View Full Version : Dry itchy flaky scalp! ARRRGH!

May 31st, 2008, 05:55 AM
Hi all, I've been growing my hair for about 3.5 years and I checked in on this forum a few months ago and picked up a few hints on haircare, but haven't really taken the time to come back and join the community until now. Realisitically i'm prevaricating from an uni assignment even now, so I'll get right to it, and post in the introduction thread another day:

My problem
Not long after showers, as my scalp begins to dry, it starts feeling tight and itchy. It seems to get dry, flaky and itchy as it dries further. After a day it is still flaky and itchy, but the natural oils have made it a bit more gunky i guess (not much, but a bit). In hot weather it gets a prickly itch and flakes readily.

I very rarely succumb to the urge to itch when it's itchy, since that just tends to rip out hair, and I like hair :D. I just kind of rub it.

I've tried the brown sugar scrub a couple of times, which feels nice while i'm doing it and probably removes some built up skin, but still doesn't help once my scalp dries.

I guess I'm looking for some advice for methods to regularly moisturise the scalp, for sensitive skin, without being greasy or oily.

Background (My skin is dry)
I have dry skin in general. More specifically my GP reckons i have this particular skin condition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthyosis_vulgaris
I don't generally notice any symptoms, because I religiously apply sorbolene cream after showers (not on scalp haha) and on face+hands before bed. However if I don't, then i tend to get dry itchy skin, even just by showering without using soap or anything.

I imagine this is a good part of the reason why my scalp is so damned annoying.

My current routine:
My general routine is to wash hair once every two days, applying conditioner to hair and scalp 10 min before shower, then wash it out and then sometimes redo the tips as they are quite dry and dodgy :D.
Once a week I'll do an ACV wash too.

After shower, while hair is still damp i'll apply a diluted mix of cocunut oil and water mainly on tips and body, not on scalp, since that just looks GREASY. I also apply a leave-in conditioner when hair is only just damp.

I have only realised recently that the two Garnier Fructis products that I'm using contain cones, so I'm looking towards replacing them in the future. But that's a question for another day ;).

May 31st, 2008, 06:19 AM
Even though you have dry skin, the itchies might not have to do with dryness. Lots of oily skinned people, including myself have suffered with the itchies too. Sometimes it can be the result of an improper pH level on the scalp, or sometimes a mild fungal problem. The solution below works for both.

What worked for me was to get a pitcher of water with a couple of tablespoons of ACV in it and use it as a final rinse, left in. I also added a couple of drops of Tea Tree Oil. There is an odour initially of the ACV, but it quickly dissipates.

You can play around with the amounts of ACV and TTT in your mix, until you feel that it's helping.

May 31st, 2008, 07:04 AM
My scalp itches and flakes badly too. I have never found a solution to it so I will be watching with interest to see what all pops up here.

FrannyG- that solution sounds intresting. Vinegar helps but if I use it straight it gets worse, I think I will give that a shot.

May 31st, 2008, 11:57 AM
you may also want to avoid putting conditioner on the scalp, and only on the length. Its also possible that there are ingredients in your shampoo/conditioner that your scalp is sensitive too. You may want to try a shampoo/condish that is rather plain jane with no perfumes or dyes as those could be the culprits.

May 31st, 2008, 12:05 PM
I dont have any advice that has not been mentioned but I will say Welcome to the site :)

May 31st, 2008, 04:33 PM
You could also try an over night oiling on your scalp before wash day. Massage the oil in and it will get rid of the flakes. Aloe vera juice is what I have been using lately for my scalp it really seems to help with itching and burning. My scalp only itches at my neck line its strange I dont have any problems with the rest of my scalp.

May 31st, 2008, 06:57 PM
I've used moisturiser with tea tree oil on skin before and that was refreshing, so I might try and find some straight oil this week.

As far as aloe vera goes, I actually bought some aloe vera gel. It's apparently good enough quality to drink, so I figured it should be gentle enough for skin. I might try applying it today and washing it out tonight and see what happens!

and thanks Saranne! :)

May 31st, 2008, 08:40 PM
Hmm I don't think the gel is going to work properly, i'm going to have to get some oil I think.

May 31st, 2008, 09:07 PM
My scalp sounds very similar to yours! I have not found 1 particular thing that works, but I do have an arsanal that I attack the itchies with!

