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What causes an itchy scalp

There are several things that can cause an itchy scalp; there’s nothing worse than scratching away at a dry, uncomfortable scalp. Particularly if you end up with a little shower of dry skin over you. When my eczema was very bad, I had to wear light coloured tops because of the dry skin flakes issue. Thankfully those days are long gone.

One of the most common causes of itchy scalps is using a shampoo that is too harsh for your scalp; most easily available shampoos are loaded with ingredients and chemicals that are a recipe for really damaged, dry skin. However, here’s a list of things that could also be the problem:

  • change in the season
  • stress
  • yeast overgrowth/fungal infection
  • using a shampoo that is high in sulphates and harsh ingredients
  • allergic reaction to a hair product
  • eczema or psoriasis
  • headlice

If you have ruled out headlice, then it’s time to think about your general hair and scalp health and how to improve it.  Lots of my customers report a very itchy scalp at the start of Autumn; this can be related to being in centrally heated rooms then going out to cold weather. It often plays havoc with our skin, and remember, your scalp is also skin. You need to treat it gently.


Stress can cause an itchy scalp as stress disrupts our gut health which, in turn, effects our skin. As with most health complaints, eating a healthy balanced diet containing plenty of good quality fat will help your scalp and skin health in general. See my post about what to eat for health skin.


Yeast or fungal overgrowth is particularly common on the scalp. It can lead to patches of scaly scaby skin, with lots of general dryness. We all have some yeast on our skin/scalp but if it gets out of hand, it causes problems. Yeast overgrowth happens normally due to a combination of stress, and unhealthy diet and using products that are too harsh. So the best way to deal with it is to improve your diet (a decent pro-biotic would be the best place to start), cut down on sugar (yeast overgrowth goes hand-in-hand with eating too much sugar – sugar feeds yeast growth), deal with your stress and use a gentle, natural shampoo.

If you wash your hair too regularly with a shampoo that contains a very high level of sulphates (look at the ingredients, one of the first listed is probably sodium lauryl sulphate) then you are probably stripping your hair and scalp of too many of its precious natural oils. We wash our hair to remove dirt and oil, but we shouldn’t remove too much oil – that’s the necessary oil that protects our skin. If you are interested in learning more about how clever our skin is, you can read my blog about filaggrin here.

If you have delicate skin on your body, then you also have it on your head and you should use gentle, natural products that do not upset and irritate it. Most shampoos also contain high levels of perfume, the biggest irritant to skin, particularly sensitive skin. As I say in most of my blogs, learn to read ingredients in your body products – and learn to understand what they are and what they do.

Treat your scalp with respect

So it’s time to change shampoo, and luckily for you, we’ve just stated making this gorgeous sulphate-free, organic shampoo containing aloe vera and gorgeous organic essential oils. Click here to read more about it, why it works and why you need a bottle of it in your bathroom. With patchouli and lavender (the same magic ingredients you’ll find in Scratchy Balm) it will calm and soothe scaorganic shampoolps, reduce any fungal issues, and most importantly give you lovely clean hair.


If your scalp is very sore and itchy with lots of scaly or weeping patches, you should probably check this out with your GP just to make sure you’re not missing an underlying cause.




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