Help: Itchy scalp!

joofrohjoofroh Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 3 Curl Neophyte
Greetings, Curltalk! I've had on-and-off terribly itchy scalp for months, and I can't figure out how to make it go away. I've made notes of a number of changes in the past year or so, but I'm not sure which one is the culprit. Please advise!

Hair type: 2c/3a/3b with the right product/styling, fine texture, medium to high porosity.
Length: used to be somewhere around 26", currently a pixie-****-jewfro. Itchiness started after the pixie cut
Climate: used to be Southwest desert; currently coastal Alaska, so usually very humid, but also dry in the winter due to freeze and heating; itchiness started after move to Alaska
Hair products: SheaMoisture Curl & Shine shampoo (1-2x/week); SheaMoisture Curl & Shine conditioner (every other day); SheaMoisture Deep Treatment mask (1x/week)
I used SheaMoisture Curl & Style milk for years, but with the short hair & humid climate it became too greasy, especially for 2nd day hair. So I switched to SheaMoisture Frizz-Free Curl Mousse; itchiness started after I changed styling products

Possible itchiness culprits:
Allergy? I have such great faith in SheaMoisture products, but it could be the mousse doesn't sit well with me. I have sensitive skin overall, prone to breakouts and rashes, which is why I find a natural product that works and tend to stick with it for years. I think I tried switching back to the curl milk, but I don't remember it being very helpful... maybe I need to find a 3rd styling option and/or go without the mousse for longer...
Product buildup? I've tried using diluted apple cider vinegar as a clarifying shampoo. It helped the first couple times, although I had to use to 2 days in a row to notice a difference, which seems like way too harsh for my hair. Doesn't seem to make a difference at the moment, though.
Dry skin? Could be, due to the harsh winter weather, but I don't notice a difference in itchiness after using the deep treatment mask. If anything, greasier hair seems to make it worse. I tend to have somewhat dry skin, but I haven't noticed a difference anywhere else in my body
Thyroid issues? Ruled out during a physical back in the fall, but could be they weren't detected or cropped up afterward?

As you can see, I'm quite mystified! Any input would be greater appreciated

With thanks,

Joofroh

Answers

  • WavyKfromNJWavyKfromNJ Registered Users Posts: 853 Curl Virtuoso
    You could do a simple at home allergy test.  Take a bit of the products and do swatches on your inner arm.  Just remember which products are where.

    If you don't get red & itchy I would think it is not allergies.

    It could be the water, different minerals??

    I woul try a clarifying shampoo, not just the vinegar.  Can you clarify & lay off the styling products for a weekend?
    2b, 2c,
    High Porosity - Very Fine Hair

    Low Poo: Living Proof Restore Shampoo
    Rinse Out: Living Proof Restore Conditioner
    Leave In: Living Proof Curl Leave-In or Garnier 1 Minute Mask - Papaya
    Treatments: Restore Repair Leave-In, 
    Styling: Living Proof In-Shower Styler with Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Gel Stronger Hold
  • Guide 65Guide 65 Registered Users, Moderators Posts: 1,984 Curl Virtuoso
    Have you tried switching out your shampoo and conditioner?  If you do, I'd suggest going with a completely different brand, in case it's a reaction to something they put in all their products (fragrance, or something like that).
    Formerly known as Janiegirl
    2B/2C, fine hair, low density, mixed porosity, protein loving hair
    Current products:
    Changing up my shampoos because I can't find one I like
    Deva Curl One Condition (original formula)
    Innersense I Create Volume
    Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel
  • curlyamarylliscurlyamaryllis Registered Users Posts: 338 Curl Connoisseur
    I agree with the above. I, too, have allergies to ingredients common in skin and hair care and it is a pain in the butt. One thing: that ingredient "fragrance" can be one (or more) of over 500 different chemicals. Law (at least in the US) allows manufacturers to group all these different chemicals under the same ingredient, so it's really hard to tell what you're reacting to. So if you can't quite sort out what you have reactions to, I'd guess you're like me and you're allergic to some of those 500 different chemicals, which is why you seem to "randomly" have reactions to products.

    As for "natural" products, it's totally possible to be allergic to coconut or shea or any other natural ingredient. I went through a natural phase trying to control my allergies, which ended with a $10 lip balm from Whole Foods that was "100% natural" that made my lips swell up, turn bright red and left my skin peeling off in bloody sheets. Now, I don't care what's in it as long as I don't react to it. Unfortunately, my immune system seems to have expensive tastes, because Tresseme makes me itch, swell and flake, but Devacurl is just fine.
    CG since May 1, 2016
    3a, fine, thin, normal porosity, no dye, greying naturally
    Devacurl Weightless Waves Low Poo & Conditioner, B'Leave-in and Ultra Defining Gel
    Curl Junkie Spiral Lotion in low humidity
    Ouidad Advanced Heat & Humidity Gel mixed with UDG for high humidity
    at home gelatin PT
    Hask Argan Oil Deep Conditioner
  • joofrohjoofroh Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 3 Curl Neophyte
    I agree with the above. I, too, have allergies to ingredients common in skin and hair care and it is a pain in the butt. One thing: that ingredient "fragrance" can be one (or more) of over 500 different chemicals. Law (at least in the US) allows manufacturers to group all these different chemicals under the same ingredient, so it's really hard to tell what you're reacting to. So if you can't quite sort out what you have reactions to, I'd guess you're like me and you're allergic to some of those 500 different chemicals, which is why you seem to "randomly" have reactions to products.

    As for "natural" products, it's totally possible to be allergic to coconut or shea or any other natural ingredient. I went through a natural phase trying to control my allergies, which ended with a $10 lip balm from Whole Foods that was "100% natural" that made my lips swell up, turn bright red and left my skin peeling off in bloody sheets. Now, I don't care what's in it as long as I don't react to it. Unfortunately, my immune system seems to have expensive tastes, because Tresseme makes me itch, swell and flake, but Devacurl is just fine.
    OMG, that's terrible!! I haven't had anything this extreme, thank goodness.

    Thanks for the input, everyone! Looks like I might be allergic to some stuff in Shea Moisture, either because they changed the formula or because I suddenly developed an allergy (apparently that can happen until age 30!). So, I've gone product free for the past few days, which is slowly helping. I'll keep it up until my scalp feels better, then slowly try different products one at a time. I can't get most products, except online, because I am in a very remote area, but I'll see what I can find!
  • joofrohjoofroh Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 3 Curl Neophyte
    Update: My helpful spouse identified the culprit. He used my conditioner for the 1st time in a long while and said it immediately made his scalp itch! Upon a closer examination, the conditioner had a rancid/rotten kind of smell =( I've used SheaMoisture for years, and it's the first time I've got a bad batch. I bought shampoo with coal tar to speed up healing and switched to whatever brands I could find at the store... I'll wait a while, then slowly reintroduce my other SheaMoisture products.

    Thanks for the help, everyone!
  • curlyamarylliscurlyamaryllis Registered Users Posts: 338 Curl Connoisseur
    I'm glad you figured it out!


    CG since May 1, 2016
    3a, fine, thin, normal porosity, no dye, greying naturally
    Devacurl Weightless Waves Low Poo & Conditioner, B'Leave-in and Ultra Defining Gel
    Curl Junkie Spiral Lotion in low humidity
    Ouidad Advanced Heat & Humidity Gel mixed with UDG for high humidity
    at home gelatin PT
    Hask Argan Oil Deep Conditioner

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