Dry Scalp After Stopping Birth Control: Why It Happens & How to Fix It!

According to the Center for Disease Control, over 62% of adult women in the United States use contraception. Birth control pills, or oral contraceptives, are among the most common forms. Regardless of the controversies that can often surround contraceptives like this, many people use birth control for much more than just avoiding pregnancy.

There are multiple reasons to take birth control, but you probably won’t always be on it. Most people understand that with any medication, there are risks and side effects involved. However, we don’t often think about the side effects that might occur once we stop taking medication.

When it comes to oral contraceptives, stopping regular use can sometimes create issues for some women. One of those unfortunate side effects is a dry, itchy scalp. You may not even associate the two at first, but if you’re experiencing a dry scalp right after you’ve stopped taking birth control, it’s likely they are linked.

Itchy skin after stopping birth control isn’t uncommon. Understanding why it happens is important, so you can use the right methods to fight back against it and find relief. Once you understand some of the other common side effects of birth control pill withdrawal, it might be easier to make the distinction as to why a dry scalp is occurring.

Why Do I Have an Itchy Scalp After Stopping Birth Control?

We will focus on some of the common symptoms of withdrawal. That includes, of course, an itchy scalp. Not all women will experience withdrawal symptoms the same. However, being able to associate these symptoms with coming off the pill can make it easier to treat them.

We’ll also cover how birth control works, in general. While it is associated mostly with pregnancy prevention, there are many different uses and benefits that people regularly use it for. Knowing how and why it works so well in different situations can also explain why it causes potential side effects when you stop using it.

What Does Birth Control Do to the Body?

Most people know that birth control affects the hormones naturally produced by the body. Hormones can be blamed for everything from acne on your face to the amount of hunger you face each day. There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding hormones (teenage growth spurts, pregnant women’s mood swings, etc.), but they do account for more than you might think.

Birth control pills can be considered ‘hormone regulators’ in many ways, and not just to prevent pregnancy. They work to inhibit certain cyclical hormones the body naturally produces. While this does help to lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant, it also can be effective for a variety of different conditions.

Let’s take a look at some common conditions people use birth control pills for that have nothing to do with preventing pregnancy.

Common Uses for Oral Contraceptives

The hormone regulation properties of birth control pills are used in a variety of different ways. Often, they will help people dealing with pain or other hormonal issues that can affect their everyday lives in negative ways.

Some of the most popular uses for oral contraceptives include:

  • Endometriosis: This can be an extremely painful condition that causes tissue swelling, inflammation, and even scarring. Some women compare it to extreme menstrual symptoms, and the pain is often unbearable. Birth control pills can help to ease these symptoms and reduce the amount of uterine tissue produced. The less tissue that can be produced and build up, the less pain a woman will experience.
  • Conserves blood: Oral contraceptives help to thin the lining of the uterus, meaning less bleeding each month. For many women, this can mean more energy and a better overall mood.
  • Fewer breakouts: Birth control helps your body to prohibit testosterone from getting into your bloodstream. This can help to reduce acne and the number of hairs you see ‘pop-up’ everywhere. If you’re on birth control regularly, you’re likely to experience fewer pimples, and not have to shave as often.
  • Reduced cancer risk: Women who consistently take the pill for at least 15 years have a 50% lower risk of developing Ovarian cancer.
  • Fight the flu: Research has discovered that the estrogen found in birth control pills can help to reduce the impact of the flu virus. The same research found that it didn’t have the same effect on male recipients, but for women, it could be an easy way to fight the flu.

These are just a few of the reasons women take birth control other than preventing pregnancy. With so many people on the pill for so many different reasons, it’s necessary to know as much about what it does as possible.

Do Birth Control Pills Cause Dry Skin?

Again, as with most medications, there are symptoms to consider and potential side effects of taking birth control. When it comes to your hair, scalp, and skin, there are certain things you might experience while on the pill.

The effect birth control pills can have on your scalp can either be positive or negative. Unfortunately, this varies from person to person, so there is no way to tell ahead of time the effect an oral contraceptive may have on you.

One of the biggest positives oral contraceptives can have on your hair and scalp is helping to prevent or limit certain types of hair loss. Hair thinning due to high follicle sensitivity can typically be reversed with birth control pills.

Unfortunately, there are some negatives to consider as well. Certain types of contraceptive pills can promote hair loss in women. This is again due to certain sensitivities of your hair follicles. Birth control pills can also slow down or prevent your body’s natural production of sebum. Your scalp naturally makes sebum, which gives your hair its shine and keeps your skin and hair healthy.

