If your clients find themselves desperately trying to stop from scratching their heads, they should not feel embarrassed. They are certainly not alone. An itchy scalp is a fairly common condition, especially in winter, and most of us will experience the issue at least once in our lives.
But fighting the itch does not have to be a complicated process, nor does it have to involve harsh ingredients that end up doing more harm than good.
Below is a list of six ways we recommended to restore and soothe the scalp, 100 percent naturally.
The consistent use of unnatural, conventional hair care is one of the primary factors to eliminate when it comes to maintaining a healthy scalp.
Most shampoos found in stores are not formulated with the health of the scalp or hair in mind; many contain ingredients clients would want to avoid if they knew their effects.
Sulphates are ingredients that pop up everywhere – they are used as detergents and surfactants. The infamous sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is an example of a sulphate found in most conventional shampoos. SLS is also used as an engine de-greaser and in washing up liquid. Although it might cleanse greasy hair, it is not so great when it starts to dry out and irritate the scalp. Despite the fact the ingredient is used as an irritant in scientific studies, it is still found in lots of the personal care products.
But it is not just sulphates clients may want to side step. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other synthetic chemicals that can cause the scalp to itch. Preservatives, artificial fragrance, PEGs, parabens, and sodium chloride can all contribute to scalp sensitivity.
Synthetic products can also build up on hair. Silicones and mineral oil, in particular, can accumulate on the hair and scalp and clog hair follicles. The buildup can weigh hair down, causing it to look greasy and limp, and can irritate the scalp.
If clients currently use conventional hair products, a simple switch to organic shampoo should resolve the issue.
Watch out, though. Organic and natural are loose terms when it comes to cosmetics – some brands advertise their products using these terms when, in reality, only a couple of their ingredients really fit the description.
To avoid buying or recommending something that is not genuinely organic, make sure the product is independently certified, which can be identified through a logo placed on the packaging.
When clients switch to a genuinelynatural shampoo, they should allow time for the scalp and hair to adjust and cleanse from product buildup – which can take at least a couple of weeks.
If the itching does subside, they will know the perpetrator was the synthetic products.
Dandruff seems to be the go-to diagnosis for scalp issues, but not all itchy scalps are due to dandruff. Dandruff flakes tend to be oilier and usually stems from a fungal or yeast infection.
A simple way to treat dandruff is through the power of tea tree essential oil, which has many benefits, including antifungal properties that have been shown to be effective in the treatment of dandruff. With regular use, a good tea tree shampoo could help the flaking and itching to subside.
Better yet, make sure the tea tree shampoo is an organic one, which will cut out contaminants such as pesticides. A gentle, low-foaming shampoo can help rebalance sebum production in the scalp, without causing it to flake or increase oil production.
Although slightly trickier to treat, eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions can also make the head itch. They are not as easy to diagnose either, which is why clients should consult a health care practitioner, since different conditions can have similar symptoms.
As a rule of thumb, dry, red patches accompanied by scaly, flaking skin could be a sign of psoriasis. But, inflamed skin, without the flakes, but possibly with blisters, could be a case of eczema.
Whatever stress the scalp may be under, it can be helped it through skin care and lifestyle choices. It may be good for clients to go natural with skin care and diet – the less processed and more clean and green, the better.
When shampooing, clients should use a single application – just enough to achieve a light lather – leaving on for a few minutes to allow the herbs and oils to penetrate. Without strong detergents, natural shampoos will not lather as much as conventional ones, but will still cleanse effectively.
We often underestimate the impact stress has on health. In fact, it can cause a chain of reactions that ultimately could be the cause of an itchy scalp.
Some stressors cannot be avoided, but clients should be sure to carve out time each day to do something relaxing – if this happens to be exercise, meditation, or getting outside, all the better. Taking time to relax will help the client to feel a multitude of benefits for their health – hopefully including their scalp.
An easy, natural way to de-stress is to utilise the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, which can put clients physically and mentally at ease. Essential oils are easy to carry on the go and can be diffused around the home. Encourage clients to try lavender essential oil for relaxing – it has been documented as a stress reliever!
Head lice – they are not just a kid’s problem! Although seemingly less common in adults, head lice could be the reason a scalp feels so itchy. Thankfully, they are pretty easy to diagnose. Using a fine-toothed comb, clients can go through the hair and look for small, dark lice or tiny, white specs (which could be eggs) by teasing them out.
The sooner the client catches them, the easier it will be to eliminate them completely. The trick to getting rid of the itchy pests is to create an uninhabitable environment. Essential oils are also great for this purpose. Tea tree oil is not a friend of head lice. In one study, it was found to kill 100 percent of them in 30 minutes.
Using a tea tree shampoo, along with a lice comb to comb hair afterward, should do the trick after one to two washes. Once the lice have been removed completely, itching should subside.
Although switching up their routine to tackle the root cause of an itchy scalp is essential for clients, giving their scalp some extra love is sometimes called for.
Treating the scalp with an overnight scalp treatment (which is similar to a hair mask) can help to boost moisture and further soothe skin. Organic coconut oil is a multi-tasking health and beauty go-to and something clients can use to coat the hair and scalp with overnight. In the morning, they should thoroughly wash the oil out. Not only should they see and feel a difference in their scalp, they should also notice theirr hair is a lot softer and more deeply nourished. Coconut oil has been reported to calm inflammation, hydrate skin, and even tackle head lice, so clients should utilise it to the scalp’s content!
Kirsty Black is the research and content writer at Odylique – who have specialised in natural skin care for sensitive skin since 1984. The mother-daughter co-founders of Odylique, Margaret and Abi Weeds, have been pioneers in the natural skin care industry with over 30 plus years of knowledge, experience, and solutions for skin care needs. www.odylique.com