Believe me, I have been through the times when it seemed like the itching would never end. The first few months of locking were definitely the worst of times. Every time I started to itch I would just grease or wash in hopes of finding some sort of relief. Let me tell you, nothing is worse than changing your oil and shampoo just to continue the itchy struggle. I have found that the first step to beating an itchy scalp is discovering the reason why it is happening. If you are itchy, don’t worry. Here are four reasons you might feel this way and natural, affordable ways to rectify the itch. Remember, these are ways that have gotten me over the hump, but everyone’s scalp is different. All of my advice stems from having curly/coarse hair. If these solutions do not work for you feel free to tweak them to your liking. Listen to your scalp!
1. Dry Scalp
Those of you that have read my post about my dreadlock journey know that I suffered from dry scalp for way too long in the second year of my journey. After my big chop, I got accustomed to washing my TWA ( Teeny Weeny Afro) once a week. This is fine with a TWA because it has the luxury of being moisturized and brushed/combed. Locs are meant to be washed, oiled, and essentially . . . Left alone. Over washing stripped my scalp of it’s natural oils and for a while, I struggled to find a balance with washing and oiling because of my mistake.
Make sure that the shampoo is sulfate free. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) are found in most shampoos from department/ drug stores. These ingredients can strip the moisture right out of your hair.
Solving this problem is easy. Gradually space out your washdays. Make the next washday a week in a half later, then the next time two weeks.
There are a ton of natural oils that will help to regain the moisture. Some of my favorites are Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E Oil, and Pimento Oil. Rose water is also fantastic for everyday use.
2. Not Washing Enough
I know that there are plenty of people advising dreadlock wearers to wash their hair about once a year (I’m exaggerating for a dramatic effect.) but under washing could be a cause itching and other problems. Because we do not brush our hair, there is an extremely high probability that we will experience build up. This is all of the dirt, dust, oil, and shampoo/conditioner resin that sticks to your scalp during the periods between wash days. This needs to be washed out routinely or a yeast-like fungus called Malassezia/ Pityrosporum could begin to grow on your scalp. This is very very itchy, flakes like dandruff, and fills your hair follicles with puss. Some cases of extreme under washing have also lead to alopecia.
This solution is a little more difficult than you’d think it would be. In order to eliminate the itchiness, find the sweet spot between wash days. This may not be the same time frame as other friends and family members. Begin with the wash routine used before locking. If it is to often space it out gradually. If it is not enough, try washing more often.
REMEMBER. . . DO NOT GO MONTHS WITHOUT WASHING YOUR HAIR!
3. Clogged Pores
With locs, hair lotions and thick moisturizers are virtually obsolete. I have heard of others diluting hair lotion and moisturizers with water, but to be honest. . . It has not been a necessity for me. Remember that most of us are not brushing our hair anymore, so the thick moisturizer is just sitting on the scalp collecting dirt and trapping dead skin. This will make the scalp more prone to itching. ( This was a huge problem for me as I transitioned from loose natural hair to dreadlocks.)
I have stopped using conditioner for this reason. Although many loc wearers still do, I find that my scalp is happier without.
4. Season Changing
Season changes can be a big concern for allergies. Our scalp is not immune to them. Washing and oiling routines may have to change with the weather. If your skin dries out more in the summer, you do not have to force the routine that worked in the winter and spring. Be flexible. I personally use more rose water and castor oil in the summer months than I do at any other time.
This took a very long time for me to discover. Paying close attention to our scalp during the seasons changing will assist with our readiness to take action.
We all have faced itchiness from time to time. Being aware of the causes are the first steps to ensuring that it is not a continuous cycle. We all want healthy happy locs. I hope that the information here has been helpful. For any questions or to share tips and tricks, you can find me on