First of all, I scritch. There should be threads on that around here, but basicly it is just gently combing the scalp (not the hair) when it's dry, like when a baby has cradel cap. I do this at night and in the a.m. before I wash (usually a CO) when things are out of control.

Sometimes I use a gentle non-sulfate shampoo b/c sometimes my scalp seems sensitive. When that dosn't work, a few days later I use a regular shampoo. A few days later (after scritching and leaving it alone wash wise) I will get a dandruff shampoo (but this is only a few times a year). I try to wash no more than 1x wk with poo even if I'm flakey b/c it usually makes things worse. :rolleyes: I CO the length several times a week.

HENNA really helps. Even the Nature's Gate shampoo with henna seems to soothe it.

My scalp hates cones and most conditioners touching it (Burt's Bees Raspberry and Brazil Nut Condish is an exception...there are a few).

I use aloe gel on my hair, and I make sure to work it right down to my scalp. It's very soothing!

Listen to your body and write down what it likes. Nothing works for everyone all the time, in life and in hair! ;)Good luck!

Riot Crrl
May 31st, 2008, 09:25 PM
My first instinct is that there are two separate issues. The tightness seems distinct to me from the itching and flakes. I think that not everyone gets the tightness, but everyone's scalp must exfoliate. The tightness I would guess could be your skin condition, an ingredient sensitivity, or both playing off each other.

I do not know what your hair type is, do you not brush your hair? Interestingly, for me the itching and dead skin scalp problems began not when I started CO, but when I stopped the brushing. My hair hated the brushing and broke off in loads, but my scalp loves nothing more than bristles, smoothing over it.

Eventually, I gained satisfaction by adding back an extremely modified form of brushing. I left my cheapo Goody brushes with seams all over them in the trash, and got a Denman instead. I use it very occasionally, very carefully, in the shower with water and plenty of conditioner, and only after detangling with the wide tooth comb first. I know that wet brushing, at first glance, sounds like the worst thing ever. But if you search this forum for 'Denman' I think you can find posts of others saying things like "I know it sounds goofy to brush my hair ever and especially wet, but somehow I can do it with the Denman and my hair doesn't break off!"

June 1st, 2008, 02:58 AM
I've been having success with tea tree/jojoba oil rubs anywhere from half an hour to several hours to overnight before a wash. I've been keeping track of this in my blog since I just started trying it out. Feel free to read. :)

June 1st, 2008, 03:27 AM
I use nizoral or head and shoulders shampoo once every couple of weeks to treat seborrheic dermatitis (fungal infection of the scalp). It means the rest of the time i don't itch but it is drying for the hair and if it is dyed it strips some of the colour out.,

June 1st, 2008, 03:33 AM
You put a conditioner with cones, Fructis, then wash it out with a coney shampoo with harsh sulphates? Change products! Do not put conditioner on your scalp or try another one, something people actually use for CO (conditioner only washing). Change shampoo, read up on sulphates and other cleansing agents and try to find a mild shampoo. Dilute your shampoo, don't put it full strength on your scalp. A bunch of advice worth trying, don't try everything at once, but one thing at a time.

June 1st, 2008, 07:44 AM
I am surprised that no one from the MN thread has spoken on this topic.
I my self have suffered from the same symptoms you are describing and my only cure- has weird as it may sound to some, was Miconazole Nitrate aka Monistat( yes that monistat)
the theory is your body has natural fungus or yeast on it and some time it can build up in nice warm and moist places ( think your head here people) many like my self have found that applications using the Miconazole Nitrate have eliminated or drasticly reduced gooey, flaking scalp altogether.
some known side effects are hair growth( most i got was 1.5 " a month), and headaches (range from sever to mild)
I used it for 8 months constanly and have found no other probblems/ issue from it

i suggest if interested you read up on the Monistate therad to get more of an ideahttp://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=156

June 1st, 2008, 08:07 AM
CO improved the condition of my itchy, flaky scalp immensely.

June 1st, 2008, 08:13 AM
You put a conditioner with cones, Fructis, then wash it out with a coney shampoo with harsh sulphates? Change products! Do not put conditioner on your scalp or try another one, something people actually use for CO (conditioner only washing). Change shampoo, read up on sulphates and other cleansing agents and try to find a mild shampoo.
I've been doing CO with VO5 and I think it may have made my itchies and flakes worse. Only thing is I don't see SLS or any cones on the label. Is there something in VO5 that others have reacted too?