If you have ever been in a situation where your braids are itching, you know how uncomfortable it can be. It is important to recognize that this is a symptom of an issue. You may be surprised to learn that this is actually quite common. However, it is more than just an annoyance. As hard as it is to believe, if ignored, this can lead to some very serious problems.
If you are experiencing itching of the scalp with your braids, it is definitely time to take action. With that said, there can be a number of reasons why this may be happening to you. It is extremely important to find out what has brought on this irritation of the skin before an infection can be treated.
Here are 10 common reasons why your braids are itching:
1. Dry scalp
Dry skin can cause your braids to itch. Dry skin is caused by not moisturizing the scalp enough during the braiding process. To prevent dry scalp, make sure you use a moisturizer at least one day before getting your hair braided.
2. Build up from oily products
Many people make the mistake of putting too much oil on their scalp before they have their braids installed, which can cause an itchy sensation when the braids are tightened. When you braid your hair regularly, try using less oil or oil-free styling products on your scalp before getting your hair done so that the braids tighten smoothly against your scalp.
3. Tightness of the Braids
The braids may feel tight to you because they are too small for your hair or because they are pulled too tightly around your head. You can avoid this by ensuring that your braider uses proper sized tracks and slides them up along the back of your neck as she styles so that the weight of the braid is distributed properly over a larger area. Also, make sure she doesn’t pull them too tightly, even if you have to tell her yourself!
Stress can be the cause of itchy braids. Being stressed out about something or worrying about money or relationships can lead to an outbreak of dry skin on your scalp, which causes itchy braids.
5. Not Using Protection During Heat Styling
If you are using heat tools on your hair while wearing braided extensions, be sure to use a heat protectant first so that the chemicals in your regular shampoo and conditioner do not irritate your scalp. You should also make sure that you don’t braid too tightly around the edges of your head where the heated appliances frequently travel (such as flat irons).
6. Excessive Sweating
If you find yourself sweating excessively for no reason, you may have hyperhidrosis, which is when your body produces more sweat than necessary. If the braids feel tight on your head and cause itching, this can be a sign that you are sweating beneath them. In cases like these, it’s best to get a good antiperspirant for your scalp a few days before getting braids installed. You should also avoid eating spicy foods or drinking caffeine products beforehand because they tend to make people sweat even more.
7. Hair Extensions
Not all people who get braids experience excessive itching from their braids; however, some do but only if they wear extensions with their braided hairstyles. This occurs because the added weight from the heavy extensions pulls at the roots of your real hair when you take your braids out.
Most people don’t even realize they are wearing extensions because the braider has hidden them in the braid, meaning that when you take them out, your hair feels longer than it is because of all the hair underneath it.
More: SOFT LOCS GUIDE
8. Hair Type
If you have very dry or curly hair, braiding can sometimes be more uncomfortable for you than for someone with thick straight hair because there isn’t enough volume to keep the braids in place.
This causes them to itch if they are pulled too tightly around your head. It’s best to let a professional know about this before getting your braids done so that she can help get rid of the itchiness during installation time!
9. Body Acne
Body acne can also contribute to excessive itching from braids. If you have body acne, there’s a good chance that the chemicals in your skincare products are irritating your scalp and causing itchiness. You should try going a few days without any skincare product on your face or body, then get your braids installed as usual.
10. Inhaled Dust Particles
In some cases, itchy braids may be caused by inhaled dust particles from pollution or pollen, which ultimately irritate the top layer of the scalp and cause an itchy sensation beneath the surface. In cases like these, wearing a scarf over your hair before installation helps protect the scalp from outside contamination. 11. Not washing your hair enough
How to Stop Your Braids From Itching
Even if your braided hairstyle is causing you to itch or feel uncomfortable, don’t take them out prematurely. We understand how frustrating itchy braids are because we, too, have the experience of having to deal with itchy braids.
Still, if you can make it through the first week or two, your scalp will adjust to your protective hairstyle, and the itchiness will stop. Let’s be honest, who wants itchy braids for a month or more? If you can wait it out and let your scalp adjust to your braided hairstyles, the itching will stop on its own after the first couple of weeks.
