Help! My scalp is itchy and there is no sign of dandruff. I can’t keep myself from scratching it!
Sometimes it is hard to figure out what is going on with your scalp especially when you have an itch that just wont ease off and there is no dandruff insight.
Time for some investigation to explore the possible cause/s – including the extreme cases, where ther is no sign of dandruff – not even a tiny spot on your entire scalp,
In this article, we will look at the many facets that can cause the problem, and then start with the products and remedies that will help relieve the itch completely.
Itchy Scalp Causes :
It is easy to blame dandruff as the cause for any scalp itch, Whilst dandruff is an indication of something not quite right on your scalp, and, it can certainly can give you itch, it often has nothing to do with an itching, irritated scalp that is driving you insane.
Dandruff is not always present when you have an itchy head! So, putting it simply, not all cases are caused by dandruff. In fact, sometimes you may have a terrible case of flaking dandruff, with little or even no itch, whilst someone else may have a maddening itch, yet have a perfectly normal healthy looking scalp!
Most importantly – do not scratch at your itchy head as it can lead to breaking the skin and result in a far more serious situation in the form of an infection. Easy to say, I know, but VERY important.
Here a few reasons your scalp could be itching with no sign of dandruff, – so it just can’t be the culprit……
1. Allergic Reaction to Hair Products
There is a hair care product on the market for just about everything! Are you a hair product ‘junkie’? Did you start using a new product in the past week or two? Have you increased usage of a particular product over recent time?
Look in your hair care product basket for answers. Your scalp could be reacting to something as simple as your shampoo or conditioner …. the problem could be as a result of contact dermatitis – an allergic reaction, often an itchy rash caused by direct contact with a substance in the product.
Some ingredients, like one of the sulfates in shampoos have been known to cause scalp itching. The two main ones in hair care are Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is actually now banned in the EU because it is a known problematic skin irritant.
Is it in a product you are using?
Sulfates are a common ingredient in shampoo which you may see it listed alongside Parabens – also notorious scalp irritants.
There is a whole movement against sulfates in hair products and not just from natural hair enthusiasts.
Some Hair Dyes are a source for the itching ….. could be a reaction if you have used any recently. If you have a sensitive scalp and have permed your hair recently, the issue could be traced back to the perming products/ or chemicals contained in them.
Hair gels are not always innocent. The ‘leave-in conditioner’ you are applying to keep your locks shiny may not be agreeing with your scalp, causing a dry itching scalp.
Product build-up can also cause an irritated head, especially if you keep slathering on the product without doing a proper clarifying wash on a regular basis. Read more about clarifying washes for your hair.
If you have a reaction, or suspect you are having a reaction you may experience other symptoms like a burning itchy feeling, you may also develop an itchy scalp with bumps, or an itchy scalp at nape of neck, pimple like bumps ….. Is the itching accompanied by redness, and or a rash?
Keep track of when you are most affected to establish the link between the product and the scalp itch. For example, does the itching get worse after shampooing your hair? Keep a diary as there can be a lag between using the product and the appearance of the irritated scalp.
.You can replace whatever product it is you suspect is causing it with another, or eliminate it for a period of time.
Monitor the results!!
2. Lice – reddish bumps
Lice like to make a home in our scalp. We actually wouldn’t notice if they also did not decide to make a meal of our blood too. Lice bites can cause this problem. If your scalp is itching yet you have no dandruff you could try checking for lice.
Typically lice bites will leave some reddish bumps on the head. This will leave you with an itchy scalp bumps with no dandruff. You will also notice some white nits or eggs laid by the lice. Along with the itching, you may also come with a feeling like something is crawling on your head. It is better to have someone else check you for the lice as those little critters are masters of hiding.
They are too tiny to see, but the itching from them taking residence in this area could drive you up the wall. If you have mites, you will have an itchy scalp but without dandruff. You will need a dermatologist to confirm if mites have. This is usually done by carrying out a scrape on the affected parts and examining the sample under a microscope.
4. Tight Braids
Tight braids and plaits could also be another cause. They can also leave you with small bumps where the scalp was pulled too much.
5. Hormonal changes
Sometimes hormonal changes in your body may cause this problem that is not accompanied by dandruff.
How to Relieve it
You could start with changing your shampoo if you have an itch in your scalp that puzzles you. Without changing the product that seems to trigger it, no treatment will work. You need to establish if using any of your hair products triggers the itching or makes it worse.
You could also check for lice and get a special lice shampoo along with a special brush to get rid of the nits from your hair.
If you braid your hair or install extensions, ensure that the hair is not pulled too tight. You can also loosen already tight braid and give your scalp time to recover.
Some people get relief after switching to parabens and sulfates free shampoos. You can see a couple of fantastic reviews for sulfate free shampoos here.
Though it is easier said than done, you can also try not scratching every time you feel the urge to do so. The more you scratch the more severe the itch is likely to get so refraining from scratching may give you some relief eventually, if you survive with your wits that is.
Best shampoo for itchy scalp no dandruff
There are shampoos that will help relieve itchiness on the scalp even if it is not necessarily caused by dandruff. Don’t rush for just any medicated shampoo though; some may only irritate your scalp worse.
We are not in the business of soiling any brands reputation, so we shall not go and name any brand that gets bad reviews. The important thing to know is that there are several ingredients you should be looking out for in a shampoo for this problem.
Some people have found relief from using shampoos containing ketoconazole. Nizoral is a popular shampoo that contains Ketoconazole. Shampoos that contain coal tar, Selenium, salicylic acid as well as corticosteroids may also offer relief from a very itchy scalp. Some products may also have biotin and flucfluocinolone.
Check the nearby pharmacy for some of these medicated shampoos. You could also see a specialist who will recommend the best treatment for you. You will want to discontinue using shampoo and shower gel that contains SLS if you have a constant itch on your scalp but no flaking and dandruff.
Let us face it, sometimes the best shampoos may not work, sometimes there is even no proper explanation for this problem? There are also instances a natural remedy will fix what other treatments will not. You can try one of the following home remedies to relieve an itchy scalp without dandruff.
1. Tea Tree Oil
You could massage some tea tree Oil into your scalp, leave on for thirty minutes and rinse off. Tea tree oil is known to relieve itchiness and has antifungal and anti-bacterial properties. Just be sure to get pure tea tree oil to use for this remedy, not the varieties where tea tree oil is blended with other oils.
2. Apple cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the best home remedies. It is also pretty easy to find as most of us stock it in our kitchens. While the store bought filtered type will do, the cloudy unfiltered type is said to work best.
You need to soak your scalp with vinegar and leave on for thirty minutes before rinsing off to relieve itchiness. You can also use an ACV rinse every after washing your hair. Just dilute some vinegar with some water and pour this mixture over your hair.
3. Tea Rinse
Not to be confused with a tea tree rinse. In this natural itchy scalp treatment, you use cold tea which as a rinse on your hair over and over again after shampooing. This simple remedy could relieve an extreme or a very itchy one.
4. Lemon Rinse
Apply some Lemon juice and leave for a few minutes then rinse thoroughly making sure not to leave any lemon juice in your hair. This treatment may relieve an itching scalp.