itchy and irritated scalp

Itchy and painful irritated scalp – Solutions

When it comes to hair problems, we tend to only think about the hair itself. While it’s true that the hair is the most visible part and we can immediately notice if it is damaged, we must not forget that the scalp plays a fundamental role in hair health. The hair follicles are embedded in the scalp so if you want to have a strong and healthy head of hair it is important that you take care of it. 

The scalp is a very sensitive and exposed area, so it is normal that it feels itchy or stings on occasion. In addition, it contains a large number of blood vessels and nerve endings, so a sensitive scalp can cause significant discomfort.

What causes itchy scalp?

Itchy scalp is directly related to psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis (scalp eczema), as well as the presence of fungus. In the mildest cases, it is simply irritated skin (mild dermatitis). 

The use of poor quality or inappropriate shampoos and hair products can also cause itching and irritation, as can drying your hair at high temperatures. That is why we always emphasise the importance of choosing suitable products with a good formulation, like the ones we have in the Insparya online store.

What does sensitive scalp mean?

Symptoms of a sensitive scalp can include burning, tingling, pain, numbness, throbbing, itching, and redness. Sometimes, we just notice that it is tight and itchy. In addition, an irritated scalp can lead to flaking of the skin.

Scalp sensitivity varies from person to person. It can be more frequent and intense, for example, for those who have a dry or oily scalp or who suffer from dryness and need hydration. Also, people with scalp sensitivity often have sensitive skin on other parts of the body.

If the symptoms are severe, you may have a hyper-reactive scalp. Whether it is a mild case or a more acute one, the key is to identify the cause of the sensitivity.

Although they are similar terms, irritable and sensitive scalp are not exactly the same. Irritable scalp is a sensitive scalp that is usually associated with different types of hair loss, such as telogen effluvium. Sensitive scalp usually affects people with particularly sensitive skin and is often associated with hair loss. Although less common, it can also be associated with androgenic alopecia.

The treatments applied in these cases are usually the same treatments used to prevent hair loss caused by telogen effluvium. Another simple solution that can be effective for some people is to use shampoos specifically formulated to treat the problem, such as Insparya’s Dermocalm shampoo.     

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What can cause irritation and damage to the scalp?

We don’t usually stop to think about what factors or elements can irritate and damage our scalp until we start to notice discomfort. It is important to remember that both hair and the scalp are important indicators of our general state of health, so we must pay attention to them.

Many factors can affect the health of your hair. Some of them may have to do with our habits, such as the way we wash our hair, how we style it or what products and treatments we apply.

Fortunately, many of these causes can be avoided if we are aware of them. Let’s take a look at some examples:

Hair fixatives

Some cosmetic products can be harmful to the hair and scalp. For example, some types of fixatives and lacquers. It all depends on the ingredients used in its formula, so if in doubt, it is advisable to consult a professional. Among the most harmful ingredients for our scalp often found in these products are ethanol, parabens, alcohol and fragrances.

In addition, excessive use can trigger hair loss by causing dehydration of the scalp and clogging pores, thus making it difficult for new hair to grow. 

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Hair dyes

Hair dye can unbalance the pH of your scalp. Whether you dye your hair at home or go regularly to a professional, choosing a good product is key. Many contain ammonia, which is useful for lifting the hair cuticle and allowing the dye to seep through. While this makes the colour last longer, it weakens the hair and irritates the skin.


The bleaching process is more aggressive than dyeing because it removes essential oils and nutrients. The scalp naturally produces sebum, which moisturises the hair and gives it shine. Bleaching usually removes these oils and leaves the scalp dry, causing irritation, itchiness, and redness. Also, your hair can end up frizzy and dry. 

Hairdryer and straightener

Direct heat on hair can quickly cause damage. Many of the instruments we use need high temperatures to function. Two of the biggest culprits for scalp irritation are drying and straightening. Both actions absorb the moisture that we need to maintain to keep our hair hydrated.


Proper hydration is essential for the functioning of our body and the same is true for the skin and scalp. If we do not hydrate well, our hair becomes weak, which can cause the scalp to dry out and the hair to become dry and dull.

Drinking enough water also helps the body eliminate toxins. If you don’t drink enough water and these toxins remain in your body, this can cause slow hair growth and even hair loss. 

Sun exposure

The scalp can also get sunburned. So, it is advisable to protect the head with hats or caps, which may also have a UV protection factor for greater safety.

If we want to know why the scalp gets irritated, we can see that shampoo is one of the main causes of scalp sensitivity for many people. The harsh cleaning agents in many shampoos can remove the scalp’s acid mantle—the natural acidity that protects the skin—leaving it susceptible to dryness and irritation.

Likewise, exposure to certain climatic conditions (sun, cold, heat or wind), pollution or stress can cause sensitivity in the scalp area. Taking all these factors into account will help you determine why your skin in that area is so sensitive and how to improve it. 

What are some good solutions for an irritated and itchy scalp?

When scalp irritation and itchiness are related to external factors, it is advisable to use a mild shampoo, remember to rinse the hair very well and stay away from exfoliating products for the scalp. In addition, we can apply products to relieve sensitive scalp. If you want to use a hair dryer, it should ideally be used at a medium temperature (or cold, if it has that mode) and comb your hair gently.

Beyond these recommendations and for more severe cases, topical corticosteroids (in solution) can be applied, or you can use specific shampoos indicated for seborrheic and irritant dermatitis. They should always be recommended by a hair care specialist.

In addition to this, it is beneficial to make certain changes to your daily routine to improve your hair health. These could include:

  • Moisturising the hair well, even if it is oily.
  • Improving your diet, including fruit and vegetables and plenty of water.
  • Avoiding wearing tight hats and helmets for prolonged periods.
  • Brushing your hair with wide-toothed brushes and combs.
  • Exercising regularly to stay healthy, regulate stress and eliminate toxins through sweat.

How can I tell if my scalp is irritated?

You can tell if your scalp is irritated by looking at the symptoms. The most common symptoms are itchiness, dryness, pain, burning, redness and even flaking or dandruff. Faced with these symptoms, the skin becomes more fragile, and measures will need to be taken to solve the irritation.

Irritated scalp problems

The problems and symptoms of scalp irritation are:

  • Scalp sensitivity.
  • Fragile and thin hair.
  • Itchiness.
  • Alopecia.
  • Dandruff.

If you have experienced discomfort like this, contact Insparya now and request an appointment. Our experts in hair health will study your case to offer the best solution for an irritated scalp.