Can playing sports cause an itchy scalp?


Does your scalp feel itchy after working out? Find out what causes scalp itch and some effective ways to deal with it.


1. What happens when you work out?
2. What causes the itch?
3. How to deal with an itchy scalp caused by sweat?

Sweating it out during an intense workout session keeps you healthy and fit. While the post-workout glow is rewarding, it’s not good for your gorgeous locks because a sweaty scalp marks the beginning of your hair woes. Sweaty gym hair looks limp and unclean but it’s the scalp we’re concerned about because it becomes incredibly itchy, and when you give in to the urge to scratch your scalp, it becomes more irritable. But why does this happen? Does sweat cause an itchy scalp? Let’s find out.

What happens when you work out?

When you work out, you sweat, which is a good thing. But not for your scalp and hair. While sweating is a necessary function that keeps our body in a state of balance (homeostasis), sweaty hair traps bacteria in the scalp, and gives rise to a slew of hair care issues. Also, washing your hair every time you work out to keep your scalp clean can strip your hair of its natural oils and leave the scalp dry and vulnerable to dandruff.

What causes the itch?

Wondering “why does my head itch when I sweat?” To know why you have an itchy scalp from sweat, you should first understand the science behind this. Your scalp produces an oily substance called sebum, which plays a big role in keeping your hair and scalp healthy. This sebum is broken down into by-products by a microbe Malassezia globosa that lives on your scalp. Though the by-product (also known as oleic acid) is usually harmless, some people are allergic to it. This allergic reaction eventually causes dandruff. So, when you work out, you unintentionally create a warm environment for this dandruff-causing microbe to thrive, which means more dandruff or frequent flare-ups.

Playing sports that require wearing a helmet can also make you prone to the itchy scalp from sweat. When the temperature of your head under the helmet rises, it combines with the sweat and creates a moist, warm microclimate that’s suitable for the microbe’s growth. If you are already prone to dandruff, this can worsen the condition and things can get itchy soon. When you scratch your scalp due to the irritation, there are chances you might damage your skin and make the dandruff worse.

How to deal with an itchy scalp caused by sweat?

So, can sweat cause an itchy scalp? Yes, and now you know the reason. You need something strong yet gentle to deal with an itchy scalp after a workout and provide protection against dandruff.

• Try Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Care Shampoo that controls the itch. This invigorating shampoo is created using a HydraZinc formula that immediately soothes and protects against an itchy scalp. This eucalyptus anti-dandruff shampoo gives up to 100% dandruff protection* and keeps your scalp flake-free. Pair it with Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Care Conditioner that is gentle on your hair and pH-balanced, which makes it perfect for daily use. This shampoo and conditioner will wash away any salt, sweat, dirt, and oil that can build up on the scalp and trigger dandruff.

• Washing your hair every day to prevent an itchy scalp after workout is not a feasible idea since it causes scalp and hair damage. So, use dry shampoo on those days when you don’t wash your hair. It absorbs the dirt and oil on the scalp and keeps your tresses clean and refreshed. Also, create a washing schedule where your hair gets a deep cleanse with the regular shampoo and conditioner routine.

The skin on your scalp is one of the thickest on your body and carries more blood than the rest of your skin. Plus, it even carries the nutrients to the hair follicles to keep your scalp and hair healthy. If your workout sessions are irritating your scalp, shower your tresses with some TLC and devise a hair care schedule with the right anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner, and dry shampoo.

(*visible flakes, with regular use)