Causes And Treatment Of Itchy Scalp During Pregnancy

by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Many women experience itching on their hands, feet, belly, and thighs during pregnancy. It happens due to stretching of the skin or a liver condition known as cholestasis. But, what if you have an itchy scalp? What triggers it? And, most importantly, how can you treat it? Mommas-to-be, don’t worry. We have all the answers in this post. Read on to find out all about the causes and treatment of itchy scalp during pregnancy. Swipe up!

What Causes Itchy Scalp During Pregnancy?

  • Hormones: Hormonal ups and downs during pregnancy commonly cause nausea, vomiting, and mood swings. An itchy scalp could also be another symptom of these fluctuations.
  • Dehydration: Not consuming food or not drinking enough water causes dehydration and an itchy scalp.
  • Dandruff: Dandruff caused due to dry weather or inflammation (seborrhoeic dermatitis) can also be a reason why your scalp is itchy. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a type of chronic dandruff that can spread to your head, back of the neck, legs, arms, and pubic area.
  • Stress: Pregnancy can trigger stress in many women. The hormonal response to stress causes inflammation in the body which, in turn, can have an impact on the scalp.
  • Not Washing Your Hair: A common reason for having an itchy scalp is not washing your hair enough. Dirt, sebum, pollution, sweat, etc., get accumulated on your scalp, which can cause scalp itching.

These could be a few reasons why you have an itchy scalp during pregnancy. So, how do you fix it? Let’s find out in the following section.

How To Treat Itchy Scalp During Pregnancy

  • Drink Adequate Water: To prevent dehydration and flush out the toxins from your body, you must drink adequate amounts of water every day. According to a paper published in the Journal of Perinatal Education, pregnant women must drink 8-10 glasses of water per day (1). Water also helps reduce stress and inflammation in the body, thereby reducing anxiety and depression (2).
  • Exercise Every Day: Stretching, yoga, and meditation are essential for your physical and mental well-being (3). Exercising every day is vital to reduce stress, improve blood circulation, and keep your hair and skin healthy, especially during pregnancy. Talk to a physical therapist who specializes in prenatal yoga and meditation. Practice at least 20 minutes of yoga stretches and 10 minutes of meditation every day to reduce the scalp itching caused by hormonal ups and downs and stress.
  • Use Anti-Dandruff Shampoo: If you have dandruff or seborrhoeic dermatitis, you must use an anti-dandruff shampoo to reduce scalp itching. Use a shampoo with selenium sulfide, pyrithione zinc (antifungal agent), ketoconazole, or salicylic acid to treat dandruff or seborrhoeic dermatitis effectively. Here are a few more shampoos you can use.

Note: Avoid shampoos with coal tar, parabens, and sulfates.

  • Use Coconut Oil And Lime Juice: Coconut oil and lime juice is a good home remedy for dandruff and dry scalp. Massage coconut oil into your scalp and hair. Then use a cotton ball to dab lime juice all over your scalp. Wait for 10 minutes before washing it off. You must use coconut oil to avoid irritating the scalp with lime juice. If your scalp starts to burn, wash it off immediately.
  • Use Essential Oils: Using essential oils has two benefits – it reduces dry scalp and helps you de-stress. You can choose any of these essential oils and dilute them with a carrier oil before applying them to your head. Massage your scalp gently to increase blood flow in the scalp. Take deep breaths and relax your shoulders and neck. Wait for 20 minutes before washing your hair.
  • Get A Spa Treatment: If pregnancy has made your hair and scalp dry and lackluster, getting a spa treatment can help you revive it. The steam in saunas helps open up the hair cuticles, allowing moisture to penetrate the hair strands. Applying a moisturizer to your hair then helps keep the hair strands hydrated and nourished. Get a spa treatment once or twice a month to reduce dryness on the scalp and rejuvenate your hair.
  • Sleep Well: Stress, anxiety, and depression are common during pregnancy and after childbirth. While exercising can help reduce stress and release serotonin (a feel-good hormone), your body and mind also need rest. Nothing is better than getting a solid 7-8 hours of sleep every night. This will help reduce stress and inflammation and reboot your immune system.
  • Take Your Supplements: Vitamin and mineral deficiencies during and after pregnancy is a common issue. Taking the right supplements after talking to your doctor can also help reduce scalp itching and hair loss.

These are the ways you can reduce scalp itching during pregnancy. For your convenience, we have listed the best products you can use on your scalp and hair in the next section. Take a look!

Products To Use To Reduce Scalp Itching

1. Shampoo

Use a paraben-free, sulfate-free, and coal tar-free shampoo to keep your scalp, hair, and the baby(or babies) safe. Here’s are a few recommended shampoos:

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DHS Zinc Shampoo
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BIGGREEN Pregnancy Shampoo
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Selsun Blue Shampoo
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Check the full list here.

2. Conditioner

Using a good pregnancy-safe conditioner will keep your scalp and hair hydrated, soft, and nourished. Here’s a list of recommended conditioners for you:

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Mamaearth Argan Conditioner
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Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioner
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The Mom’s Co. Natural Damage Repair Conditioner
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Check the full list here.

3. Hair Oil

Hair oils are loaded with fatty acids and nourishing properties that help lock moisture in your hair and reduce dryness on the scalp. Here are a few recommended hair oils for you:

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Organix Renewing Argan Oil Of Morocco Penetrating Oil
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Kama Ayurveda Bringadi Intensive Hair Treatment
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Blue Nectar Tea Tree Scalp & Anti Dandruff Hair Oil
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Check the full list here.

4. Essential Oils

Essential oils have stress-relieving and hair-nourishing properties. Aromatic lavender or lemon essential oil mixed with a carrier oil (coconut or almond oil) can be applied to your hair to relax and moisturize your scalp and hair. Here’s list of recommended essential oils for your hair:

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Lavender Oil
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Lemon Oil
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Neroli Oil
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5. Hair Masks

Applying a hair mask once a week is a great way to treat your dry and itchy scalp. And the best part is, you don’t need to rummage through your kitchen to find ingredients to make a good hair mask. Here’s a list of readymade hair masks that you can apply directly to your scalp and hair:

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Macadamia Natural Deep Repair Hair Masque
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Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Ultra-Nourishing Mask
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Maui Moisture Heal And Hydrate Hair Mask
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Check the full list here.

These are the products you can use during pregnancy to treat an itchy scalp. Check the labels to confirm that the ingredients are safe for pregnant women before buying.

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy is beautiful. But, it comes with its own set of problems. Itchy scalp is one of them. Thankfully, you can treat your itchy scalp if you know what’s causing it. If it is your hormones, talk to your doctor to find a solution to help balance them. Drink water, exercise, eat healthy, stay stress-free, sleep well, take supplements, and take care of your hair during pregnancy by implementing the solutions mentioned above. Your scalp itching will reduce in a few weeks’ time. Take care!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Why does my scalp feel sore during pregnancy?

Your scalp may feel sore due to hormonal changes, which is quite common in pregnant women. It could also be due to a pre-existing medical condition. We suggest you talk to your doctor and a dermatologist to get the best help.

Can I wash my hair during pregnancy?

Of course, you can wash your hair during pregnancy. However, use a shampoo and conditioner that are paraben-free, sulfate-free, and coal tar-free.

What causes dry scalp during pregnancy?

Hormonal fluctuations, dehydration, stress, not washing your hair, and dandruff can cause a dry scalp during pregnancy.

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. This prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.
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