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Why Does My Scalp Itch a Day After Washing? How to Get Relief!

 Are you constantly scratching your head in confusion, wondering why your scalp feels itchy just a day after washing your hair? It's frustrating and can make you feel self-conscious. After all, aren't we supposed to feel the freshest and most comfortable after a shower or bath? But when you're unable to stop reaching for your scalp in search of relief, you might feel like you were better off dirty! 

Well don't worry; you're not alone! Many people experience this irritating sensation. Understanding the underlying causes can help you wrap your itchy head around the problem and end this cycle.
In this article, we'll delve deep into the reasons behind scalp itchiness after washing. We'll also provide practical tips for relief so you can finally enjoy those lustrous, itch-free locks we all desire! That way you'll no longer have to choose between clean or comfy!

So, let's scratch the itch together and get to the issue's root. Pun intended!

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Common Causes of Scalp Itchiness After Washing

Dry scalp

A dry scalp is often a primary reason for an itchy scalp a day after washing. Over-washing your hair or using harsh hair products can strip the natural scalp oil. This results in flaky, dry skin that irritates and causes itchiness.  Many people associate oily hair with being dirty. And while excessive oil can lead to problems, proper scalp hydration is essential for healthy hair.

A man with a dry, itchy scalp


So it's all about balance, and maintaining the proper levels of natural hair oils and moisture with cleanliness. There are specially formulated shampoos and conditioners designed to keep the scalp hydrated.

Product buildup

Residual hair care products—like shampoo, conditioner, and styling gels—can lead to scalp buildup. If you're not thoroughly rinsing the shampoo and conditioner out of your hair, the product residues may cause your scalp to itch. Additionally, hair products can weigh down your hair shafts and follicles, worsening the itchiness.

A group of different types of shampoos and conditioners designed to relieve scalp itch on a white background. 
Again, this comes down to balance and finding the right cadence of washing.
Washing your hair too frequently can results in too much natural moisture being stripped away. However, not washing enough can lead to a build up of hair product. Ultimately, the right hair/scalp care routine comes down to what works for you. 

Regardless of the cadence of frequency, it's important to wash and rinse your hair thoroughly. This means removing both the dirt, oils and the cleaning products themselves. 

Allergic reactions

An allergic reaction to a hair product—an itchy scalp due to shampoo, for example—may result in itchiness and irritation.

A woman with allergies 
But what causes these allergic reactions? Allergens could be fragrances, dyes, or natural ingredients like herbal extracts.

Be especially cautious while using new hair products, and watch for any signs of allergic reactions. Special shampoos and conditioners that are formulated for sensitive skin are also available and may prove to be the best choice. 

Scalp psoriasis 

Scalp psoriasis is a common skin condition characterized by red, itchy patches on the scalp. It can look like dandruff but often requires more specialized treatment.
Scalp psoriasis is characterized by scaly patches of skin. These may cause irritation, itching, or burning sensations.

Psoriasis can often be confused with eczema, so it's important to have a proper diagnosis in order to treat the condition. If you are unsure if you have scalp psoriasis, it’s best to visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment options. 

Seborrheic dermatitis

Like dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis is a widespread scalp condition that causes itching.
It manifests as red, flaky, and intensely itchy patches on the scalp. Over-the-counter treatments like medicated shampoos may help.
However, unlike scalp psoriasis, sebhorreic dermatitis can also affect the brows, ears, and other regions of the body. If these treatments don't work, your doctor may suggest another treatment option. This could be a topical antifungal cream or other prescription medication.

Hair care routine

As mentioned earlier, washing your hair too much can all cause your scalp to become irritated and itchy.

A woman is washing her hair
Additionally, using excessive heat, or employing harmful styling tools can do the same. Not only can this type of activity irritate the scalp, but it can also damage the hair itself.
It's important to discuss your skin health with a dermatologist. It is also recommended to seek hair care advice from a trained professional in that field. 

Tips for Relief and Preventing Itchiness

Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner

Avoid products with ingredients that irritate your scalp. Seems obvious, right? But how do you know what those ingredients are?

Man is confused as to what hair product to buy for scalp itch

Here's a general rule of thumb. Opt for gentle, sulfate-free, pH-balanced shampoo and conditioner that won't strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils.  You want to look for products that are gentle and safe for daily use.

