due to central or peripheral nervous system damage, or to a pinched nerve) or it can be psychogenic (of psychological origin).

Among the most common causes of itchy scalp there is:

  • Dandruff: also known as pityriasis simplex, dandruff is the presence of flakes, or clumps of dead cells, in the hair and is often accompanied by itching on the scalp.
  • Senile pruritus or pruritus of the elderly. Elderly patients often feel discomfort on the scalp and explain that they have an itchy head.
  • Wearing a helmet, cap or hat frequently, or even daily, especially at work, can sometimes cause itching on the scalp.
  • Some treatments cause scalp pruritus, especially chemotherapy and cancer treatments in general.
  • Wearing a wig, for example in cancer patients, is a major cause of itching on the head.

In parallel, many environmental factors amplify the phenomenon of itchy scalp:

  • Climatic conditions, whether too hot, too cold or too windy.
  • Hair washing conditions: hard water, water that is too hot, unsuitable and/or poorly-rinsed shampoos.
  • Hair drying conditions: friction that is too aggressive or a hair dryer that is too hot or placed too close to the scalp.
  • Unsuitable hair care: excessive brushing, coloring, straightening, repeated perms, etc.

Eventually, people with itchy hair, or scalp pruritus can develop lesions and irritations on their heads, which makes them want to scratch even more: itchy scalp is a true vicious cycle.

How do you relieve itching on the scalp?

Relieving itchy scalp is probably more difficult than for other parts of the body, due to the presence of hair. You will need to find a way to relieve itchy head without damaging your hair or leaving it greasy.

An itchy scalp is above all a sensitive scalp. Your choice of shampoo and complementary hair care is essential:

  • Choose formulas with a minimum of ingredients, that are hypoallergenic and alcohol-free or free of any other substances that can irritate the scalp.
  • Choose products enriched with anti-itching ingredients for optimal efficacy on itchy scalp.
  • Use a treatment shampoo as often as needed to calm itching and soothe itchy scalp. If needed, apply a leave-in anti-itching lotion to provide quick relief.
  • Rinse off shampoo thoroughly, let your hair air dry whenever possible or keep the hair dryer at a safe distance and never on its hottest setting.

How can you soothe itching naturally?

In cases of itchy scalp, many people want to find a natural solution. This is entirely possible and can complement anti-itching hair care.

Vegetable oils such as coconut oil can help soothe itchy scalp, in the form of a hair mask, it can be left on for around 20 to 30 minutes before washing your hair.

Essential oils such as tea tree oil can be used to complete the routine when you have itchy scalp. Caution: never apply pure essential oil directly to the scalp as this may cause irritation. It is preferable to mix essential oils with a vegetable oil or directly into the bottle of the treating shampoo.

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