'Pat Your Weave, Ladies': How to Fight the Itch
Yes. We’re all victims of it. We’ve been spotted in places where we thought no one was looking, combing through our tresses, patting furiously at the top of our heads, receiving sideway glances and mixed looks of confusion.
The plight of the itchy scalp is seriously a b-word.
The itch is experienced in a variety of ways. Sometimes it’s a tight weave that feels good for two days that sends our fingers on a wild and crazy roaming spree. Or it's a harsh winter day that saps the living water right up out our roots.
But what really triggers that fiery feeling on the top of our heads?
One of the most common reasons for an itchy scalp is dandruff. It is a condition that is caused by the overgrowth of yeast on our scalp, which triggers inflammation at our roots and itching. The most noticeable downside of dandruff is flaking, or the peeling away of dry layers of the scalp.
Another reason, which is most attributed to weaves and braids, is the tight contraction of the skin and lack of moisture and fresh air. If your hair is pulled too tight during the braiding or weaving process, inflammation of hair follicles can develop. When hair is trapped under a net or mass of hair for days without moisture, the scalp gets ridiculously dry, creating a spread of that fiery itching feeling. Sweating or getting the hair wet without properly drying the scalp can cause mold or mildew to develop and create an itching sensation as well.
How can you make that burning sensation go away?
Washing hair too frequently can dry out hair, leading to an itchy scalp. One way to lessen the pain is to reduce the amount of times you wash your hair. Oils for African-American hair is a treasure—a recommended once a week, or once every two weeks, shampoo is plenty.
Consistently moisturizing the scalp is a must, especially for braid or weave wearers. Find a good nozzle that can be used to get a moisturizing hair cream down to the root of your scalp. An oil sheen spray with a stick nozzle helps you reach into those tiny cracks and corners of your scalp that need the most juice.
Let your tresses hang free. Capping it down, wrapping it up, tying it up with a scarf—you name it, there are several moments throughout the day that we seek to protect our hair. Protection is a great thing, but sometimes all your scalp might need is some breathing room. If you find yourself in a raging itch battle in the middle of the night, try sleeping with your hair bonnet off – the air will help smoothe the scalp and reduce the pain.
If you do suffer from dandruff, continue to use your anti-dandruff shampoo. If you have a severe case of an itch, one that results in pus forming bumps on the head, please take your scalp to a health professional to have the problem addressed.
- Liane Membis