10 things that can cause scalp irritation and how to get relief
Hair Conditions

10 Things That Can Cause Scalp Irritation & How To Get Relief

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Scalp Irritation Is Not Fun at All

It can be so uncomfortable having scalp irritation. The temptation to itch your scalp in public is the worst.

There are cases when even after you shampoo your hair, you still get that itchy feeling. It is right for you to know the causes of scalp irritation so you can understand why it is happening and also, preventing it from happening.

The more you know about the origins of scalp irritation, the better you can figure out why you continue to itch after washing your hair.

sebum hair build up

10 Things That Can Cause Scalp Irritation

1. Braiding Your Hair Too Tight

Some hairstyles cause scalp irritation due to hair braiding. Braiding your hair too tight pulls the scalp, and it can cause pain and pain is not a good sign. The roots of your hair carry weight.

Your scalp can create braided bumps due to tight braids between braids. These are signs of folliculitis or inflammation of the hair follicle commonly caused by bacterial infections. Too much tension in the scalp is terrible which leads to scalp irritation.


Pain in the scalp and pulling from the roots of your hair are symptoms of your hair braided too tight.

What Should I Do?:

Try not to get tight braids. Lossen your braids.

braids hair braiding

2. Dandruff

The first thing we think about when we think of scalp irritation is a mild case of dandruff. Dandruff is the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. It is the little white flakes that produce on your scalp. Usually, when you scratch your scalp, you tend to see dandruff fall out.

You want to take care of your dandruff before it gets worst. Dandruff is not as severe as other scalp conditions. Although it is common, it’s always best to treat it. Dandruff can lead to a lot of hair loss or badness if not taken care of.

Not combing or brushing your hair regularly will more likely give you the risk of dandruff.


The symptoms for dandruff are easy to spot. There are white, oily flakes of dead skin that you may see on your shoulders if significant.

What Should I Do?:

There are over the counter products such as medicated shampoo that can treat dandruff.


3. Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a skin condition that affects that irritates the scalp, and it is widespread.

It is a condition of the scalp patchy or scaly, and redness follows. This is a very stubborn dandruff condition. Your scalp is probably just sensitive to things such as specific hair products.

This disease is not contagious, and it is not due to bad hygiene either.


Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis is dandruff in the hair, eyebrows, beard, etc. There can be patches of yellow scales or crust like appearance on the scalp, face, eyebrows, ears, etc. You can get red skin, and there is much itching.

What Should I Do?:

If you believe you have the symptoms of a severe dandruff condition such as Seborrheic Dermatitis, you should seek professional help as soon as possible. It is best to be treated by a professional. You do not want to manage your scalp, potentially making the condition worst.


4. Fungal Infection

Getting a fungal infection in the scalp is possible. Many times it is ‘ringworm,’ an infection of the skin, hair or nails.

A range of fungi causes ringworm. This kind of disease on your scalp can cause much itching. It is always best to know what is going on in your hair because people tend to neglect the scalp when it comes to medical care.

Fungal infection can stunt hair growth and invade the proteins that make up your skin.


Symptoms of fungal infection such as ringworm in the scalp are severe dry scaling that is similar to dandruff and hair loss, yellow crusts, and matted hair. Other symptoms are black dots of hair broken on the scalp.

What Should I Do?:

Visit a professional if you believe that you have a severe case of scalp irritation. It is always best to be on tops of things when it comes to your scalp.

hair product build up

5. Not Washing Your Hair Enough or Properly

Sometimes scalp irritation is not caused by disease or infection, but because you are not washing your hair enough or not washing your hair correctly. Doing only one or the other instead of both can contribute to scalp irritation.


Constant itching after shampooing or washing hair.

What Should I Do?:

Take some more time to wash your hair and scalp. Make sure you wash and scrub all areas of your hair. Use enough shampoo. Washing your hair with just water is not going to clean it. You need to know what exactly your hair needs for washing because everyone hair is different.

damage frizz

6. Dryness

Another reason why you may have scalp irritation is that of dryness. You may need oil to seal in your moisture in your scalp. Using essential oils such as natural organic oil can help when experiencing scalp irritation.

