If you have been following NenoNatural.com for a while you may have heard me complain about my itchy scalp! My itchy scalps is what led to all these blogs on how to reduce or prevent itching!
I've finally discovered what the problem was. Seriously, I had latterly been talking to my hubby about seeing a specialist because it was getting so bad.
At first I thought it was grapeseed oil because the itchiness coincided with the first time I used it. Then I thought it may be a food allergy but I couldn't figure out what precisely. Then I went home to my country Malawi and noticed that my scalp wasn't itching and at this point I thought the British weather was the culprit, I began contemplating buying a one-way ticket back to the Warm Heart of Africa!
It's a small tragedy that led to the discovery of the real culprit: our bathtub started leaking so upon our return we started using our separate shower and this shower doesn't have a water filter.
Two weeks into our return I realized the itching hadn't returned and the only thing that was different is that I wasn't using the shower hose with a filter - so the filter was it! One of the chemicals in the filter must make my scalp itch but it normally happens a few days after my wash, probably when the power of the peppermint essential oil that I add to my conditioner wears off!
If you have an itchy scalp and you use a shower filter try not using it for a month to see whether it's the problem. Keep in mind that it may not be; just because I'm allergic to something in my shower filter it doesn't mean you'll be!
Watch the video!
Put tersely, hard water damages hair.
Hard water has a large quantity of calcium, magnesium, iron and copper. It’s this high concentration of minerals that damages hair.[i]
Washing hair in hard water causes it to become/feel straw-like, dry and brittle; it’s likely that your hair will break or start thinning because the hair follicles become blocked thereby preventing the flow of nutrients to the scalp. Your scalp may also become dry and flaky.
Click one of the maps to see if you live in an area with hard water.
Don’t despair, there are some simple solutions to the hard water problem.
4. Add the juice of a lemon to water. Squeezing lemon juice into water can help to reduce the water's hardness. However, note that the pH of lemon juice is 2, i.e., it’s very acidic so you should dilute it in water (pH = 7) to reduce its acidity before applying it to hair. Healthy hair has a pH of 4.0 to 5.5.
How about magnetic water conditioners?
These devices allegedly reduce lime scale; they are fitted to a pipe in the house and are reputed to benefit not only your hair but also other appliances whose function can be reduced by limescale, e.g. the central heating system, boiler and dishwasher.
However, although some argue that they work, the US Navy did a series of tests to check the effectiveness of ‘magnetic’ and ‘electric’ water softeners. They concluded that they have no effect at all. It appears that although the limescale is removed from water that come out the tap, that limescales stays in the pipes ultimately leading to problems with the heating system. “Magnetic lime scale reducers are a plumber's dream,” according to one Amazon product reviewer.
How about chelating shampoos?
Chelating shampoos prevent and remove mineral build-up but they strip hair of all the good stuff too so I personally wouldn’t recommend them. Even on Caucasian hair, a chelating shampoo should not be used more than once a week.
[i] How to Prevent Hair Build-up from Water
Highly rated shower heads with water filters:
Does your scalp get all itchy when you put on a weave?
This could be because you're sensitive to the alkaline base on the weave or other hair. Some people think they are allergic to weaves or to synthetic hair but frequently they are just allergic to the alkaline base designed to make synthetic hair more shiny or softer. The solution is to wash the hair before use. This is how:
For a video demo watch the below clip. Skip to 0.50 on the time line to skip the intro.
My scalp has ALWAYS been sensitive but it hasn't always been so darn itchy! In fact, if I think about when I started having an itchy scalp it would likely fall within the last 18 months or so. Whenever I plait my hair it seems to get more itchy in the first week following the plaits.
This week, I've been thinking that I actually "make" my scalp more itchy by a) thinking about it and b) scratching. Whenever I scratch it seems to itch more! That has led to my decision that whenever my scalp itches I will try not to scratch. Lo-and-behold, the rate of itchiness has fallen by about 75%!
That said, there are times when my scalp is genuinely itchy and this remedy works a charm:
1. Add 8 to 16 drops of peppermint essential oil to 0.5 ounces of a good oil, e.g. jojoba, argan oil, avocado oil, or fractionated (liquid) coconut oil.
Note that the higher the quality of the peppermint essential oil the fewer the drops you'll need to get the same impact. It's very hard to tell the quality of an essential oil from the bottle but if 8 drops in 0.5 ounces of oil don't give you a tingly feeling, it's probably a low grade oil! Next time spend a little more for a higher quality of essential oil.
2. Apply the oil mix to your scalp.
3. Wear a shower cap.
4. Blow dry the surface of the cap for 3 to 5 minutes then pop a beanie hat on for a further 15 to 30 minutes.
You should be itch free for the rest of the day. I find that without the heat this remedy does not work for me. The heat is an essential part of the solution.
For a longer lasting solution see Neno Natural’s foolproof anti-itch hair wash.
My scalp gets itchy sometimes; There are few things so annoying as an itchy scalp.
A few weeks ago I had to wake up in the middle of the night to co-wash my hair with my anti-itch solution just so that I could get some relief.
Scratching too much can lead to hair loss so I hate scratching.
What causes the scalp to itch?
1. Dirt including dandruff
2. Allergies, e.g. to products or even food
4. A scalp condition, e.g. seborrheic dermatitis
5. Infections, inflammation including from acne and autoimmune disorders
But I thought black people don't get lice?
Anyone can get lice, however, people who relax their hair are less likely to get lice because relaxer is a VERY STRONG chemical. Perhaps the incidence of lice has historically been lower for black women because of almost universal chemical relaxer usage. With all of us going natural lice rates are sure to go up!
Children usually get lice from their friends at school and that's how lice might enter your home.
What are the solutions to an itchy scalp?
1. Wash and condition your hair using Neno Natural's Full-proof Anti-itch Methodology
2. Find out what you are allergic to and stop eating it.
If you think it's a given product, stop using the product you suspect and see if the itching goes away. Once you discover the product that your scalp 'doesn't like', stop using it,
3. If all else fails, see a dermatologist.
Everyone gets an itchy scalp now and again: heat, too much product or just because. I have a solution: Neno Natural’s full-proof anti-itch hair wash.
Key ingredient: peppermint essential oil.
This is my routine:
1. Wash hair with just water until full soaked and rinsed.
2. Shampoo gently and rinse that out with water only.
3. Fill a big bottle with warm water. I use an old milk bottle (c.3 litres), add 10 drops of peppermint oil. Run that water through the already rinsed hair.
4. Apply conditioner. Leave it in your hair for c.15 minutes with a shower cap over your head. The peppermint will continue working under the heat. I normally blow dry the surface of the shower cap for more heat.
5. Finish your hair routine in your usual way.
Optional step: in step 4 you can add 3 to 5 drops of peppermint essential oil to a handful of conditioner for maximum effect.
Can you add the peppermint in at any point?
Probably. That said:
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I was a natural hair blogger and mixtress living between London & Chicago from 2012 to 2017. I always thought I was 4C but some say 4B; images below - you decide! Heather xx