Know Thy Scalp

It is important to identify your scalp type before buying hair care products. 
If you have a dry scalp, look for products that contain ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, or coconut oil. These moisturize your scalp and prevent flakiness.
For an oily scalp, choose products that contain tea tree oil or salicylic acid to unclog pores and control the production of oil.

In general, it's best to avoid products that contain harsh chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. 

Proper washing techniques

When lathering up, focus on your scalp, and ensure you're rinsing your hair and scalp thoroughly. This will remove all shampoo and conditioner residue. Also, avoid using hot water as it can strip your hair of its natural oils.
Instead, use lukewarm water to wash your hair. Additionally, try not to rub your hair too vigorously as it can damage the hair shaft and cause breakage. Instead, gently massage your scalp and hair with your fingertips and allow the lather to do its job. 

Lastly, consider using a clarifying shampoo once a month to remove any buildup from styling products or hard water. 

Hydration and moisturizing with oil

Hair and scalp oil treatments can provide much-needed hydration, especially for those with curls. Try homemade scalp oil treatments or consider scalp-balancing dry shampoo alternatives.
Hair and scalp oil treatments can have numerous benefits for all types of hair, but particularly for those with curls. Oils provide much-needed hydration. They can also help to stimulate hair growth, improve scalp health, and increase hair shine and strength

Incorporating hair and scalp oil treatments into your regular routine can help keep your curls stay healthy and hydrated. You may opt for a homemade DIY treatment. Regardless, be sure to listen to your hair's needs and adjust your routine as necessary.   

Avoiding excessive heat and styling tools

Limit your use of heat-styling tools. This includes blow dryers, curling irons, and straighteners.

This is done to maintain a healthy scalp biome and avoid irritation. Heat styling tools can damage your hair and scalp by causing dryness and breakage. They can also disrupt the natural balance of your scalp biome and lead to irritation, itchiness, and dandruff.

Hair tools, including a bottle of shampoo and a bottle of conditioner laying on top of a bed.
To prevent these problems, limit your use of heat styling tools as much as possible. Instead, try air-drying your hair, or use a cool setting on your blow dryer. If you must use heat styling tools, use them sparingly and always apply a heat protectant product beforehand to minimize damage.
Also make sure to clean your styling tools regularly to prevent bacterial buildup that can cause scalp issues

Overall, prioritizing the health of your scalp over trendy hair styles will ultimately lead to happier and healthier hair. 

Being mindful of hair and scalp products 

This may seem familiar, but it can't be stressed enough: read product labels and do patch tests before applying new products.
This can save you from triggering itchy reactions on your scalp. It is important to understand the ingredients in the products to determine if any allergens or irritants are present. 
Look out for common culprits such as fragrances, preservatives, and sulfates.
Patch testing involves applying a small amount of the product on a small area of skin (usually behind the ear or on the wrist). After, check for any adverse reactions for 24-48 hours.

 It is also important to note any changes in the scalp such as redness, itching, flaking, or swelling and to discontinue use if such symptoms occur. Consulting with a dermatologist is important to identify potential allergies or sensitivities. and recommending suitable products for individuals. 

Regularly washing hair tools and accessories.

Keep your brushes, combs, and hair accessories clean to avoid transferring dirt, oil, and bacteria to your scalp and hair.
Regularly clean your hair brushes and combs by removing any hair caught in the bristles and washing them with warm water and mild soap. Allow them to air dry completely before using them again.
For hair accessories like hair ties, headbands, and barrettes, wipe them down with an antibacterial wipe or wash them with soap and water. Avoid sharing hair accessories with others to prevent the spread of germs.

Keeping your hair tools and accessories clean promotes good hygiene and helps keep your hair healthy and free of buildup

When to See a Doctor

There's no shame in an itchy scalp. Don't suffer in silence; seek medical attention if necessary. Not sure when to call it in? Here's a few things to look out for.

Persistent itchiness and irritation 

If your itchiness doesn't subside after trying the tips above and changing your hair care routine, it's time to consult a dermatologist.

