Help! My Scalp is Itchy, Flaky and Sensitive
Q: I have had a terribly itchy and sensitive scalp for as long as I can remember. I stopped using relaxers because the burning and swelling was unbearable. I tried loose natural hair and now I have dreadlocks but my dermatitis is still painful. What can I do?
A: Many individuals suffer from sebhorric dermatitis or itchy, inflamed flaky scalp.
They often feel embarrassed because they confuse this condition with dandruff. All of us have a fungus named Malassezia on the scalp. Some are extra sensitive to it hence the inflammation, itching and pain. Doctors recommend you use a strong anti-dandruff shampoo that contains pyrithione zinc or ketoconazole. Some even prescribe steroid creams for extreme cases. Avoid products which contain Oleic Acid as this feeds the fungus. Avoid coconut oil, shea butter and olive oil on the scalp. Use oils like tea tree oil, peppermint oil, rosemary and even the preparation Sulphur 8 to help relieve the burning sensation. Raw honey, Apple Cider Vinegar, Henna and Bentonite clay are products that reportedly relieve dermatitis. Avoid touching and scratching the hair as this results in more flaking, irritation and even infection. If symptoms persist seek medical advice.
Side note: Psoriasis is an auto-immune condition similar to eczema.
It is not contagious and has no cure. Its symptoms are skin redness and irritation due to an accelerated skin regeneration process. This results in scaly plaques of skin coming up rapidly on the surface of your scalp.
When I had this condition my dermatologist prescribed coal tar shampoo. This works just as well as salycilic acid shampoo. It brings relief for mild cases but can dry the hair and lead to breakage through continued long-term use. There are also corticosteroid treatments they prescribe for this condition but the side effects are worth considering.
Some natural haired ladies who suffer from this condition report that tea tree oil mixed with coconut oil and applied directly to the scalp gave them much relief. Also using African Black soap as a shampoo helps relieve the itching due to the enzymes contained in this natural cleanser.
Lastly some experience relief when they do regular monthly henna treatments using 100% pure lawsonia inermis (henna.) Research has yet to be done on the exact properties of this centuries-old treatment, but anecdotal evidence seems to support its efficacy. If symptoms persist seek the advice of a qualified dermatologist.