“AHHHH!!!” is usually the sentiment I feel as I vigorously scratch my head. There’s nothing like a good scratching, right? WRONG! Scratching can lead to many problems like breakage and hair thinning. You can scratch an itch, but vigorous scratching is a no, no. The leading causes of itchy scalp are dry scalp, buildup, perspiration, dandruff or other skin conditions. The best solution is to first determine the cause of itchiness to find your plan of attack.
I believe one of the biggest reasons as to why Black women suffer with itchy scalp is that we oftentimes do not wash our hair enough. When you do not cleanse the scalp, skin cells can build up on the scalp and cause itching and dandruff. I find that if I wash and condition my hair once a week, I do not have problems with itchy scalp. If I let the time in between washings go into the two-week and three-week zone, I’m in trouble. So, what can you do if you have spent lots of hours or money on an elaborate style that you are not yet ready to take down?
If you have dry or itchy scalp its bests to use an essential oil that absorbs into the scalp. Some great oils to try for soothing the scalp are peppermint oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, and tea tree oil. Olive oil can be used as a scalp massage. Jojoba oil is great if you suffer from dry scalp because it is structured similarly to the sebum oil our body naturally produces. It can also be used as a hot oil treatment. Be careful because although essential oils are absorbed easily by the scalp, too much oil can cause build up which worsens itchiness. Also, tea tree oil can cause allergic reaction or worsen eczema. Lastly, peppermint oil should always be diluted with water or mixed with a carrier oil like olive oil. There are plenty of products on the market like oil sprays, spray mists, shampoos, etc. that you can try.
Witch hazel has been used for centuries and is known for its healing, soothing, and antiseptic properties. I used witch hazel almost exclusively to scrub my scalp when I was locking to cleanse my scalp. It is cheap and readily available at your local drug store. Dab the witch hazel onto a white cloth, cotton pads or Q-tips and gently scrub the scalp. Don’t be alarmed, you will see a lot of dirt coming up.
These work similar to witch hazel because it is antiseptic. It smells a lot better and leaves the scalp with a fresh, tingly feel. This product does contain alcohol, so I would not suggest using it if you have an irritated scalp or sores. You can also find herbal cleaners in the hair aisle.
If you must scratch, do not use your fingernails. Instead, use the tail end of a rat tail comb to gently scratch. Fingernails are sharper than we think and can make scars in the scalp and damage the hair follicle. Also, fingernails carry bacteria and can spread infection.
What about greasing the scalp?
“Greasing” the scalp is an old school remedy. Get some TCB Hair Food or Blue Magic and life is good…NOT! Try essential oil massage instead. Hair grease, which contains petroleum and mineral oil, sit on the scalp and hair and do not allow moisture to come in. Plus these products cause build up which make itching worse.
Rule of thumb, if you know it’s been a week or more since your last wash, then it is probably time for a wash. Hopefully, some of these remedies will work for you.
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