While sebum buildup isn’t a good thing, it also isn’t good to prevent sebum production altogether. If you already have naturally dry skin, slowing down sebum production can contribute to a dry, itchy scalp.

For most women, you won’t know how birth control pills affect your skin and hair until you start to take them regularly. Some people will experience positive effects, while others may experience some drawbacks.

What Are the Symptoms of Birth Control Pill Withdrawal?

Just as symptoms can occur when you’re taking an oral contraceptive, they can also run rampant if you get off of the pill. You should always make sure to work with your doctor if you want to get off birth control. Some pills may require a gradual weaning off, or side effects could become worse. It’s never a good idea to just ‘quit’ this type of medication without medical approval first.

If you’ve been on birth control regularly, stopping can cause several issues. Again, these side effects don’t necessarily happen to everyone. But, some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Possible skin breakouts: Combination birth control pills are the most common. They use both estrogen and progestin. When you’re on the pill, these hormones can help to prevent acne and breakouts by lowering the hormone that produces excess oil. As your hormone levels fluctuate once you get off the pill, you might start to experience frequent breakouts. It’s likely that your skin habits will return to what they were before you started taking contraceptives.
  • Hair loss: Some women experience hair thinning once they go off birth control pills. This is due to a temporary condition called telogen effluvium. The good news? This condition usually clears up on its own in about six months. In the meantime, you may notice some extra shedding.
  • Hair growth: Some women experience more hair growth, but not necessarily on their heads. Once you stop taking birth control, your body could produce too much of a hormone called androgen. This can cause hairs to pop up on your face, your chest, or even your back.
  • Heavier menstrual cycles: One of the biggest reasons women go on birth control is to regulate their periods. Once you’re off, your menstrual cycle could be somewhat irregular, and heavier for a while until your body adjusts.
  • Headaches: Going off birth control could cause you to have stronger headaches, or they could become more frequent. This usually happens in women who experience headaches before their periods each month.
  • Libido: This can go one of two ways once you stop taking birth control pills. Some women may experience an increase in their sex drive, while others may feel less motivated and sluggish when it comes to their libido.

If you had certain conditions before getting on birth control, they will likely still be there when you get off it. Your body will need to adjust its hormone levels back to normal, but it won’t necessarily ‘fix’ what issues you may have had to begin with. Oral contraceptives keep these conditions in check, but they don’t cure them.

There are alternatives to consider for almost any of the conditions listed here. If you’re adamant about getting off birth control, seek out other options to help manage and monitor the conditions that could be causing you problems.

How the body reacts to stopping birth control

Will I Experience a Dry Scalp After Quitting the Pill?

Another common side effect of coming off the pill is a dry scalp. As stated above, birth control pills can have a strong effect on your skin. The pills themselves can stop the production of sebum, which can lead to dry skin and an itchy scalp. So, you might think to go off the pill would fix that problem. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

When you do stop taking birth control, your body needs time for your hormones to re-adjust. If you’ve been on the pill for a long time, your body may have essentially ‘turned off’ certain hormone production. This can cause your scalp to become itchy, and may lead to hair loss and thinning.

Another thing to consider is what your skin was like before you got on the pill. If you had oily, greasy skin, that is likely to return. Most people associate an itchy scalp with dryness, but that isn’t always the case. If your scalp hasn’t been producing a lot of sebum while on the pill and suddenly starts to again, it could cause a buildup of sebum.

Not only can this type of buildup cause issues like dandruff and flaking, but it can make your scalp extremely itchy. If you spend too much time scratching at your scalp, it could lead to hair loss or even cuts on the skin, which could increase your risk for infection.

Is Post-Pill Hair Loss Common?

You may wonder why so many of these unsightly symptoms start to show up after you’ve gotten off the pill. Hair loss is a perfect example. Yes, many people experience hair loss once they stop taking birth control. There are two major reasons for this:

  1. Your body has to get used to firing up its own natural hormones once again. Think of a birth control regimen as an ‘off’ switch for your body’s natural hormonal production. Because natural hormones have been depleted, it can take awhile for things to get moving again. It can take even longer to find the right balance or hormones within your body for them to work properly. For some people, this can be harder than others. In some cases, your body may even start to naturally produce more testosterone, which is often associated with hair loss.
  2. While you’re on birth control, your body absorbs nutrients differently and doesn’t always store them properly. It has to relearn how to use these nutrients and to make hormones on its own. The biggest hormone regulator in the body is the thyroid. Hair loss is a common sign that something is wrong with the thyroid because it isn’t regulating your hormones the way it should.

