There are lots of reasons why so many people have the problem of itchy scalp. Sometimes, though not very often, it can be blamed on someone not washing their hair very often. In this day and time, it is usually the opposite – people are washing their hair too much! They use shampoos and conditioners that are not for their hair type, such as someone with dry, colour-treated hair using a shampoo for lanky, oily hair. What this will do is cause the scalp to get even drier, and if by chance it becomes too dry, you will have more of a problem thank an itchy scalp! You could end up with infected hair follicles, all because of using the wrong shampoo.
There are also chemicals in today’s shampoos which can be quite toxic, yet people will continue to buy them because they don’t know any better, nor do they really want to learn until they come down with an itchy scalp themselves. These chemicals can really do a number on the scalp, drying it out dreadfully and removing all of the natural oils that the scalp must have in order to be healthy. Without the oil, the scalp is wide open to infection and fungus. This is also when the yeast fungus called melassezia that causes dandruff is able to take a toehold on the scalp.
A chemical that you will find in almost all of the popular shampoos on the shelves of stores everywhere is called Sodium Laureth Sulphate. This is a cleaning agent that is also an ingredient in products sold to clean and degrease automobile engines. I doubt anyone’s hair is quite as dirty as a car engine! Sodium Laureth Sulphate drains all the oil from your scalp, keeps the hair follicles from growing as they should, can do damage to the mucous membranes of the body, and will cause the skin it touches to age prematurely. If you care anything at all about the way your skin and hair look, then you will steer clear of Sodium Laureth Sulphate!
An itchy scalp can be caused from another skin condition that occurs on the body. Many times, these skin conditions are caused by hormones, but they can also crop up due to a poor diet, an infection, insect bite, clogged pores which turn into blackheads or pimples, or even an ingrown hair.
There is a fungus called ringworm that is common with cat owners and small children. Cats can be carriers of ringworm, yet never show any signs of it until their immune system is weakened for some reason. It usually shows up on the scalp, but has been know to pop out on the arms, legs, face, or trunk. It can be on more than one part of the body at one time.
Ringworm starts out as a dry, itchy circle of skin that is red and very itchy. The circle can get larger as time goes on. Ringworm comes by its name naturally, for the lesions do have a red “ring” around the outer edge that is scaly and red. The skin inside the ring can look perfectly healthy. Imagine, then, a ringworm lesion on the scalp. There is intense itching, and usually hair loss to the point of baldness. Ringworm is contagious, and can most definitely cause an itchy scalp!
You sometimes see two certain types of cysts on the scalp, the face, the ears, or the upper and lower back. These cysts are called sebaceous and epidermal cysts. They would remind you of a giant pimple, and are usually raised above the level of the skin. When they pop open or are squeezed, they are filled with a greasy white gunk. These cysts are caused by plugged ducts surrounding a hair shaft, and can certainly cause an itchy scalp.
Contact dermatitis is an itchy rash that can be caused either by something you are allergic to, or something that has proven to irritate your skin. Irritant Contact dermatitis can be something like a rash that develops underneath a gold ring, or a rash on the hands after using a new kind of washing up liquid. Allergic Contact Dermatitis is when you have a reaction of hypersensitivity. This is channelled through the body’s immune system, and usually happens when you use a new product such as a dandruff shampoo with Sodium Laureth Sulphate in it. Both kinds of dermatitis can cause an itchy scalp.
Stress in our lives can not only cause an itchy scalp, but can also make someone break out with a bad case of acne, no matter what their age.
And finally, any viral infection such as shingles or chicken pox will definitely cause an itchy scalp – and an itchy body, too!
What can you do to soothe an itchy scalp? A tried an true method is apple cider vinegar. Mix 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar into 1 cup of warm water. After shampooing, pour the vinegar mixture on your scalp and hair, massaging it in with your fingertips. You can either leave it in for 10 minutes and rinse, or not rinse it out at all. Most people prefer to leave the vinegar mixture in their hair. Don’t worry – your hair will smell slightly of vinegar for a short time only. It’s well worth a bit of vinegar smell for the relief of an itchy scalp!
Tea tree oil and peppermint oil, a few drops of either mixed into a cup of warm water and poured over the scalp after shampooing, will also help to relieve your itchy scalp.