Our scalp is very sensitive. Therefore, careful care is important to prevent discomfort such as dandruff or itchy scalp. If itching occurs, a too-dry scalp is often the cause. The skin usually dries up due to external causes such as frequent showering and constant blow-drying of the hair. Even a wrong shampoo can help to irritate the skin. In some cases, there is also a disease behind a dry, itchy scalp.
Function of the scalp
The scalp is one of the most sensitive regions of our body. Nevertheless, she is often given too little attention. Then, problems such as dry skin or itching can occur. The hair also often suffers because the health of the scalp affects the appearance of the hair.
The scalp, like the rest of our skin, consists of several layers. In the deeper layers, new cells are continuously formed, while dead cells on the skin surface are rejected. The skin contains hair roots, sebaceous and sweat glands as well as immune cells and nerves. Together, they perform functions such as fluid exchange, sensory perception and temperature regulation.
If the processes occurring in the scalp are disturbed, local complaints may occur: the most common problems include dehydration, dandruff and itching. Triggers are often external influences such as sun, cold or hot blow dry. However, illnesses, hormonal changes, certain medications and the use of care products are also considered.
Four scalp types
Depending on the condition of the scalp, four different types of scalp are generally distinguished:
- Normal scalp: The sebaceous glands produce so much sebum that the hair does not get greasy, but the skin and hair remain supple. Fat and fluid balance are thus in balance.
- Dry scalp: The sebaceous glands do not produce enough sebum or the scalp is not supplied with enough nutrients. As a result, they lack fat and moisture.
- Oily scalp: The sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, resulting in greasy, stringy hair. Possible triggers are hormonal changes or stress.
- Scaly scalp: Dandruff on the head can be associated with both a dry and a greasy scalp. Again, stress and changes in hormone balance are considered the main triggers.
When the scalp itches, often too dry skin on the head of the trigger. There are a number of causes behind a scalp that is too dry: sun, salt water, chlorinated water, low humidity and hot blow-drying may be an option. Likewise, the scalp can be strained by a mechanical irritation - for example, by wearing caps or helmets. After all, a dry scalp can also be genetic.
If your scalp is dry and itchy, choose soft shampoos as much as possible. Ideal are products with moisturizing agents that soothe the irritated scalp again. Also suitable are products with herbal extracts and vegetable oils. However, do not massage the shampoo too much into the scalp - otherwise it can lead to further irritation.
For a dry, itchy scalp, olive oil is often used to relieve itching. Just put a few drops on the scalp and let the oil work overnight. The next morning, wash it off with a mild shampoo. In addition, it is important not to take a shower too hot. Although the itching is initially alleviated by the warm water, it also removes fat from the scalp so that it becomes even more irritated in the long term.
Allergy as a possible cause
Behind an irritated, itchy scalp but can also be other causes. Often the symptoms are caused by an allergic reaction to a particular care or styling product. Such an allergy can occur quite suddenly - even if you have used the product for years before.
Whether your allergies are behind your symptoms, you can easily find out by an allergy test at the dermatologist. It's best to take the pack of your product with you - so the doctor can best get an overview of the ingredients. Alternatively, you can first use another product - if possible without additives - and observe whether the itching subsides.
First aid with dandruff
If the scalp itches and trickle while scraping white flakes from the hair, there are dandruff. Most of these are caused by a too dry or too oily scalp. In dry scalps, the associations of dead skin dandruff are rather small, but greasy scalps can also form very large dandruff.
The dandruff is formed by the fact that the renewal process of the skin is greatly accelerated. This leads to an increased dandruff. Dandruff can be caused by a variety of circumstances including stress, a humid climate, an unhealthy diet, and changes in the hormone balance as a trigger.
Some of the complaints can be dealt with with an anti-dandruff shampoo. Likewise, a mixture of nettle tea and apple cider vinegar (ratio 2: 1) should be helpful. For dry scalp a mild shampoo in combination with a care oil is recommended. If the symptoms persist in the long term, you should always consult a doctor.
If there is a rash on the scalp besides the itching, seborrhoeic eczema is often the cause. However, such eczema does not necessarily go along with itching. More typical symptoms are redness and blistering. The rash may also spread from the scalp to the face.
Why seborrheic eczema occurs exactly is still unknown. It is believed that in addition to a genetic predisposition also a weakened immune system plays a role. In addition, the climate and psyche can influence the appearance of the eczema. It is also believed that a fungal infection may favor the outbreak. A seborrheic dermatitis should always be treated by the dermatologist - in addition to fungicides, cortisone preparations can also help relieve the symptoms in severe cases.
Itchy scalp: other causes
In addition to a dry scalp, an allergic reaction, dandruff and a seborrheic eczema may be behind an itchy scalp, other causes stuck:
- A cause of itching on the head can be a skin fungus disease. In addition to the itching, symptoms such as redness as well as blistering or dandruff may also appear. In a fungal infection, it is particularly important not to scratch the scalp, as the fungal spores can otherwise penetrate into deeper skin layers. Small injuries caused by scratching also increase the risk of secondary bacterial infection.
- A strong itching is also typical of parasites such as fleas, head lice or mites. Such infestation is particularly common in children, but may also affect adults. The parasites feed on human blood. In order to get to this, add the smallest damage to the scalp. This process causes the itching. If parasitic, lice, mites & co can be removed with special care products and combs.