Do dreads make your head itchy? - Dreadlocks FAQ's
The dreads themselves don't make your head itch but there are several reasons that people with new dreads experience itchiness. Healthy, happy, mature dreads do not itch. If your dreads itch it is probably due to washing them with the wrong soap, not washing enough or washing too much.
Most often the problem is a lack of stimulation. When you don't have dreads you tend to wash and brush your hair every day. Washing and brushing help your scalp get rid if old skin cells that it has replaced. When people get dreads they reduce their washing frequency and they stop brushing all together. The dead skin cells begin to build up and itch.
The trick to preventing this is to maintain stimulation and help the scalp exfoliate those dead skin cells. Regular and consistent washing is a big part of this. It's a good practice to gently massage the scalp during your shower to help the skin exfoliate. If you decide on a washing schedule and stick to it your scalp will adjust quickly and stay happy. For example, every two days works well for mature dreads. Waiting too long between washings will upset the scalp more than washing too soon.
The stimulation lost by not brushing should also be replaced. You can use a hair pick to do this. Simply glide the tips of the comb across your scalp to stimulate it and help it exfoliate. Try to get in the habit of doing this each morning. The stimulation will also bring blood to the surface of the scalp which is beneficial to the hair follicles and promotes thick, healthy hair and increased hair growth. Not only is this great for your scalp but it also feels amazing since the scalp under your dreads is never touched and really misses being touched! Finding a pick with the right size pins, the right spacing, and smooth rounded tips is pretty tough.(many of the have sharp corners right at the tips for some reason) We have one available on our site that is perfect. It also folds up so it fits in a pocket or a bag- it's called the Head Honcho.
Most people are used to their hair getting oily if it needs to be washed. When you have dreads it’s the scalp and roots that require regular washing. This removes the oil and any skin cells that have been shed. Normally combing would carry oil to the hair and remove these dead cells but dreads are not combed so it’s up to the washing. If you don’t wash regularly they will build up and make your head itch. It's easy to loose track of when you need to wash since you don't have oily hair as a cue to remind you. This has lead some to believe that "dreads make your head itch". Not true. It's neglecting to wash your dreads and lack of scalp stimulation that makes them itch.
Over-washing is way more rare than under-washing but occasionally it will be the cause of the scalp to drying out and getting itchy. People who tend to have very dry scalps to begin are most likely to have a problem with over washing. Since it's possible to have itching from an overly dry scalp and an under-stimulated scalp you usually can't just wash less to solve this problem. The trick is to leave more of the scalps natural oils behind while continuing to wash away the dead skin cells. This can be done by diluting the dread soap. Mix two parts dread soap to one part water. It will still have sufficient power to clean but it will leave more oil behind.
Another factor that can cause itching is using the wrong soap/shampoo. Soap that leaves residue on the scalp not only slows down the dreading process but it can cause itching and irritation of the scalp. When hair is dreaded or in braids it is harder to rinse well and it holds residues much better because of the way it is tightly packed together. Using our dread soap eliminates these problems because it leaves no residue behind when it's rinsed away. Our soap uses only doctor recommended surfactants which rinse completely from the hair and skin. This soap technology was originally designed for people with ultra sensitive skin or chemical sensitivities. The same residues that irritate sensitive skin also lubricate hair and prevent it from dreading. Because our soap is free of these residues it helps your hair dread faster and tighter and it leaves nothing behind to build up and irritate your scalp.
Always be sure to rinse dreads well after washing. Because the hair is packed together it does have a natural tendency to hold soap inside. Squeeze the dreads and flush them with clean water. Any soap can cause itching if you leave it in your dreads, even residue free soap.