If you have been thinking that your scalp has become itchier as winter sets in, then you may be right.
photo courtesy of @tach.j
"Why does my scalp itch so much during the winter?"
During the winter, a number of factors, such as dryness and poor air flow to our head beneath our winter hats, converge resulting in increased itching. In the winter, the air - both indoor and outdoor - is drier which can result in moisture being pulled away from your hair and scalp, causing dryness and itching. As itching increases, we tend to respond by scratching. Scratching then causes irritation that results in even more itching, turning into a seemingly neverending cycle of itching and scratching that likely feels like it may drive one crazy.
Our attempts to protect the hair and head from the dry winter air by covering up with scarves or winter hats, create a warm and moist environment in which bacteria and other microorganisms flourish and this may also lead to more itching. Some of us also heat style more in the winter because the reduced humidity means that our straight styles last longer before they revert. Some might reach for the blow-dryer because it's cold out and we don't want to step outside with hair that is still wet or even just slightly damp. We also wash our hair with water that is a little warmer than we might otherwise use in another attempt to fight the cold of winter. All of these actions result in the application of more heat which may also cause scalp irritation which may manifest itself in more itching.
It is no wonder our scalp itches more when it is dry and irritated.
It's like, all of these little critters are there having a party in the dark, warm environment created by the winter hat that's protecting us from the cold air but making is vulnerable to other issues. Ugh! How do we fight the itch which rears its ugly head despite our best efforts? Our best bet is to keep our hair and scalp hydrated and moisturized and to use products that will create a bacteria-free environment that is free of irritation.
The do's and don'ts of caring for an itchy scalp:
- Don't scratch. Scratching your scalp is always a bad idea no matter how great it feels. Scratching can lead to abrasions and cuts and will not address the underlying cause of the itch. If your itching is severe, consider whether it may be in your best interest to seek medical advice.
- Do hydrate. Hydrating is essential to counteracting dryness and dehydration of the hair and scalp in particular and the body in general. In the winter we tend to reduce our water intake but we should always ensure that we are getting all the water we need or run the risk of depriving our body and organs of the fluids it needs to operate optimally. Checking to see if your urine is clear or pale yellow is a good way to gauge if your water intake is sufficient. Remember that keeping your hair and scalp moisturized involves both internal (drinking water) and external (applying products) processes. Once you've taken care of your insides, hydrate your hair from the outside with a deep conditioner like Eden Bodyworks Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner which contains jojoba oil, the oil that most closely mimics the sebum produced by our scalp, and tea tree oil among other ingredients that are known to promote a healthy scalp.
- Do look for products antibacterial and soothing oils. Peppermint oil is both soothing and cooling to an irritated scalp and tea tree oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help keep the scalp free of organisms that can cause itching. Tea tree oil will also help to remove buildup from dirt and dead skin cells. You can purchase tea tree oil based products such as Difeel 100% Pure Tea Tree Hair Oil or EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Scalp Therapy, that already have these ingredients, create your own DIY blends using a carrier oil such a jojoba oil or coconut oil, or simply add a few drops of these oils to your favorite shampoos, leave-in conditioners, etc. in order to receive itch relief. Lavender is another essential oil that is beneficial to an itchy scalp because it will not only soothe any scalp irritation you may be experiencing but will, like tea tree oil, it fights microorganisms and inflammation.
- Do apple cider vinegar rinses. Apple cider vinegar rinses restore the pH balance of the hair and scalp ad remove product build-up that may result in itching. Make your own rinse with equal parts water and ACV or purchase a ready-made product such as Creme of Nature Argan Oil Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying Rinse. Massage these products into the scalp and leave on for a few minutes before rinsing, if rinsing is required. You should notice n improvement in the condition of your scalp and a reduction in itching right away and consistent use should eventually eliminate all itchiness. How do you treat your itchy scalp? Share your tips with us below.
How do you deal with the winter scalp itchies?
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