22 Apr

I often get questions about specific hair topics by email, and I was inspired to write this blog by someone who contacted me about her hyper-sensitive scalp. One of the things I really appreciated was that she was honest about the fact that her hyper-sensitive scalp may have been caused by relaxing, but that she still had a desire to relax her hair.

This is a dilemma that many of us face today, and as a hair specialist I know it's not as easy as telling someone not to do something. We need to understand the challenges we may face with any decisions we have to make about our hair.

A hyper-sensitive scalp is more than just having sensitive skin; someone who has a hyper-sensitive scalp will literally not get on with anything they put on it. In fact the only thing their scalp will really get on with is water. It's normally caused by continual exposure to products which contain ingredients that can upset the scalp. In Afro hair this will normally be hair relaxers, but I've also treated clients who have developed sensitivity because of excessive rubbing and massaging.

The question is: can a hyper-sensitive scalp be treated? And can you relax your hair if you have one?

I'm a very 'the glass is half full' person and I believe that, even if a scalp sensitivity can't be cured completely, there are steps you can take which will do a lot to improve the condition of your scalp and relieve some of the symptoms you're having.

Because a hyper-sensitive scalp will normally involve inflammation, the best place to start is by reducing the inflammatory response. To do this you can apply an ice pack or even use frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel, but, as always, please check with your doctor or hair specialist to get a diagnosis and advice first.

Even with the best scalp basting in the world a relaxer may still irritate your scalp, so I don't recommend relaxing if you have a hyper-sensitive scalp. An alternative could be to press your hair and wrap it at night, but try not to use hair straighteners more than once every two weeks. The focus when it comes to any scalp condition is to bring the scalp back into a healthy position.

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