A man is soothing his scalp itch by combing his hair with his hands.
They can assess your scalp and determine if there is an underlying condition causing the itchiness. This includes possible suspects previously mentioned, such as scalp psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis.

They may also prescribe medicated shampoos or topical treatments. These will alleviate the itchiness and treat underlying conditions. 

Identifying other symptoms

Seek medical advice if you experience hair loss, rash, or other infections, like head lice or scalp ringworm.
These could be signs of something more serious that need professional attention. Additionally, take note if you are experiencing sudden or extreme hair loss. In that case, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is essential, as this could be a sign of an underlying medical condition or disease.
Early intervention and treatment can help prevent further hair loss and promote healthy hair growth. Your healthcare provider may recommend medication, lifestyle changes, or other interventions. All are designed to help address the underlying cause of your hair loss and improve your overall health and well-being.

Treatment Options for Itch Relief

Finding the proper treatment for your itchy scalp is crucial, and your options depend on why your scalp is itchy. However, there are some types of products that you need to watch out for.

Here are some treatment possibilities; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Natural remedies 

Some individuals have discovered that natural remedies, such as tea tree oil or aloe vera, can be effective in alleviating the discomfort of an itchy scalp. These remedies have been used for centuries by different cultures around the world to soothe various skin conditions and promote overall health.

Tea tree oil, derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, is known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. It can help reduce inflammation and itching on the scalp, providing relief for those suffering from dandruff or psoriasis.

Aloe vera, on the other hand, is a succulent plant that has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Its gel-like substance contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can nourish and moisturize the scalp, relieving dryness and itchiness.

When applied topically, both tea tree oil and aloe vera can provide a cooling sensation that helps to calm irritated skin. Additionally, these natural remedies are generally safe to use and have fewer side effects compared to synthetic treatments.

However, it's important to note that everyone's skin is unique, so what works for one person may not work for another. It's always a good idea to test a small amount of any new product on a small patch of skin before applying it to the entire scalp. If symptoms persist or worsen, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional for further guidance and treatment options.

Over-the-counter treatments

Over-the-counter medicated shampoos and conditioners, which can be easily purchased without a prescription, have been developed to effectively alleviate mild dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, two common scalp conditions that can cause itchiness and flakiness.

These specialized products are carefully formulated with active ingredients that target the root causes of these issues, providing much-needed relief and restoring scalp health.

It is important to note that in order to achieve optimal results, it is crucial to use these medicated shampoos and conditioners consistently as part of your regular hair care routine. By incorporating these products into your daily or weekly regimen, you can maintain a healthy scalp and prevent the recurrence of dandruff and itchiness.

However, if your symptoms persist or worsen despite using over-the-counter medicated shampoos and conditioners, it is recommended to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional. They can provide a more thorough evaluation of your scalp condition and may prescribe stronger or prescription-strength treatments if necessary.

Prescription treatments

 For more severe cases, a dermatologist may prescribe a medication to help alleviate symptoms. Most of these involve the use of corticosteroids, or topical steroids. These include hydrocortisone and cortizol.

A female doctor writing on a notepad while addressing scalp itch concerns.
While short term use of these products with topical steroids can yield positive results, there is actually quite a lot of risk involved with using these medications

One of the main concerns with the long-term use of topical steroids is the potential for skin thinning or atrophy. Prolonged use can lead to the weakening and thinning of the skin, making it more susceptible to injuries and infections. This is especially worrisome when using these medications on delicate areas of the body, such as the face or genitals.


Another risk associated with topical steroids is the development of steroid-induced acne or rosacea. These conditions can arise as a result of prolonged or frequent use of corticosteroids, particularly potent ones. The skin may become red, inflamed, and covered in small, pus-filled bumps, which can be quite uncomfortable and unsightly.

Furthermore, there is also a risk of developing tachyphylaxis with long-term use of topical steroids. Tachyphylaxis refers to a decreased response to the medication over time, leading to a reduced effectiveness in treating the underlying condition. This can necessitate higher doses or switching to stronger steroids, which may further increase the risk of side effects.

Topical Steroids Withdrawal (TSW)

In addition to these concerns, improper application of topical steroids can also lead to systemic absorption, especially when used on large areas of the body or under occlusive dressings. Systemic absorption occurs when the medication is absorbed into the bloodstream and can potentially cause systemic side effects, such as adrenal suppression or Cushing's syndrome.