1. Haircare Products
The first thing you should do to stop the itching is to wash your hair with clarifying shampoo and conditioner. Sometimes shampoos can cause itchiness because they contain harsh chemicals that irritate the scalp. If this doesn’t solve the itchiness, try changing your shampoo and conditioner by getting less oily variants of both.
You should also try adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo. They have natural medicinal properties that can help with scalp itchiness.
2. Hand washing
Another way you can prevent itchiness is by washing your braids with your hands instead of using a detangling brush (like Denman or Knot Genie ) because these products create unnecessary friction that irritates the scalp and causes itching. They are designed for straight or wavy hair, not kinky textured hair like ours!
Your scalp contains a lot of sensitive nerve endings, so any kind of friction will irritate them and cause itchiness.
3. Give Your Hair Some Space!
One important thing to do to stop the itchiness is to give your braids some space without pulling too tightly around the edges. If you pull the braids too close together, it puts excess pressure on one area. It can cause itching or discomfort that could spread all over the scalp if not dealt with immediately.
Your braider should understand how important it is for you to feel comfortable at all times and make sure she doesn’t leave tight edges no matter what! If your braider doesn’t take this seriously, find someone who does! You wouldn’t like it if you paid someone money to do your hair and they don’t take the time to give you a comfortable hairstyle, would you?
Of course not! It’s always best to let your braider know how you feel about any problems during installation instead of waiting. That way, it gives her time to fix the problem before moving on to another customer.
Another thing that can make itchiness worse is tight edges because, once again, there’s too much friction going on around your edges. If your braids are hurting or itching at the back, try loosening them by undoing a couple of braids from the top and bottom and shaking loose some of the loose hairs. This will help stop the itching immediately and prevent it from reoccurring.
4. Wash Your Hair Less
Many women tend to wash their hair more than needed because they feel like it’ll be dirty if they don’t. If you notice that the itching only occurs when you wash your braids, then stop washing them for an extra day or two until the itching stops.
This rule mainly applies to protective styles like marley twists, jumbo box braids, and kinky twists because using shampoo on these types of braids causes the scalp to become overly dry, which causes discomfort, itchiness, and sometimes flaking.
Try co-washing instead (conditioner washing) or just water to eliminate this problem. You can also use products made for oily scalps but avoid overusing them because too much oil will cause the braids to become matted and tangled. It’s best to stay away from hair sprays as well because they contain alcohol that can irritate your scalp if applied too often.
5. Apply a Dry Shampoo Periodically
Sometimes just allowing the braids to sit for a while without refreshing them with water or styling products is enough to stop the itching, especially around the edges. This comes in handy after special events where your braids may feel too stiff and uncomfortable against your skin after wearing tight hairstyles like buns for an extended period of time.
If this applies to you, try using a dry shampoo all over either before or after taking down loose hairs around the edges so you can avoid painful pulling next time; take out your braids.
6. Use a Satin Scarf or Bonnet to Cover Your Hair at Night
Cotton pillowcases may carry excess lint that can get caught in the ends of your braids, which will cause damage if not removed when detangling your hair in the morning. Wearing a satin bonnet/scarf is better even though they are more expensive than cotton.
They won’t snag on your edges and cause breakage or dryness because, in general, they’re made of thicker material that’s less likely to catch onto loose hairs.
7. Don’t Try Too Hard to Find Relief!
Itchiness is sometimes inevitable, but one thing you should definitely know about is scratching itches without knowing where it is specifically located on your head. Scratching can cause hair loss if you scratch hard enough, which brings us to the main point of this article, why is my scalp itchy? What’s causing me to be uncomfortable all day long, scratching my scalp every couple of minutes?
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’ll give you a hint: You’re using too much force! You don’t have to do that because your braids are 100% real human hair. This means they require a little more attention than synthetic hair but once again, you don’t need to go overboard with them either.
8. Make Sure Your Braids Are Installed Properly
Another reason for itchy scalps while wearing a protective style is bad installation, including uneven parts and dryness due to poor cleanup. So make sure you check your scalp thoroughly after your stylist has finished installing the braids. If you notice anything out of place, don’t be afraid to speak up because good installers will always want their customers happy, even if that means doing a little extra work.
