Ever had this experience after braiding your hair, installing crochet braids, fixing a weave or trying out a new hair product? This itchy, stinging sensation on your scalp that is extremely uncomfortable and slowly spreads across your head until it feels like everywhere is on fire! Usually accompanied by little bumps that appear all over your scalp and are very tender to touch. Well if you have, you are definitely not alone.
The scalp forms part of the skin that covers our head (excluding our faces) and chances are when a person has sensitive skin, they may also have a sensitive scalp. Skin sensitivity is a measure of how the skin responds to potential irritation. Everyone’s skin reacts differently when exposed to the same elements and chemicals; some have a higher tendency of reaction (sensitivity) than others.
With braids, there is usually a persistent itchy sensation that occurs almost immediately after installation. ‘Kanekalon Fiber’ is commonly used in braiding hair, it’s synthetic and usually coated with an alkaline formula. This coating is what triggers an allergic reaction on the scalp for some people. Basically, you’re not the problem, the chemical used on the synthetic hair is.
Now that you know you aren’t alone in the sensitive scalp struggle, here are a few things you can do better manage it and get the best out of your braiding/styling experience:
Pay attention to the signs your body gives you (in this case specifically your scalp) whenever your hair is styled. This way it is easier to isolate the cause. Sometimes it is a product, hair extension or even the type of water used.
When braiding or installing crochet braids, treat the hair extensions with an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse prior to use. There are tons of how to videos on YouTube you can check out. The ACV rinse takes off the sulfate coating from the hair extensions making it safer to use for sensitive scalps.
For scalps that have been triggered, the ACV solution can be put in a spray bottle and applied directly to the affected areas. You will feel the difference immediately.
If scalp irritation is caused by a product, please discontinue use and get medical/professional advice immediately.
Your hair is beautiful and it is not a problem to deal with. Sensitive scalp is simply a reminder to be extra gentle and conscious of what goes on our hair/scalp.