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Sensitive scalp

See what causes sensitive scalp and how to treat it with our tips from choosing the right shampoo to making a few simple changes to your hair care routine. 

We often hear about sensitive skin on the hands and face, but your scalp is in fact the next most common area to experience sensitivity.

Put simply, a sensitive scalp is one where the scalp exhibits reactions such as redness, itching or dryness more easily than ‘normal’ skin.

The symptoms of sensitive scalp

If you have a sensitive scalp, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • redness

  • itching

  • dryness

If you suffer from dandruff too, these could appear worse as scratching damages the surface of the scalp even more. 

Causes of a sensitive scalp

Like sensitive skin on the face or hands, there are a number of causes that contribute to these symptoms.

Sensitive scalp, dandruff, and many other dermatological conditions can be made worse by scratching and irritating the skin.

5 things to avoid if you have a sensitive scalp

There are simple steps you can take to avoid aggravating the problem. Here are 5 key things to avoid if you suffer from a sensitive scalp.

1. Choosing the wrong shampoo

Avoid using a shampoo that’s harsh on sensitive skin and might dry out your scalp. Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo is designed just for sensitive scalps. It’s a pH balanced, dye-free formula so it helps to fight dandruff but is gentle enough you can use it every day.

2. Washing your hair too often

If you’re struggling with a sensitive scalp, washing your hair too often can strip its natural oils, drying out your scalp and making the problem worse.

Washing your hair every couple of days using an anti-dandruff shampoo will keep your scalp hydrated and keep dandruff under control.

3. Taking very hot showers

Washing your hair in very hot water can irritate your scalp, making it even more sensitive. Use warm or cool water to avoid drying out your hair and delicate scalp.

4. Over-styling your hair

Use minimal styling products. Gels and pastes build up at the roots of your hair, which can irritate and dry out a sensitive scalp. Using heat regularly to style your hair can also contribute to a dry scalp.

Brushing your hair too hard could irritate your scalp too. Try to use a wide toothed comb, taking care not to drag it too hard across the hair.

5. Using a hairdryer too often

If you have a sensitive scalp and you use a hairdryer after every wash, try letting your hair dry naturally sometimes.

As well as drying out the hair and causing it to become brittle, the heat can seriously dry out your scalp and aggravate any problems.