9. Reduce Stress on Your Scalp
Stress can cause your hair to fall out or at least become very dry, which is why you should try not to do anything that causes too much tension along your edges, especially if they’re new. It’s best to avoid buns, ponytails, and headbands for an extended period of time when wearing protective styles because these hairstyles require you to pull back on your edges more than usual, which will eventually damage them over time.
Also, be careful about using rubber bands without proper preparation because tight ones may snag onto loose hairs during removal, causing some damage.
10. Use Products That Are Made Specifically for Braids or Twist Styles
Many companies have started making all types of products specifically designed for braids and twists, which means they’re gentler on the hair. It’s hard to give a good list of products you should use because everyone has different needs, so it’s best for me to tell you about the ones I have been using personally.
A moisturizing spray can be used on dry or wet hair to detangle the braid and re-moisturize it at any time after installation, and I suggest using one that has a good hold but isn’t too sticky because 4b/4c natural hair is already very sticky enough as it is. A leave-in conditioner is also great for everyday use to maintain softness and reduce tangling, which will definitely happen if you don’t use one.
Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk is a staple in most naturals’ collections for its thick consistency and superb moisture retention properties. Still, it’s not quite strong enough for super dry hair so try their Curl Enhancing Smoothie also! Hair may feel limp if you’re used to heavy products, but you’ll get used to it quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
My scalp itches after taking down my braids…why is this happening?!
Your scalp has become used to being covered up, so it’s going to take a little while longer for it to get accustomed to being exposed again. Once again, buns, ponytails, and headbands should be avoided until the itching stops for this reason.
How often should I moisturize my braids?
After washing, deep conditioning is always recommended to ensure that your hair is hydrated enough. This will prevent dryness during the protective process. Still, it’s not absolutely necessary for daily use, only if you feel like your natural or relaxed hair needs it.
My braids are too tight…how do I fix this?
Braids do itch when they’re on, but the itching is normal, so you should try to ignore it as much as possible. Do not remove the braids at all costs! If the itching becomes unbearable, then take some Tylenol or Ibuprofen to help with that pain because there’s nothing else you can really do about the itchiness until your stylist loosens them for you. If removing your braids becomes an option, then make sure to moisturize your scalp properly after taking them down and use a relaxer if necessary based on how bad the damage is.
My scalp has bumps under my new braids like acne…is this normal?
Acne on the scalp is very common during this transition period because your scalp doesn’t have any new skin yet. Hence, it’s best to leave those bumps alone for a couple of weeks until they disappear. Use some tea tree oil or jojoba oil mixed with water as a spot treatment if you absolutely can’t stand seeing them anymore.
Please ignore any advice telling you to pick at these bumps, don’t touch them! They’re scarring easily and can cause serious problems if left unattended too long without proper care.
How do I stop itchy scalp braids?
A Leave-in conditioner and moisturizer can help with this issue. Still, if your scalp is only itchy when the braids are on then, I suggest taking some allergy medication or ibuprofen to help control the irritation. You should also avoid wearing tight ponytails and headbands because they will irritate your scalp even more during removal and adjustment.
There’s too much itching, and I can’t take it anymore…how do I remove my braids?!
If the itchiness is unbearable, then you can remove your braids but make sure to moisturize your scalp immediately afterward and wait for about a week before putting them back in again when the itching has stopped. Try not to pick at the itchy places on your scalp, or you could end up with scars, which are more permanent than itchiness.
My braids are too loose…what do I do about this?
It’s also best for your edges to avoid using rubber bands or ponytail holders because they can snag onto your hair when removing the braids. If you need them to stay in place, then make sure to use small clear elastics instead of black ones, and it may be a good idea to try different methods of holding back your edges the next time you style.
For example, twisting into a bun is much more secure than pulling straight back on the scalp, especially if you’re wearing extensions!
Well, that was a long article, but I hope it taught you how to take good care of your braids which will help them last much longer and reduce discomfort. Don’t be afraid to let your natural hair out after wearing protective styles for over a year because that’s really the only way to grow and retain length. Never forget: Healthy hair is long hair!