Woman scratches her itchy scalp

Itchy Scalp? These Are Your Best Solutions for a Healthy Scalp

Here’s Why You Have an Itchy Scalp and How To Fix It

Are you scratching your head over why you have an itchy scalp? You might be wondering how much itching is normal in a healthy scalp, or whether you need to be worried.

Everyone’s head itches at some point so don’t panic. An itchy scalp could just mean you need to change up your haircare routine. Healthy hair begins with a healthy scalp. Scalp issues like itching, redness, or flakes mean your scalp is out of balance.  

As a stylist, and through my training as a Trichologist (hair expert), I know that an itchy scalp is your body trying to get your attention. It’s telling you to get proactive about your scalp health. You can take your first step to a healthier scalp by discovering your scalp type. 


What’s Your Scalp Type?

According to dermatologists, there are three main scalp types.1 Your scalp type comes down to how much oil (sebum) your scalp produces. 

Your hair type also affects your scalp. Thick or coily hair absorbs more sebum so that might cause your scalp to be dryer. Finer hair absorbs less oil so your scalp may get oily faster.

 

Man looks at his irritated scalp in the mirror

Take the Scalp-Type Test

Knowing your scalp type helps you find the best way to care for your scalp and your hair. It’s easy to take the scalp-type test. Just blot tissue paper on your scalp two days after shampooing.

Here’s how to read your scalp-type test results:

    • Balanced scalp: you’ll see a small translucent mark on the tissue

    • Oily scalp: the tissue will be noticeably oily 

    • Dry scalp: you may not see any deposit on the tissue paper

If you’re experiencing any scalp issues, you may need to make some changes to your haircare routine. Here are the best ways to keep your scalp type healthy:

If Your Scalp Type Is Balanced:

A healthy scalp doesn’t over- or under-produce sebum. If your scalp is healthy, you won’t suffer from any irritation, flakes, excess oiliness or itching. 

Here’s how to care for a balanced scalp:

Wash your hair every three to four days with a gentle shampoo

Avoid sulfates and harmful shampoo ingredients that can unbalance your scalp.

A balanced scalp means healthy hair growth so you shouldn’t notice any excess shedding or hair thinning. 

If You Have a Dry Scalp:

A dry scalp is vulnerable to itching or flaking. It may even look red and irritated. If your scalp is really dry you may also be prone to eczema. 

Here’s how to care for your dry scalp:

Wash your hair only once or twice a week to avoid stripping too much sebum from your scalp.

Calm your scalp by using a scalp Scrub once a week to naturally exfoliate and rebalance your scalp skin.

Stretch your time between washes by using a moisturizing, powder-formula dry shampoo like Arey Wait A Sec®. Unlike aerosols, powder formulas don’t contain chemicals that can dry out your scalp and hair.

Avoid shampoos with sulfates, artificial fragrances, or other potential irritants. Look for clean brands.

Arey haircare products are clean, gentle formulations that help rebalance your hair and scalp to reduce inflammation and irritation. That's why Arey products are always free from gluten, artificial fragrances, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates and harsh sulfate-based cleansers. 

 

Wait A Sec Dry Shampoo

 

If Your Scalp is Oily:

Your scalp is oily because it is overproducing sebum. Why? It could be your hormones. Fried, fatty or processed food can also make your scalp and face skin oily. 

An oily scalp often suffers from dandruff and flakes. Here’s how to care for your oily scalp:

Wash your hair every other day to stop oil buildup that can clog your hair follicles. 

Balance your scalp: use a scalp Scrub 1-2 times a week to balance out sebum overproduction.

Avoid heavy conditioners that weigh down your hair. Look for light balanced products without mineral oil. 

We designed our shampoo and conditioner – Wash and Smooth – to gently cleanse and moisturize all hair types. Our formula contains clean, lightweight moisturizers like jojoba and shea butter that hydrate and repair your hair without weighing it down.

 

Wash and Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner

 

Always remember to apply conditioner only to the ends of your hair so your oily scalp doesn’t get overloaded with product.


Four Signs That Your Scalp Is Unhealthy

As a stylist, I get a good look at my client’s scalps. Here’s my checklist for your best scalp health:

1. Does Your Scalp Have White or Yellow Flakes?

If you are seeing white flakes around your roots, the good news is that it’s not harmful. Almost 50 percent of Americans2 suffer from dandruff. 

Experts believe that dandruff has several causes:

    • An imbalance in your scalp skin
    • Excess sebum production
    • Cold or dry weather
    • Eczema or psoriasis

If your flakes are yellowish or greasy-looking, then you may have seborrheic dermatitis. This can be linked to hormone changes and certain immune disorders.3 Ask your medical practitioner for advice on the best treatment for this condition.

 

Close up image of flakes on an irritated scalp

 

Don’t be tempted to add oil. Dandruff is not caused by dry skin. Adding oils to your scalp, or using conditioners full of oils, might make your dandruff worse. Look for a lightweight, balanced conditioner.


