In a world where pollution and allergies are on the rise, it’s all the more important to be on the lookout for and know how to spot the most common sensitive scalp causes. While each individual will experience sensitivity in different ways and for different reasons, each issue can have a huge impact on a person’s overall health and well-being. So, what causes sensitive scalps and how can we deal with it?
People prone to sensitive scalps should try to take a break from harsh products when they can. This means avoiding box hair dyes that contain known allergens such as PPD in favour of organic dyes such as Henne henna which offer natural restorative effects. Henna’s antifungal components and gentle pH give your scalp a break, leaving your skin rejuvenated and dandruff free, so your scalp can naturally heal.
Hair and curl relaxers
Hair and curl relaxers are notorious for damaging the follicles of your hair, but they can also lead to a sensitive scalp. Typically, the chemicals in relaxers (and particularly in lye-based relaxers) have low pH levels, meaning that both your scalp is at risk of damage from chemical burns and risks associated with cancer may be higher. Ditching hair relaxers in favour of other (and more natural) products such as an organic henna conditioner is far healthier for you and your hair.
Shampoos and Conditioners
One of the most common sensitive scalp causes is picking the wrong shampoo and conditioner for your skin type. Many hair cleansing products contain common allergens in their ingredients list, leading to allergic reactions and irritation along your neck and scalp.
If you’re a dry and itchy skin sufferer, try using conditioner for sensitive scalp and skin such as the Henne Henna conditioner. The gentle formula is designed to strengthen your hair by enfusing moisture into the hair fibres and injecting it with a natural volume and shine.
Hair treatment and styling
Hairstyles and hair types
A number of hairstyles and hair types are common culprits for sensitive and tender scalps. Hairstyles that create a lot of tension around your scalp such as tight ponytails, braids, cornrows, and other updos can all damage your hair follicles. In fact, some of these styles can result in a sensitive scalp and hair loss as the strength of follicles is worn down with time and this is known as traction alopecia.
If you think a rigid hairstyle might be the perpetrator of your discomfort, you should let your hair down – and especially at night when the tension will pull for hours and lead to a sore scalp in the morning.
Just like overusing hair treatment products that don’t match up with your hair type, the wrong styling products can lead to an unhappy scalp. This means minimising the amount of product you use or avoiding those that contain harsher chemicals. If you use colour treatment products switching to natural alternatives is your best bet. For instance, Surya colour fixture shampoo not only helps you retain colour but includes 15 botanicals that help nourish and protect the stands of your hair.
Taking very hot showers
Everyone loves a hot shower, but did you know frequent hot showers can exasperate dry and sensitive scalps? By washing your hair at too hot temperatures you can accidentally strip the strands of their natural, protective oils. We recommend avoiding uber-hot temperatures when washing hair and using a natural organic shampoo to lock in a healthy shine.
Washing your hair too often
There’s a lot of debate on how often should you wash your hair. Is washing daily better for sensitive scalps and how do you avoid drying out your hair? Well, we recommend striking a careful balance between which products you use for your hair and how often you wash it. Organic, plant-based products such as henna shampoos are less likely to dry out your locks and are healthier to use every day.
Overusing heat-styling tools such as hair dryers and straighteners can lead to frizzy and crispy hair that will damage the strands of your hair and make it brittle. What’s more, the heat can really dry out your scalp, so letting it dry naturally from time to time can really improve your scalp’s condition. Another tip is to use a heat protection spray or serum to create a shield between your hair and your piping-hot styling tools.
There are many skin conditions that can affect the health and feel of your scalp. If any of the following sounds like they’re describing you, make sure to contact a specialist such as your GP to receive the medical treatment you deserve.
Scalp psoriasis is a skin disorder that is unfortunately fairly common. It’s a type of plaque psoriasis that causes extreme itchiness, scales and sensitivity across your scalp. Sometimes this can lead to a sensitive scalp and hair loss, but only in rare cases.
Eczema can occur anywhere on the body, but on the scalp, it is particularly annoying. There are a number of types of eczema and they all cause dryness and skin irritation in contact with particular irritants or allergens. dandruff
Again, dandruff is a common skin condition affecting 50% of the population. It can’t be caught and isn’t harmful, but the condition can be uncomfortable to manage and affect your self-esteem. Symptoms include scaly, red or flaky patches and varying degrees of itchiness.
This skin condition is associated with an itchy rash, general inflammation and in rare cases blisters. Dermatitis can be triggered by contact with certain metals, soaps, cosmetics, plants pollution and laundry detergents amongst other things.
Other sensitive scalp causes
If you’re a keen swimmer, this could be one of the reasons why you’re experiencing a sensitive scalp. Swimming hair protection starts with wearing a swimming cap, reducing contact with chlorine-treated water or maybe investing in some aftercare. A nourishing hair mask will restore the hair fibre with mango butter and fig vinegar.
Weather and sunburn
Sensitive scalp sufferers should try to do all they can to protect hair from sun damage. Extended sun exposure and living in a location with a varying climate can threaten the health of your tresses by bleaching and drying out your hair. Because of this prevention is key – minimise your exposure to those harsh UV rays and rejuvenate your hair with a hair mask or organic oils such as coconut, jojoba and aloe vera.
When you ask what causes sensitive scalps, whether or not you have allergies should be at the forefront of your mind. If you experience seasonal allergies you may be at higher risk of developing a tenderness and sensitivity on your scalp.
Poor mental health
There’s a proven correlation between mental and physical health, meaning that if you’re mentally unwell you’re less likely to be physically well either. Common risk factors for tender and painful scalps include depression, stress and anxiety – make sure to see a professional if things are getting on top of you.
To sum up
Whether your sensitive scalp stems from styling, hair products or a skin condition, we advise making the switch to natural products like henna hair care. By using additive and chemical-free shampoos and the like, you can reduce discomfort and alleviate your symptoms. A purifying hair routine will transform the look and feel of your hair, giving those follicles the time to decompress and revitalise – just like you.
Now, you know how to spot the most common sensitive scalp causes learn more about our recommended sensitive scalp treatments.