Be careful when using certain types of oils to moisturize your scalp. Some oils contain perfumes, fragrances, or preservatives that could lead to scalp irritation if your skin is allergic to it. Use tea tree oil and coconut oil.


Constant itching after shampooing or washing hair.

What Should I Do?:

Using organic oils to moisturize your scalp.

washing hair

7. Not Exfoliating Your Scalp

Exfoliating your scalp is massaging your scalp. Using natural oils while washing is essential. You may want to exfoliate for an extended period.

As earlier stated, please be careful about the oils you use. Use natural oils that do not contain perfumes, fragrances, or preservatives.


Constant itching after shampooing or washing hair.

What Should I Do?:

Exfoliate your scalp for about ten minutes using natural oils. Then after, cover your hair with disposable transparent shower cap and hair dry your hairy. Use tea tree oil and coconut oil.

coconut oil hair

8. Your Eating Habits and Diet

Your diet can be a factor that causes scalp irritation. Vitamin deficiencies such as B12 that can cause rash or itchy skin. B12 helps with developing DNA and the red blood cells, for example.

A deficiency in Vitamin H may be a reason for scalp irritation. Vitamin H produces vibrant, glowing skin.


Constant itching after shampooing or washing hair.

What Should I Do?:

Make sure you include fruits and vegetables in your diet. A healthy diet can translate to a healthy scalp. To increase your B12 intake, eat dairy products, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry. To increase your vitamin H intake, take biotin. Eat eggs too.

healthy food

9. Overuse of Shampoos

Using shampoos very frequently can dry out the scalp. This also involves the type of shampoo you use. Shampoos that contain sulfate, which is very popular, can dry out your scalp and cause scalp irritation.

Another reason there are a lot of shampoos that contain ingredients that do not thoroughly wash off and are left behind in the scalp. This creates a flake-like appearance and also cause scalp irritation.


Constant itching after shampooing or washing hair. Flake-like appearance in hair.

What Should I Do?:

Use shampoos that do not contain sulfates. Sulfates like to dry out your hair and scalp, causing irritation. Make sure you wash your hair thoroughly. Try to minimize your shampooing routine.

mixing hair dye

10. Hair Relaxers and Hair Dyes

Hair relaxers and hair coloring dyes can also cause scalp irritation. Every time you relax your hair or color it, you are adding harsh chemicals to your hair that can irritate it.


Constant itching after relaxing or hair dying treatments.

What Should I Do?:

Wash the chemicals thoroughly from hair relaxers and hair dyes.

Any chemical added in the hair is detrimental to your scalp, especially with hair relaxers. Use a neutralizing shampoo to make sure all the chemicals are out of your hair. It is preferable to relax your hair or perm your hair with a professional.

You can also use a gentle pH balanced shampoo to soothe your scalp. If these things do not work, you might you go to a professional.

shampoo hair

It’s Not Always About Hair Growth

We do things to grow our hair. But remember that it starts with the roots of your hair.

If your scalp is not healthy, your hair growth will not be healthy. Scalp irritation can lead to hair stunting. Know the causes of why you believe your scalp has irritation.

Some people are struggling with scalp irritation, and they don’t know what to do. It can be aggravating. Look at your personal care habits from the past few weeks and see where the problem lies. Have you been washing your hair more frequently than usual?

Are you using harsh shampoos? Are you eating right? Do you treat your dandruff? Have you been to a dermatologist in the last year? Sometimes getting rid of scalp irritation starts with you.

Have you experienced any of these causes of scalp irritation?

About Funke Adeniji

As someone who constantly changes her style, Funke grew up in the late 90s and early 2000s "figuring out" her hair. As the industry of hair grew, she also did--understanding the nuances of hair styles and trends that she has constantly adapted. She's a 9 to5er that holds a Sociology degree and lives in Washington, DC.

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