2. Do You Have an Itchy Scalp?

Mild itching is generally nothing to worry about. If the itching is severe or lasts a long time, then you should seek advice from a hair specialist (Trichologist) or a dermatologist.

Your best solutions to a mildly itchy scalp are:

Protect your scalp from dehydration: sun, saltwater, pool chemicals and hard tap water all strip moisture from your scalp. Wearing a sun hat, rinsing after swimming and installing a filter on your shower can all help.

Get control of build-up: ever scratched your head and seen white stuff under your nails? That’s buildup. You can stop itching from buildup by using a scalp scrub regularly. 

Avoid over-processing: color and other chemical treatments impact your scalp health. Look for gentler solutions like lowlights.

Use a calming scalp serum pre and post coloring: we created Calm It Down™ to soothe, reduce redness and protect your scalp skin. Apply before using hair dye to prevent invitation and after coloring to soothe any redness or itching.

Don’t shampoo every day: overcleansing can cause itching. If your scalp needs a refresh after exercising I recommend rinsing with water to stop any irritation from sweat buildup.

If you’re layering on a lot of hair products you may have product buildup on your scalp. Heavy, oily products combine with dead skin cells and sebum to clog your hair follicles and irritate your scalp. A scalp scrub gently removes all that gunk. Look for one like Scrub that contains dermatologist-recommended5 ingredients for scalp health like salicylic acid.


 Before and After Scalp image when using Scrub Exfoliant

3. Do You Have Excessive Hair Shedding?

It’s normal to shed around 50-100 hairs a day. That can look like a lot if you have long or thick hair. If you’re losing hair at a faster rate, your body may be trying to tell you something.

Here are some of the main ways to help reduce hair loss:

If your hair loss is in a pattern: if you’re seeing hair loss on your crown or temples, then check in with your dermatologist. You may need a clinical hair loss solution. 

Take a look at your diet: a lot of hair loss is caused by nutritional deficiencies, especially iron and B vitamins. A good solution is a hair-health supplement like Not Today, Grey, that boosts hair pigment, growth and thickness.

Think about stress management: stress is a major cause of hair loss. Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to reduce hair-damaging hormones like cortisol and adrenaline by 50 percent.4

Stress and nutritional deficiencies are the leading cause of hair loss from Alopecia Areata. Alopecia causes an immune response in your body so it attacks your hair follicles. Sufferers notice hair complete hair loss in patches. The good news is that lifestyle changes plus medical treatment can usually reverse alopecia.

 





4. Is There Redness on Your Scalp?

This could just be a temporary reaction to something in your haircare routine. If you have redness, flaking or swelling, you should seek medical advice.

Common causes of short-term redness on your scalp include:

    • Allergic reaction to a haircare ingredient 
    • Hair color or chemical treatment
    • Too much heat from a styling tool
    • Sun or wind burn

    If you regularly notice your scalp reacting to hair color, your products or styling tools, here’s what you can do to soothe scalp irritation:

    Look for clean, gentle products: avoid ingredients that can irritate your scalp skin. 

    Turn down the heat: always use heat tools with adjustable settings and use the lowest one that gets you results.

    Protect your scalp before using hair color: you can prep your scalp before hair-dye application by applying Calm It Down™ 4-6 hours before using hair-dye. This will not affect the dye's ability to color the hair. 

    Soothe your scalp after coloring: Calm It Down™ can be used for as long as needed after chemical services to soothe your scalp. It also promotes healthier hair and boosts pigment production. 

    The good news, it’s easy to improve your scalp health. With a few simple changes to your haircare routine, you can quickly make a huge difference to your scalp and your hair. 

     







    How You Can Get and Maintain a Healthy Scalp

    Start your path to healthier scalp and hair by choosing clean products that support and moisturize your itchy scalp. At Arey, we know that healthy hair begins with a healthy scalp so we never use ingredients that could stress your scalp skin.

    Arey products are all free from potential scalp irritants like sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten, formaldehyde, artificial colors, and fragrances. They are also always vegan and cruelty-free. 

    Your scalp and hair health is important to us. We offer 25% off on all subscriptions to help keep you on track with your hair health goals. Because we believe that science + consistency = results.

    We are Arey.

    We want you to feel happy and confident with your hair. Have questions? Say hey@areygrey.com or check out our FAQ page.

     


    Jay Small with customer

    AuthorJay SmallJay Small is a sought-after hair stylist and Trichologist in Los Angeles with over 22 years of experience. His clients consist of high-profile business and creative leaders. He trained as an apprentice to the owner of Paul Mitchell and worked in education and product development for Paul Mitchell Systems. Jay is incredibly passionate about the creative process both in terms of styling hair and developing effective products.



    REFERENCES:

    1. https://www.realsimple.com
    2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
    3. webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments 
    4. https://eocinstitute.org/meditation 
    5. www.webmd.com-scalp-exfoliation