Sensitive Scalp: What You Need To Know & How To Treat It
Do you happen to have a sensitive scalp? If you’re not sure and would like to learn more, here’s an in-depth guide of the symptoms, causes & ways to treat it.
Sensitive skin could happen to anyone and occur anywhere in your body, including your head. When you have hair problems such as a sensitive scalp, it can be troublesome at times while you go about your daily life. It will even get worse if you don’t start taking action and try to improve your scalp condition.
Thankfully, you don’t have to suffer for long as it is curable. Once you fully understand everything you must know about sensitive scalp, then you’ll know how to treat it. Without further ado, we break down what is a sensitive scalp, the common symptoms, the common causes and how you can treat it:
Sensitive Scalp Meaning: What is it?
Some may get confused on what is a sensitive scalp. For those who are not clear, a sensitive scalp is those who regularly experience uncomfortable sensations such as intense itching, redness or tingling. Certain people experience pain as well. Whatever it is, having a sensitive scalp is not a good experience because you will be feeling discomfort all day long.
Common Sensitive Scalp Symptoms
Still unsure whether you have a sensitive scalp? Let’s dive more in depth of what are the common sensitive scalp symptoms so that you can easily identify signs of a sensitive scalp with ease:
Redness or Inflammation
Once you notice some sort of redness or inflammation which is associated with a tight feeling, you may have a sensitive scalp. This is because at times you may have open sores which causes a burning feeling while washing your hair or when applying hair products.
Another key point to take notice of is when you find that your scalp is extremely sensitive which causes extreme pain. In certain cases, you may even experience an infection or a scalp condition worse than merely just a sensitive scalp.
You may have a sensitive scalp when you find yourself regularly scratching your hair. It’s also one of the first symptoms that appear when your scalp is sensitive. This kind of itchiness wouldn’t go away after the first few scratches - you will end up feeling it no matter how many times you’ve scratched.
A general rule of thumb is that when you experience regular itching, your scalp lacks moisture so it can get irritated by the hair products used.
Dryness or Flaky Patches
When you experience random flakes appearing out of the blue followed by itchiness, you might be having a sensitive scalp and dandruff. Not only will your outer layer get damaged, you will also be more prone to itchiness, causing even more damage as you try to scratch your itch away.
However, if the flakes are red in color, there’s a possibility of you experiencing psoriasis, which is a type of scalp condition that multiplies your skin cells faster that they should.
Other than that, if you happen to feel some sort of tightness, it’s also a sign that your scalp lacks moisture so it becomes really dry and sensitive.
Sensitive Scalp Causes: Why Do We Have It?
After understanding what are the common symptoms of sensitive scalp, you should learn and know how you even get it in the first place. Below are some of the common sensitive scalp causes:
Your scalp is exposed to too much heat
Do you regularly spend your time under the sun? Too much heat exposure from the harmful UV rays of the sun can cause sensitive scalp.
Other than that, when you frequently use heat styling tools such as hair curlers or hair dryers, the intense heat affects your scalp’s sensitivity as well.
Wrong hair products used
Harsh chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can be extremely bad for your scalp. It can cause irritation, making it more sensitive than it was before. Your natural skin barrier which protects your scalp will be affected by the SLS and causes these chemicals to enter the skin’s epidermis.
We know how everyone loves nice-smelling shampoos, but the synthetic fragrances found in these shampoos are quite harmful to your hair. Most of these synthetic fragrances cause skin reactions which not many of us are aware of how our scalp will react to them unless we try it out.
You might be experiencing infections
Infections are usually caused by various bacteria, viruses, fungi, to name a few. Some of the common infections include furunculosis, folliculitis, carbunculosis which could cause sensitive scalp because it is quite painful and you will feel soreness when touched.
These types of infections will affect the hair follicles as well as the hair glands. Carbunculosis on the other hand will form red bumps filled with some sort of pus that is white in color.
For fungal infections such as tinea versicolour, it usually occurs in children which not only causes a sensitive scalp but also hair loss.