Another important consideration when using topical steroids is the potential for withdrawal symptoms. After prolonged use, the skin can become dependent on the medication, and abruptly stopping or reducing the dosage can lead to a rebound effect. This means that the underlying skin condition may worsen temporarily, and individuals may experience symptoms such as redness, itching, and flares of inflammation.

This phenomenon is known as topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) or steroid rebound phenomenon. TSW can be challenging to manage, as it requires patience and a gradual tapering of the medication to allow the skin to adjust and regain its normal function.

It is important to work closely with a healthcare professional when discontinuing topical steroids to minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms. They can provide guidance on how to gradually reduce the dosage and suggest alternative treatment options if necessary.

Overall, while topical steroids can be effective in managing various skin conditions, it is crucial to be aware of their potential risks and side effects. It is recommended to use them under appropriate medical supervision, follow the prescribed instructions, and report any concerning symptoms to a healthcare professional.

Given these risks, it is essential to approach the use of topical steroids with caution. It is advisable to use them sparingly and for the shortest duration necessary to control symptoms. Consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial to ensure proper usage, minimize risks, and explore alternative treatment options if needed.

However, there's an even better alternative to topical steroids that carries none of the risks. 

Dermeleve® for itch relief 

Dermeleve®  is a safe and effective alternative for managing itch and skin irritation without the use of topical steroids.

Dermeleve® is specifically designed to calm and soothe irritated skin, reducing itching and inflammation. Its gentle formula is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and can be used on various areas of the body, such as the face, hands, and body.

Now, Dermevele® has just released a new product, specifically formulated for scalp itch. Dermeleve® Anti-itch Scalp Serum is 100% steroid free, hypoallergenic and fragrance free. This formula has been created to reduce irritation from dry, itchy or flaky scalp skin. 

Dermeleve® Scalp Serum for Itchy Scalp

One of the key benefits of Dermeleve® is its ability to provide instant relief. This is in contrast to how long it takes for topical steroids to become effective. Instead of taking days or even weeks to get relief from hydrocortisone, Dermeleve® starts working immediately. 

Even better, Dermeleve® lasts a very long time! A single application can last for hours, offering enough relief for an entire night's sleep.

In conclusion, Dermeleve® offers a safe and effective alternative to topical steroids for managing itch and skin irritation. Its natural formula provides quick relief without the potential risks and side effects associated with steroids. By using Dermeleve®, individuals can experience the benefits of soothing and healthy skin while avoiding the concerns often associated with topical steroid use.

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Wrap Up

Still here? You made it! Let's recap what we've learned.
We took a look at the various causes of an itchy scalp a day after washing. These include dry scalp and product buildup to allergic reactions and common skin conditions.
A man in a yellow sweater experiencing relief from scalp itch with his hands on his head.

Following the suggested tips and being mindful of your hair care routine can help balance your scalp and end itching. Remember, a healthy scalp is the foundation for healthier hair.

If the itch persists despite your best efforts, it's essential to consult a dermatologist.
For fast and long lasting relief without the dangerous side effects of topical steroids, try new Dermeleve® Scalp Serum!

Want to learn more about scalp itch? Check out our YouTube video here!



Q: What are the causes of an itchy scalp?

A: There are several causes of an itchy scalp. These include dandruff and an allergic reaction to hair care products. They also include irritation from hair care products, and scalp ringworm.

Q: Why does my scalp itch a day after washing?

A: There are various reasons your scalp might itch a day after washing your hair. One of the most common reasons is natural scalp oils that do not travel easily down the hair shaft and end up accumulating on the scalp, causing itching. Another reason could be that the products you use to shampoo and condition your hair may be causing the scalp to dry and become quite itchy.


Q: What can I do to stop the itch on my scalp?

A: To treat your itchy scalp, make a homemade scalp oil or use an over-the-counter scalp treatment. Gently clarify the scalp, and regularly wash your hair with a gentle shampoo for your scalp. Dermeleve® Scalp Serum is one of the best ways to quickly get relief for an itchy scalp.

Q: What hair care products can cause the scalp to become itchy?

