DO’S & DON’TS FOR AN ITCHY, FLAKY SCALP

By Erin Manoles, PA-C

If you’re catching yourself itching and scratching the top of your head, or if you’ve been noticing flakes in your hair or on your shoulders, we have some helpful tips to combat those problems.

DO THIS!

  • Wash your hair regularly. Itchy, flaky scalps can result from built up oils, so pick up the frequency of washes.  A clean scalp is a happier scalp!
  • Wash and rinse with warm, not hot water, as this can be drying on the scalp and contribute to itching.
  • Use a gentle, fragrance free shampoo to ensure there are no irritating ingredients getting added into the mix. 
  • If you are noticing flaking, you may have a condition called seborrheic dermatitis – more commonly known as dandruff. Alternate between over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoos with different active ingredients (pyrithione zinc, selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, salicylic acid, coal tar) to help reduce inflammation and oil production. 

AVOID THIS!

  • Products with dyes and fragrances can cause irritation and itching if you have an allergy to one of the ingredients or generally sensitive skin. Stick with a gentle, fragrance free shampoo.
  • Scratching or aggressively scrubbing the scalp can feel like temporary relief, but an inflamed scalp is one that can be easily injured. There are even some itchy and flaky scalp conditions, like psoriasis, that can actually spread to areas where you have been scratching. Be gentle and kind to your scalp.
  • A few parting pearls about anti-dandruff shampoos: if you have blonde hair, don’t use coal tar anti-dandruff shampoo. It can cause an orange discoloration. Otherwise, coal tar is not much of an issue for darker hair colors.

If you tend to have a sensitive or irritated scalp, you can give our fragrance-free Skin Wise Organics Gentle Hair and Body Wash a try.  Whether you are using a fragrance-free shampoo or one formulated to treat seborrheic dermatitis, you can pair it with our Skin Wise Organics Nourishing Hair Conditioner.   

Ultimately, there are various conditions that can cause scalp irritation and scaling. If you have questions or are struggling to alleviate scalp itch or flake, we are more than happy to visit with you in person or virtually to assess your skin and go over treatment options.


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