Have you ever encountered a tension headache that occurs around the neck and behind the eyes? You will feel somewhat of a tight feeling around your head. Even when you are experiencing stress, depression or anxiety, it can cause your scalp to be sensitive.
Usage of hair extensions
Are you always using hair extensions on a daily basis? Though we understand that it is recommended to use hair extensions to make your hair fuller and more volume, it can be harmful to the scalp.
For instance, the hair extensions could be too heavy on your scalp or perhaps you might be allergic to them because most of the hair extensions are made with synthetic material or human hair.
If you have chemical-treated hair or bleach your hair, then it is definitely one of the causes of sensitive scalp. Before dyeing your hair, make sure not to use the ones with peroxides because it will make your scalp more sensitive. Or you might just need to avoid dyeing your hair altogether.
Other types of processed hair include perms or any other styles will cause sensitive scalp too.
Accumulated product build-up
Dry shampoo is the common culprit for product build-up, but pretty much any hair product you use without regular washing will cause your hair follicles to be clogged, leaving endless impurities and dead skin cells all over.
When you wash your hair with shampoo, you can remove all the product build up. But when you use dry shampoo, it will just accumulate altogether. Thus, this makes your scalp dry and irritated, making it sensitive at the same time.
Why do I experience sensitive scalp after pregnancy?
If you just gave birth and found out that you’re experiencing a sensitive scalp, don’t worry. It’s because of your hormones which cause your scalp to have excessive liquid, causing itchiness and tingly sensations. You can perform the regular ways on how to soothe a sensitive scalp as below and it should disappear after a few months once your hormones become more balanced.
How To Soothe A Sensitive Scalp
When it comes to sensitive scalp hair care, you must make sure you take good care of it in order to maintain a healthy scalp. If you have trouble trying to treat your sensitive scalp, we rounded up some of the best recommended ways on how to soothe a sensitive scalp.
Stay clear from the heat
If you’re always out and about, you should wear a hat or bring along an umbrella to protect yourself from the heat. You should also apply sunscreen on your head. Yes, there are sunscreens made specifically just for hair.
You should also try cutting down on the heat styling tools and try other methods of styling your hair instead (that doesn’t involve any heat!).
Brush your hair the right way
You should practice brushing your hair from the bottom and gradually brush all the way up. This not only helps to prevent yourself from pulling your hair follicles, it can also help you to remove any tangles.
Prevent chemical-process treatments
Try to avoid getting your hair chemically processed as often as possible. You should also prevent bleaching altogether. However, if you need to try chemical treatments, just make sure to take good care of your hair or try not to have it too often.
Use sensitive hair products
You shouldn’t use regular hair shampoo and go for sensitive hair products because it could worsen your sensitive scalp due to the various ingredients found.
The best hair products to use when you have sensitive scalp (or to prevent it from becoming sensitive) is to look out for natural ingredients such as organic chamomile extract, essential oils, menthol, panthenol or flower and leaf extracts.
Wellsen Peppermint and Chamomile Shampoo is packed with all the right ingredients made for sensitive scalp such as 100% pure peppermint essential oil and organic chamomile extract which nourishes the hair and repair damaged hair while also preventing hair loss. These ingredients help to prevent irritation, itchiness and flaking too, which are the common symptoms of a sensitive scalp. It is also free from any silicones, SLES/SLS and alcohol, making it the best sensitive scalp shampoo.
If you are experiencing both sensitive scalp and hair loss, then the Wellsen Art Intensive Scalp Lotion for Thinning Hair would be a great choice. It is one of the best sensitive scalp hair growth products because it is infused with active ingredients such as menthol which helps stimulate the blood circulation of your scalp while panthenol helps to strengthen the hair follicles, making your hair thicker in the long run. Another major plus points: the formula is infused with rich flower and leaf extracts to further enhance your hair with the proper nutrients.
Should you visit a doctor?
If you happen to find your sensitive scalp getting worse and feel like you can’t stand another day without feeling any of the symptoms, it is advisable to visit a doctor, or particularly a dermatologist.
Seeking professional advice so that you are free from uncomfortable situations would be best so that you won’t have to suffer anymore.