A: Certain hair care products can cause the scalp and hair shafts to be irritated, which can make your scalp itchy. This can include products that contain harsh chemicals such as sulfates or excessive amounts of alcohol.

Q: Can picking at the scalp cause an itchy scalp?

A: Yes, picking at the scalp can cause the scalp to become irritated, which can make it itchy.

Q: How can I make sure my scalp is getting excellent care?

A: To ensure your scalp is getting excellent care, try using gentle hair care products. Also try incorporating a weekly scalp treatment into your hair care routine. Pay attention to your scalp's needs and avoid harsh treatments and effects.

Q: Can a dry scalp condition cause my scalp to be itchy?

A: Yep. A dry scalp condition can cause the scalp to be itchy. Use a moisturizing scalp treatment. Or, you can incorporate more moisture into your hair care routine. Either could be helpful for this type of itchy scalp.

Q: Can an allergic reaction be the cause of my itchy scalp?

A: Yes. An allergic reaction to hair on contact with care products can cause the scalp to become itchy and irritated. If you suspect an allergic reaction, try using different hair care products. Additionally, see a dermatologist for further advice and treatment.

Q: Why does my hair feel itchy after an over-the-counter scalp treatment?

A: If your hair still feels itchy after using an over-the-counter scalp treatment, it could be due to persistent irritation. Or it could be the underlying cause of the itchy scalp not being addressed. Identifying the root cause of the itchy scalp is essential to treat and manage the condition effectively.

Q: Can not washing my hair frequently enough cause an itchy scalp?

A: Yep. Not frequently washing your hair is also enough to cause a buildup of scalp oils, leading to an itchy and uncomfortable scalp. Regularly washing your hair helps keep your scalp clean and reduces the likelihood of itchiness.

Q: What should I do if my scalp is intensely itchy without signs of dandruff or other conditions?

A: If your scalp is itchy without signs of dandruff or other conditions, you may want to consult your dermatologist. They can provide for further evaluation and treatment. They can also help identify potential causes and advise on managing an itchy scalp.

Q: What are the common causes of an itchy scalp?

A: The common causes of an itchy scalp can be dandruff, allergic reaction to hair products or irritation from hair color or harsh shampoos. Additionally, scalp ringworm, or a rash or another skin reaction can cause the itching.

Q: Why does my whole scalp feel irritated and itchy?

A: The reason your whole scalp feels irritated and itchy could be due to a reaction to a hair product or an allergic reaction to something else. In some cases, the scalp could be irritated because of a medical condition such as seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis.

Q: Can hair that is very curly lead to an itchy scalp?

A: Yes, hair that is very curly can lead to an itchy scalp as it can be difficult for the scalp oils to move down the hair shaft. When the hair is not properly moisturized, it can become dry, leading to an itchy scalp.

Q: How do I know if I have scalp ringworm?

A: Scalp ringworm is a fungal infection that can form on the scalp. It usually appears as bald patches on the scalp that are red, itchy, and scaly. If you notice these symptoms, it is advisable to see a dermatologist for a diagnosis and treatment.

Q: Which products cause the scalp to dry?

A: There are some hair products that can cause the scalp to dry. These include shampoos with sulfates, styling gels or sprays that contain alcohol. Other products include heat-styling products you put on your hair. It is important to check the ingredients of the hair products you use and avoid those that can leave your scalp dry.

Q: What should I do if I suspect an allergic reaction to a hair product?

A: If you suspect an allergic reaction to a hair product, stop using the product immediately. You can then do a patch test on your skin to determine if you have an allergy to the product. If the reaction is severe, it is advisable to see a doctor or dermatologist immediately.

Q: Why am I more likely to suffer from dandruff if I have an itchy scalp?

A: If you have an itchy scalp, you're more likely to suffer from dandruff because the flakes that form on the scalp can cause irritation and itching. 

Q: How can I get rid of lice from my scalp?

A: If you suspect that you have lice on your scalp, it is important to seek treatment immediately. There are over-the-counter remedies available to help get rid of the lice. These include shampoos or lotions that contain pyrethrin or permethrin. You may need to repeat the treatment after a few days to ensure that all the lice and eggs have been eliminated.