Scalp irritation: what to do? 

While many of us complain that our hair gets greasy too quickly and blame pollution, an unbalanced diet or aggressive styling rituals, we shouldn't envy those who seem to benefit from a dry scalp because it's easier to manage: fewer shampoos, fewer brushings, hair that stays clean longer - in short, real time-savers. Yes, maybe, but ...

First of all, what are the signs that determine whether a scalp is oily, normal, dry or even very dry?

Once identified, is a dry scalp really a panacea? What are the drawbacks of an (overly) dry scalp? Above all, how can you give your dry scalp the care they need? 

What are the signs of a dry scalp?

When is a scalp dry?

The degree of hydration of the scalp is closely linked to the epidermis' ability to generate sebum. The more sebum the sebaceous glands produce, the more protected and hydrated the scalp will be. Sebum is therefore a positive factor for the scalp and hair as it sheathes keratin in a protective hydrolipidic film. The ability to produce sebum is mainly a genetic factor. Some people simply produce more than others. In the case of a dry scalp, the insufficient capacity to produce sebum to keep the epidermis of the scalp sufficiently hydrated. Just like the skin on our bodies, the scalp needs water and lipids to stay healthy, supple and comfortable. If it lacks these, it needs to be supplied from the outside.

In addition to the hereditary factor external factors can exacerbate the phenomenon of dehydration: intensive use of the hairdryer, poor hygiene, climate (wind, sun, etc.), etc.

The signs that do not deceive :

  • Is your scalp tight? 
  • Do you notice dandruff (a visible sign of flaking) when brushing or on your clothes? 
  • Is your scalp itchy and uncomfortable?
  • Do you notice red patches on your scalp? 

What's more, you don't feel the need to wash your hair more than once a week or even less (this is particularly the case with afro and frizzy hair, which are naturally dry and chronic lack of hydration) ? 

You can't change the nature of your scalp, but you can soothe a dry, irritated, sensitive scalp and help it to feel comfortable again quickly. At Clauderer, we immediately think of soothing Lait n°3R, with its gentle, natural moisturising ingredients (wheat germ, jojoba oil, sesame oil, vitamins A and B, etc.) provides long-lasting relief from itching and invaluable comfort for the scalp in just a few applications. At the same time, this lotion helps to gradually eliminate dandruff. It is also effective in cases of dermatitis and psoriasis. 

And to put all the chances on our side, we reduce the external sources of untimely scalp dryness, for example:

  • use a gentle, natural shampoo rather than a shampoo full of foaming agents (the more a shampoo foams, the more chemical active ingredients it contains),
  • avoid using a hot hairdryer too close to the skull, 
  • wear a hat or cap to avoid sunburn, 
  • add a little cider vinegar in the final rinse water (cool or better still cold water) when shampooing to soothe itching and promote the vasoconstrictive effect of the cold.
  • simply space out the frequency of shampoos, to avoid disturbing the sebaceous glands
  • review your diet
  • drink enough water!

What deficiencies cause itchy scalps?

Just like the skin on our bodies, the scalp is sensitive to its environment. That's why, as soon as you notice a change in your hair: the scalp is painful and taut, the skin feels tight, red patches appear, the skin becomes dull, and the skin becomes dull. skin flakes pimples appear, hair falls out more than usual, etc... you have to consider these changes to the scalp as a alarm signal and take the necessary corrective action.

Often, a topical treatment (soothing milk, gentle hair care products, etc.) and a few common-sense measures (diet, moisturising more, etc.) will help dry scalp regain its balance. 

But if irritation and itchy scalp However, it's not always easy to pinpoint the cause of the problem. What if certain deficiencies were the cause of itchy scalps?

  • Group B vitamins : essential for a healthy scalp, B-group vitamins, particularly vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. 
  • Vitamin B6 : contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system, regulates sebum production and helps to produce proteins. Its best friend: magnesium. Bananas, meat, oily fish, vegetables... a varied diet is the surest way to avoid vitamin B6 deficiency!
  • Vitamin B12 : contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system, helps produce red blood cells (cell growth, oxygen transport to the hair follicle) and helps regulate the nervous system.although the body only needs a small amount of this vitamin on a daily basis, we don't synthesise it naturally, so we need to get enough from our diet. This vitamin is found mainly in animal proteins (fish, meat, eggs, dairy products). This is why strict vegans are often advised to consider taking food supplements to make up for any deficiency.
  • Zinc : plays an important role in protecting the scalp from irritation and itching by controlling the flow of sebum in the body.

