There are three basic reasons why you may constantly feel like you need to scratch your head.
This is the most serious of the three categories—although certainly not life threatening. You may have an autoimmune disease like psoriasis that causes raised, reddish, scalp patches on your scalp. If this is the case, a doctor will recommend an over-the-counter shampoo containing coal tar or salicylic acid, or a stronger, prescription shampoo or topical treatment. It could be a fungal infection, which, when occurring on the scalp is known as tinea capitis or ringworm. Tinea capitis is comparable to athlete’s foot, and a doctor will treat it with an oral, anti-fungal medication.
You may also have an allergy—to a particular food or hair product. Try swapping out your shampoo and conditioner for formulas that are paraben free, silicone free, sulfate free, and has no artificial colorants —all of which have the potential of causing adverse reactions like irritated scalps. If you color your hair, your hair color is another area to explore. Talk to your hair stylist about low-ammonia hair color options, which may be gentler for sensitive scalps.
There’s a big difference between dandruff and ordinary dry scalp. Dandruff is caused when your body has an inflammatory response to an overabundance of yeast production on the scalp. Dandruff flakes will stick to the scalp and to your hair brush more readily than the powdery white flakes associated with dry scalp. The best treatment for a mild case of dandruff is a shampoo with anti-bacterial and calming ingredients like pyrithione zinc and mint leaf.
If you’ve ruled out all of the above, you likely falls into this broad category. Bottom line? Your scalp is just plain dry. You see your scalp is skin, and like the skin elsewhere on your body, it requires your body’s natural oils (known as sebum) to keep it supple and hydrated. If that sebum production slows, your scalp will feel dry, tight and itchy.
Here are some of the things that can cause your head to become dehydrated:
Ready to fight the moisture zap that can really escalate at this time of year? Here are seven strategies for fighting scalp dryness. When you do, there’s a bonus—you’ll likely discover that your hair becomes bouncier, shinier and easier to manage, too!
Spring is around the corner, and in warmer weather, dry scalp conditions tend to abate. In the meantime, remember to treat your scalp like you would the skin anywhere else on your body and you’ll never experience that head-scratching dryness again!