Why Do I Have Itchy Scalp after Working Out?

Do you experience an itchy scalp right after working out? If so, you’re not alone. Thousands of people suffer from this common problem, experiencing an itchy, irritated and even dry scalp when they exercise, and immediately after.

Most of this itchiness is natural. When we work out, our scalp sweats just like any other part of our body – in fact, even more so. It’s normal for there to be some itching and slight irritation when the scalp sweats.

However, in some cases, the scalp itchiness can be caused by a medical condition. If you experience an itchy scalp around-the-clock, which gets worse when you exercise, you should seek the opinion of a medical professional. You could have a fungal infection, psoriasis, eczema or any number of other conditions that affect the scalp.

So how do you know whether your itchy scalp is normal, or something to be worried about? What are the causes of an itchy scalp after a workout? How can you diagnose and treat this problem? Let’s take a look at the answers to all of these problems and more.

What Are the Possible Causes of Itchy Scalp After Working Out?

The most common cause of an itchy scalp after a workout is simple. When you carry out any form of exercise, your scalp will sweat. There are more glands in this area, so it may feel like you’re sweating more profusely. When you sweat, the pores in the skin open to let our oil, salt, fat, and water. The more you exercise, the more you sweat.

The presence of these substances on the scalp, combined with the minuscule movements of your hair and the bacteria that is always present on the scalp can cause an itching sensation. This is why many people have an itchy scalp after they go to the gym.

It’s important to note that the itchiness most commonly occurs after a session at the gym. This is because the water is evaporating from the scalp, leaving behind lots of salt, which can interact with bacteria and fungus which sits on the scalp. This is the cause of post-workout itchiness.

Another explanation for an itchy scalp is that your scalp is too dry, which can cause irritation. You might also be able to observe signs of a skin infection – perhaps the skin on your scalp is slightly red, inflamed and scaly. You might notice some dandruff (a flaky scalp). Here are some tips on getting rid of white scalp flakes.

A condition called urticaria (also known as hives) is another reason why your scalp may feel itchy. Hives can present as a stinging, burning sensation whenever they arise, and there is a multitude of triggers. It can be caused by exposure to certain chemicals, sunlight, infections, dust mites and even heat – if you’re getting particularly hot during your workout, you may see a flare-up of urticaria.

If you believe your itchy scalp problem is abnormal, you can see a dermatologist for a definitive answer. You can also try a number of natural solutions to treat an itchy scalp. There are many options available that can help you to address this problem and get back to working out without the dreaded itchiness.

Other Possible Causes of Itchiness

You should also consider that there may be another reason why you’re experiencing an itchy scalp. It may not be down to dry scalp or hives – it might be the fact that you’re not caring for your scalp correctly.

Some people experience an itchy scalp because they’ve had a mild allergic reaction to a certain shampoo or conditioner. Have you recently switched hair products? Has your favorite shampoo changed its formula? If so, there may be an added ingredient which is irritating your scalp.

It’s always best to use shampoos made from natural ingredients, with no artificial substances at all, such as Christina Moss Naturals Organic Shampoo. Sulfates and other artificial ingredients commonly found in hair products can dry out the scalp and lead to an increased itching sensation.

It’s also worth considering whether the frequency of your hair care is playing a part. If you wash your hair every day, it can dry out the scalp and strip it of the natural oils that keep hair soft and healthy. The body then works overtime to replace those oils, which can make your hair appear very greasy, and even cause itching as the excess oil reaches the scalp.

Conversely, if you don’t wash your hair enough, you can experience build-up on the scalp. Using lots of hair products like sprays, gels or serums can leave behind residue on the scalp, and when combined with sweat and natural oils, it can create a pretty irritating combination. If you visit the gym regularly, or if you use a lot of product during the day, make sure you’re washing your hair enough to keep the scalp clean and free from build-up.

The Side-Effects of an Itching Scalp

Yes, experiencing an itchy scalp can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. But it can also cause a number of additional side-effects if you do not address the issue. These can include:

  • Hair thinning and breakage if you scratch your scalp too much.
  • An overgrowth of yeast or fungus on the scalp.
  • Severe scratching can lead to bacteria penetrating the layers of skin on the scalp, causing infections.
  • Infections can lead to open sores or lesions on the scalp.

Correctly Diagnosing a Scalp Condition

So how can you know whether your itchy scalp is a normal side-effect of exercise, or something more serious? First of all, you’ll need to maintain impeccable hygiene, and switch to a natural shampoo and conditioner. By doing this, you’ll be able to eliminate your hair care routine as a possible cause for your itchy scalp.

Next, you’ll need to figure out whether you’re suffering from urticaria (hives) or simply the natural reaction of sweat and bacteria on the scalp. You can do this yourself the next time you’re in the gym. Perhaps consider enlisting the help of a friend who can see your scalp better.

The moment you start to experience an itchy scalp, wipe away the sweat as much as you possibly can. Use a soft, absorbent towel (microfiber towels work well for this purpose) and soak up as much of the sweat as you can.

You probably won’t get rid of the itchiness fully, but if you notice it subsides significantly after you’ve wiped away the sweat, it’s likely that your itchy scalp was normal. If you don’t experience any relief after wiping away the sweat, you could be suffering from urticaria.

Urticaria can occur as a result of many different factors, including eating trigger foods or being exposed to certain chemicals. It can cause blisters and splotches on the skin – check yourself over to see whether you have any red blotches or irritated areas. This is where a friend can help check your scalp too.

If you suspect that you may have urticaria, the best thing you can do is see a doctor. They will be able to diagnose you properly and offer a range of treatment options. You can also speed along your treatment and prevent an itchy scalp with natural treatments and solutions.

Treating an Itchy Scalp after a Workout

There are many different ways you can alleviate an itchy scalp after you’ve worked out. One of the best products you can choose is natural witch hazel.

Witch hazel is a natural astringent, which means it’s excellent at removing excess oils. If you have sores on your head, it can encourage them to close and heal, and it’s also known to have potent antibacterial properties. When buying witch hazel to use on your scalp, try to find an alcohol-free option, to ensure it’s kind to your scalp and roots.

Apple cider vinegar is a popular product for a multitude of remedies, and it’s great to help balance your scalp’s pH levels. This can create a hostile environment for fungal infections, which are a key cause of itchy scalp. Simply rinse your hair and scalp with clean water, then mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. It helps if you have a spray bottle to distribute the solution evenly over your scalp.

Once you’ve applied the solution, wrap your hair with a towel, shower cap or plastic bag and leave the mixture on for up to thirty minutes. Rinse off with a natural shampoo. Repeat once or twice a week for maximum results and a less itchy scalp.

Surprisingly, a 10-15 minute sauna can help with dry scalp.

Itchy Scalp after Working Out

Tea tree oil is antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, which means it’s perfect for use on an itchy, irritated scalp. Tea tree oil can be very strong, so many people choose to dilute it with another carrier oil – vegetable oil or olive oil will work well. You can even add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture; lavender is a good choice.

Massage your tea tree oil solution into the scalp and leave for up to two hours. Then rinse your hair with natural shampoo. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil into your regular shampoo to keep your scalp clean and healthy. Alternatively, you can use Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair and Scalp Treatment.

How to Get Rid of an Itchy Scalp Today

An itchy scalp can be deeply uncomfortable, and may even put some people off exercising. It’s important to treat your itchy scalp quickly and effectively so that it doesn’t have an effect on your workout routine. Use the natural treatments listed above, such as Christina Moss Naturals Organic Shampoo, to keep your scalp free of fungus and harmful bacteria, and be sure to see your doctor to get a proper diagnosis.