More generally, vitamins, minerals and trace elements are used to :

  • stimulate cell renewal
  • maintain the body's vital functions at their best (red blood cells, oxygen)
  • combat oxidative stress

These are the assets of a healthy, moisturised and comfortable scalp. And a healthy scalp will encourage the growth of shiny, supple, soft, healthy hair. All the more reason to look after your scalp!

All scalps are liable to suffer from irritation and itching, either from time to time (stress, poor quality cosmetics, etc.) or on a more chronic basis, depending on the capacity of the sebaceous glands to produce enough sebum to keep the scalp comfortable and healthy. Obviously, a number of causes can combine to undermine this fragile skin balance.

While it's easy to make the connection between irritation and a dry scalp, it is nonetheless possible to have an irritated scalp when you have an oily scalp. The cause of itchy scalp is the same: sebum! But in this case, instead of insufficient sebum secretion, it's the overproduction of sebum that's to blame. When too much sebum is produced, an oily layer forms and oily dandruff sticks to the scalp, causing irritation and scratching. 

How can I soothe scalp irritation?  

When your scalp itches, there's only one thing you want: to soothe these irritations as quickly as possible, as they poison our lives and put a damper on our spirits. And when that itch is accompanied by unsightly dandruff (whether oily or dry), red patches or small pimples, we want a solution - and fast!

Is your scalp usually healthy and free from irritation, but suddenly it itches? On the contrary, your scalp is constantly irritated and sensitive and you don't know how to soothe the itching?

To provide lasting relief for the scalp, it is essential to identify the cause or causes of the irritation.

Visit a few tips to soothe the scalp naturally and simply in case of itching:

  • Replace your current cosmetic products with natural hair products, gentle and perfectly adapted to your scalp: it's very simple but it can make a big difference. 
  • Wash your hair when it needs it, neither too little nor too much. The right rhythm? yours! of course, with a mild shampoo or cleansing cream depending on your hair type. Rinse thoroughly with clean water, not too hot or even cold.
  • Have you moved house? Is the water in your new home more hard? Rinse thoroughly your hair by adding a little lemon or cider vinegar to the rinse water. The bonus: shinier hair.
  • Another tip for naturally soothing a irritated or sensitive scalp is massage with lemon juice. For very sensitive and/or very dry hair, add a small amount of olive oil to the lemon juice and massage in with your fingertips. 
  • Specially formulated for irritated scalps and to quickly soothe itchy scalps, Laits Clauderer are made with effective, natural ingredients to provide long-lasting care for irritated scalps, whether too dry or too oily.

How can you tell if you have a scalp infection?

Scalp diseases present a variety of symptoms and varying degrees of severity. To find out if you have a scalp infection, look for the following main symptoms:

  • the scalp becomes sensitive, painful and feels uncomfortable
  • inflammation of the scalp, appearance of red patches
  • skin that pulls, flakes, becomes increasingly dry and irritated 
  • the skin hardens in places and small balls form under the skin
  • abundant formation of greasy dandruff
  • pimples, scabs, bleeding, purulent discharge, etc.

If the itching is accompanied by dry dandruff and red patches, of scabs, it may be a dermatitis or a scalp psoriasis, i.e. widespread inflammatory reactions of the scalp. In this case, once a precise diagnosis has been made, the dermatologist can prescribe a specific treatment to be applied locally, but be careful: it is the effects of the disease that will be treated, not the cause or causes. Dermatitis and psoriasis are auto-immune diseases, often benign, but which unfortunately ruin the lives of those who suffer from them, The causes are still poorly understood, although it is generally accepted that stress and heredity play an important role in triggering this skin condition.

These inflammatory reactions of the scalp can lead to a hair loss problems (alopecia) and, if nothing is done to treat the condition in question, the hair can be permanently weakened. Treatment of the infection will depend on the cause: an anti-fungal shampoo, a softening and moisturising ointment, scrupulous respect for good personal hygiene, an oral treatment, etc. Your doctor will be able to prescribe the right treatment for you. At the first signs of discomfort, you should not hesitate to seek medical advice to avoid lengthy and often painful scalp complications.

Jean-François Cabos

Jean-François Cabos is the creator of a unique hair care method based on the research he coordinated, which led to the publication of the book "Cheveux, Racines de Vie" with Hélène Clauderer by Robert Laffont (Collection "Réponses/ Santé").

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