Other symptoms that the thyroid may not be working correctly after stopping birth control include:

  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Cold hands

If you think your hair loss after quitting the pill could be a thyroid issue, it may require medication to get things back on track. You can also try some ‘home remedies’ for firing up your thyroid again, such as:

  • Exercising
  • Eating smaller meals more frequently
  • Increasing levels of iodine

How to Come Off the Pill Safely

As you can see, there are several symptoms of birth control pill withdrawal to keep in mind as you transition away from it. Most of the symptoms and side effects will be a result of your body returning to a ‘normal’ state, and conditions you experienced before.

So, how can you make the process easier on yourself and your body? There may not be a way to completely prevent the risk of all the symptoms listed in this article. However, there are some steps you can take to make the transition a bit easier on your overall health.

Use these tips to feel better about your natural hormones, and limit the risk of harmful side effects:

  1. Track your periods. For many women, their normal cycles will return quickly and regularly. If yours do not, it could be a simple fix such as dietary changes. Or, it could be an underlying medical issue. If your period hasn’t become ‘regular’ again after several months, see a doctor for an official diagnosis and extra guidance.
  2. Start taking Vitamin B before you get off the pill. If you are already off and haven’t been taking this supplement, it’s time to start! It will help to balance out your hormones and can help you deal with mood swings.
  3. Make sure your diet is rich in healthy fats and amino acids. Hormones need these essential nutrients to become stable. Things like lean meats, fish, avocado, and eggs are great additions to your diet for hormone stabilization.

These simple tips will make transitioning off birth control just a little easier and less hard on your body. If you continue to experience some of the negative side effects and symptoms listed earlier, you may need to supplement hormonal development a different way.

Skin on my scalp is itchy after stopping birth control pills

How to Naturally Get Rid of Dry Scalp

If you do experience an itchy scalp after you’ve stopped taking birth control, you probably don’t want to get on a different type of medication to fix it. Thankfully, there are effective natural ways to cure an itchy scalp.

First, you can try a natural itchy scalp shampoo like Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Scalp Treatment. This product focuses on the natural healing power of tea tree oil to cure dry scalp and prevent itching.

Whether you’re experiencing dry skin or a buildup of sebum, it’s important to choose natural hair care products after getting off the pill. Hair products with chemicals can cause irritation and product buildup. Both of these factors can contribute to itching and potential hair loss.

Other natural ways to stop an itchy scalp fast include:

  • Essential oils help with itchiness. This includes Argan oil, tea tree oil, coconut oil, almond oil, and jojoba oil.
  • Apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse to balance out the pH levels of your scalp. It can also help with levels of vitamins A, B, and E. These are necessary nutrients for healthy skin.
  • Fresh apple juice helps to remove built up flakes and dead skin from the scalp. Like apple cider vinegar, it will also help to restore your scalp’s pH level to a healthier state. Try to use organic apple juice or extracted juice from fresh apples as a rinse. Leave it in your hair for ten minutes before rinsing away.
  • Aloe vera can either be used in a natural juice form or natural hair products. Aloe will help to eliminate any irritation and inflammation caused by dry scalp. It also nourishes your skin and provides amino acids and essential vitamins to your scalp and hair.

There are dozens of home remedies and over-the-counter products specifically designed to fix a dry, itchy scalp. The more natural solutions you can choose to get your scalp healthy again, the better. Remember, your body may have a hard time adjusting its hormone levels on its own for awhile. Choosing one of these effective solutions is a great way to get your scalp back to a healthy state.

Will I Get an Itchy Scalp After I Quit Birth Control?

The symptoms and side effects of being on birth control are different for everyone. The symptoms and side effects of going off the pill are just as different and varied. Some people may experience side effects that cause a lot of irritation and inconvenience. Others may be able to transition away from the pill with very few problems.

A lot of the issues that come from getting off the pill have to do with conditions you may have had before you started it. If you started birth control to manage an underlying health issue, don’t be surprised if that issue returns once you stop.

Of course, additional side effects like an itchy scalp are not uncommon even if you didn’t have any issues before starting the pill. It takes time for your body to readjust its natural hormonal levels. That can cause strange symptoms for anyone. The good news is that things should balance out over time if you didn’t have any pre-existing conditions. If they don’t, you may need to consider certain lifestyle changes to manage your hormone levels.

Millions of people all over the world take oral contraceptives for different reasons. However, many people choose to stop taking them for a variety of different reasons, too. There are risk factors for both. Understanding these factors and how they might affect you can make your decision on whether or not birth control is right for you an easier one.