Dry Itchy Scalp

Why Your Workouts Might be
Giving you a Dry Itchy Scalp

January 2022 | 5 Minute Read 

Clean beauty industry maven Mary Futher founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. Mary now shares her weekly content series, delivering a quick fix, home remedy, or clean beauty product suggestion for a variety of human discomforts that some may find too embarrassing to discuss.

Sweating from exercise is indeed healthy for both body and mind; however, it is not so healthy for the scalp and here is why.

What Happens When You Sweat

Sweat is made from 99% water and 1% salt and fat. Your body starts to sweat to cool itself down to maintain the optimal temperature of 98.6 degrees. When exercising, your blood flow increases in order to deliver oxygen to the muscles that are working, triggering your sweat glands to activate to cool you down. The apocrine sweat glands found at your scalp produce a fattier sweat that can clog your pores and lead to the oily feeling you often feel after a workout.

What Does Sweat do to Your Hair

The salts from the sweat after a workout remain on your scalp and can dry out the shaft of your hair, creating a dry, itchy feeling. The moisture accumulated on your scalp feeds bacteria which can be the smelly kind you have in the underarm region. Not everyone has the time to shower or wash their hair after a workout, making dry shampoo an excellent choice to eliminate the odor. As a developer of dry shampoo, here is how to use it to not get a dry itchy scalp.

Use Dry Shampoo to Prevent Dry, Itchy Scalp

The key is to absorb the sweat before the salt and water content gets to your scalp, and prevent the creation of an odor in the scalp. This is why I developed a dry shampoo that I call the takesumi detox overnight dry shampoo. This dry shampoo is to be used before you work out, so it is sitting in your hair, ready to absorb as soon as your scalp begins to sweat. Gently spray the dry natural starches (rice starch) into the scalp and massage lightly so as not to notice you have it in your hair. The key is to put it there before you work out, not after, so that you can let it catch the sweat before it does its damage. I would suggest washing your hair the next day as I would not let the dry shampoo build-up. 

Tips to Protect your Scalp from Sweat

Use a Headband When Working Out

When you workout, place a thick cotton headband, the tennis headband type, right where your hairline meets your forehead. This means that when you start sweating, the headband will catch a lot of the sweat, particularly along the forehead, as this is where you notice sweat collecting. If you can catch sweat from the forehead, you can also protect your skin from blemishes that result from the bacteria sweat can cause, not to mention the sweating smell in the hair.

Forehead Sweat

Use a Headband When Working Out

Forehead Sweat

When you workout, place a thick cotton headband, the tennis headband type, right where your hairline meets your forehead. This means that when you start sweating, the headband will catch a lot of the sweat, particularly along the forehead, as this is where you notice sweat collecting. If you can catch sweat from the forehead, you can also protect your skin from blemishes that result from the bacteria sweat can cause, not to mention the sweating smell in the hair.

Washing Hair in the Shower

Rinsing Your Hair can Substitute Daily Shampooing

As I mentioned earlier, washing and shampooing your hair is not always practical, and washing and shampooing every day for everyone is also not recommended by most stylists particularly in the dry winter months, as it tends to cause additional dry itchy scalp. 

So, when you’re ready to shower, sweat can be removed with just water; use your fingers to gently massage your scalp in a circular motion to help rinse the fat and salt from the scalp. Sometimes I find that just wetting my hair can leave it a little dry; for that, I recommend applying a bit of conditioner, which will give your hair a fresh washed smell. 

Rinsing Your Hair can Substitute Daily Shampooing

Washing Hair in the Shower

As I mentioned earlier, washing and shampooing your hair is not always practical, and washing and shampooing every day for everyone is also not recommended by most stylists particularly in the dry winter months, as it tends to cause additional dry itchy scalp. 

So, when you are ready to shower, sweat can be removed with just water; use your fingers to gently massage your scalp in a circular motion to help rinse the fat and salt from the scalp. Sometimes I find that just wetting my hair can leave it a little dry; for that, I recommend applying a bit of conditioner, which will give your hair a fresh washed smell. 

Disinfecting Your Scalp From Bacteria

Apple Cider Vinegar for dry itchy skin

Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial benefits and is an ingredient that is easy to buy. I like to put the recipe below in a spray bottle and use it at least once per week on my scalp to keep it healthy. I know that apple cider vinegar does not smell nice on its own, but not to worry, with the recipe below, it dilutes the smell, and you will not smell it after you rinse it out. 

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse Recipe:
Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with five tablespoons of water and apply to your scalp. Work it in with the tips of your fingers and let it rest for a few minutes, then wash it off. Follow with a conditioner to close the scalp cuticle. 

Disinfecting Your Scalp from Bacteria

Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial benefits and is an ingredient that is easy to buy. I like to put the recipe below in a spray bottle and use it at least once per week on my scalp to keep it healthy. I know that apple cider vinegar does not smell nice on its own, but not to worry, with the recipe below, it dilutes the smell, and you will not smell it after you rinse it out.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse Recipe:
Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with five tablespoons of water and apply to your scalp. Work it in with the tips of your fingers and let it rest for a few minutes, then wash it off. Follow with a conditioner to close the scalp cuticle.

Apple Cider Vinegar for dry itchy skin

These unknown information about using dry shampoo and tips to prevent dry itchy scalp will help get you through a dry winter without itching. 

Each week on my blog The Little Book of Human Discomforts I share clever solutions for seemingly embarrassing skin, body, and hair issues. Consider subscribing below to be the first to know when new content is live! I also share lots of body and skincare tips on Instagram @kaianaturals and on my TikTok page @madamesweat.

The information provided in this blog is taken from Women’s Health, Michigan State University, MedlinePlus, Mayo Clinic.

All content found on this website is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. 

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