Sensitive Scalp: Causes and How to Fix Them

A sensitive scalp is extremely itchy, tender to touch and flaky. Bad hair hygiene can cause scalp sensitivity but it can also be a sign of something more dangerous than it originally appears. Many of the causes are more than just external, and can even signify signs of bigger disease.

What Causes Scalp Sensitivity?

Scalp sensitivity is rooted in the underlying tissues, nerves, and blood vessels of the head. The main causes of scalp sensitivity are as follows

  • Dermal disorders which cause itchiness, swelling, and flakes all over the skin –including the scalp.
  • Fungal Infections in the areas of the body more prone to sweating like hair follicles, armpits, the nape.
  • Climatic changes including pollution, extreme heat, wind, or cold.
  • Allergies or disorders affecting the vascular system like asthma
  • Psychiatric symptoms of depression, anxiety or stress
  • Excessive use of harsh products on the hair like harsh shampoos, heating products like blow dries or dipping for too long in chlorinated water.

What Are the Symptoms of Scalp Sensitivity?

The most common symptoms of scalp pain and sensitivity include itchy sensations and granules being stuck in between your nails when you scratch your head in response. However, there are other signs as well, and here’s what they are

  • Painful itchiness and red spots
  • A feeling of dryness, and the appearance of dandruff
  • Tender to touch, and inflammation and warmth
  • Sometimes, layers of the skin even come off as you scratch your head
  • Microinflammation
  • Hair loss

How to Fix a Sensitive Scalp?

Hair Products

There are shampoos and other hair products available for sensitive scalps and some of the tips that you can utilize when applying them are as follows.

  • Do not wash or shampoo your hair daily
  • Use mild-shampoo
  • Avoid styling products made out of alcohol, lime, pastes or anything that may result in an itchy scalp sensitive to infections.
  • If you are using such products on the regular, make sure to wash them out of your hair completely so that they do not remain in your hair and cause irritation afterward
  • Avoid hair products if you can, and try a hairstyle that is not too harsh on your scalp. For example, instead of tight ponytails, you might want to switch to lose updos and instead of using rubber bands, switch to alligator clips instead.
  • If you are using drying products like blow dry or even a leave-in shampoo, then it would help if you reduce the amounts.
  • Prolonged exposure to heaters and Air conditioners also has the same effect as hair dryers do.

Natural Remedies

Most Natural remedies that involve a sensitive scalp involve keeping the scalp hydrated. One of the main causes of an irritated scalp is lack of moisture and hydration, which causes dryness and irritation.

Natural remedies include Topical Ointments as well. Depending on your preferences, you can opt for a natural or a chemical based treatment both. There are various topical ointments available for applications for a sensitive scalp and flaky, dry and itchy skin.

  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar
  • Applying essential oils, particularly rosemary and lavender
  • Herbal oils like jojoba, almond oil are also helpful
  • Plant-based oils are the best options as they are not just good for your scalp, but your hair as well, and fix the imbalance up there
  • Adding a few drops of chamomile or lavender tea to your bath may also help reduce the flakiness


Healthy Diet

Whatever goes into your body will come out, and if your skin is breaking out and your scalp is itchy, chances are you are taking in something that you should not be. Some of the ways you can switch your diet up in a way that is healthier for your scalp includes:

  • Avoiding yeast-based white colored products like rice, white bread also Vera Juice
  • Consume Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, meat, fish and poultry, and low calorie milk-based products
  • Aloe Vera juice
  • Finely ground oatmeal or dry foods and fatty acids
  • Foods rich in iron
  • Chamomile tea

You can find a more comprehensive list of recipes for sensitive scalp treatment here.

Stress Management

Did you know that under stress your body sends out inflammatory signals that not only show up on your skin as in the form of a breakout but also cause an itchy, irritant scalp and make it less prone to retain moisture? This leaves it drier, and consequentially causes the sensation of pain and discomfort.

While stress management alone will not fix the issue of a dry an itchy scalp, it will work with other remedies to speed up the process. You can reduce your stress by:

  • Trying mindfulness, meditation, yoga or various other breathing exercises.
  • Talking to a trusted friend or seeking professional help
  • Cultivating positive energy
  • Unwinding and doing the things that you enjoy doing the most


If your symptoms are caused by a dermal or vascular disorder, then medication to reduce the overall effect of that disorder would be the best way to go in addition to the topical ointments. Fixing the cause is more effective than fixing the symptoms.

Another thing to keep in mind would be that just because you have an itchy scalp does not mean that you have a disease. You can pretty much just have a very sensitive scalp, without infestations, fungi, or any other things that you are dreading. Either way, you have to visit a doctor and have him take a professional look.


Many factors contribute towards scalp sensitivity; environmental, genetic, or medicinal as well. In order to fix the issue at hand, you must first get to the cause and then treat it with the help of the concerned professional.

There is no exact way to go about treating scalp sensitivity, different things work for different people and symptoms. You have to tread into the dark waters and figure out what works the best for you.