In this article, we explore why hair extensions can cause an irritated scalp, how you can fix it, and how to carry out the best hair care routine for healthy, shiny hair.
Written By Chia Kougianos
It’s common to have an irritated scalp after getting hair extensions. Your scalp is simply adjusting to the additional weight. Other causes of irritated scalp after hair extensions include improper fitting of the extensions, incorrect aftercare products, or a possible allergic reaction.
8 Reasons Your Hair Extensions Could Cause an Irritated Scalp
We reveal 8 common causes of an irritated scalp after fitting hair extensions:
1. Scalp Sensitivity
Scalp sensitivity is a common cause of an itchy scalp after having hair extensions fitted.
The effects should only last for a few days and be very mild.
Your scalp will eventually adjust to the additional weight of the extensions and will return to normal with the itchiness subsiding on its own and hair growing normally.
If you have a sensitive scalp, the time process may differ slightly.
2. An Incorrect Aftercare Routine on Your Hair Extensions
If you are experiencing an irritated scalp after having new hair extensions fitted this may be a result of your aftercare routine.
Sometimes the itchiness is caused by residual shampoo or conditioner product not being rinsed away from the bonds of the hair extensions.
The leftover product dries and remains in the hair causing itchiness as a result. Residue such as oil can cause build-up.
Ensure that you use a conditioner that’s suitable for extensions and that hair is rinsed off properly. It’s important that all residues has been fully washed away.
3. Hair Extensions That Are Fitted Too Tightly
Your scalp will initially take a few days to adjust to the new weight of your hair extensions. If you have short hair, extensions may feel like they’re pulling on your roots. This may cause mild discomfort or pain.
If using clip-ins, try not to wear extensions every day.
However, if your extensions are causing you a higher level of discomfort after some time has passed it may be a result of how your extensions were fitted.
If your hair extensions were fitted too tightly or the bonds were applied too close to your scalp it may put pressure on your hair.
This will cause extra levels of discomfort and pain.
4. A Possible Allergic Reaction Can Cause Itchiness
While most allergic reactions to hair extensions are rare, it is still entirely possible for some people.
For example, if you are wearing a ring method that features micro rings or nanorings, you may be allergic to the metal within the ring itself.
Or if you have decided to go with the glue-based method, your allergic reaction could be to the keratin.
Keratin is the type of glue used to secure the extensions to your head.
Also, be careful of dyeing your hair extensions. This could cause additional irritation and should only ever be done on human extensions.
5. Brand New Hair Extensions
If you are a newcomer to hair extensions, it may be perfectly natural to experience some itching over the first few days after your fitting.
This could be your scalp’s way of adjusting to the change in weight and it should settle after a few days of mild discomfort.
Also Read: Can Glue On Hair Damage The Scalp? (Solved!)
Dandruff is a common problem for some people and having hair extensions fitted may make no difference in preventing an occurrence.
For some, hair extensions may cause their existing dandruff condition to flare up and worsen due to your scalp being pulled tightly after the application.
7. Your Hair Extensions Were Installed Incorrectly
This is a common cause of an irritated scalp as the initial application of hair extensions is so important.
If your hair extensions are fitted too close to your scalp it may cause itching and inflammation.
Another incorrect application is when the extensions pull too tightly on your hair. This will cause unnecessary pressure on your scalp leading to an irritated scalp or even migraines.
If the discomfort and pain persist it may be in your best interest to have your extensions fitted again.
8. You Are Prone to Sweating a Lot
If you are prone to working out a lot and sweating often as a result it may affect the condition of your scalp which ultimately causes itchiness or irritation.
Your workouts coupled with the added weight of the hair extensions will produce more heat which in turn will contribute to further sweating.
Your hair may feel itchier the more you sweat as the sweat resides on your scalp causing itchiness.
How to Gently Wash Your Hair with Hair Extensions
In order to experience maximum comfort with your hair extensions, we advise that you wash your hair fairly regularly.
It would be best to shampoo your hair every 2-3 days with a non-hydrating shampoo.
Check out our recommended shampoos for hair extensions.
If you feel that your hair is oily or in need of a wash more frequently, dry shampoo is a great alternative between washes.
Failure to rid your hair of dirt, debris or residual styling products can cause build-up in your hair extensions and scalp.
This may lead to an irritated or itchy scalp as a result or possibly even an infection.
Other Common Causes of An Itchy Scalp:
Hair extensions may not always be the cause behind an itchy or irritated scalp. Other potential factors at play include:
- An allergic reaction to new medication or antibiotics
- An anxiety disorder
- Head lice
- Build Up of hair products
- A reaction to heat styling
- Migraines or headaches
- An itchy scalp as a result of sweating
- Scalp psoriasis
Simple Solutions for an Itchy Scalp
Your hair extensions may result in an irritated scalp and we reveal a few simple solutions you can try at home to treat your hair:
Limit Your Hair’s Exposure to Hot Tools and Styling Treatments
Sometimes your hair may become damaged or brittle due to the excessive exposure to heat styling tools.
Another possible side effect is an irritated scalp due to styling your hair extensions with a flat iron or curler.
It’s important to allow your scalp and hair to heal. This can be done by limiting your exposure to these hot tools.
Another simple solution is to include a heat-protectant spray in your styling routine to prevent possible damage going forward.
Apply a Hair Treatment Weekly
Your hair will benefit greatly from a weekly hair treatment and it will help to correct any damage or irritation.
Simply massage coconut oil or aloe vera gel onto your scalp before you begin your normal cleansing routine.
This will go a long way to help nourish your hair follicles and combat any damage caused to your irritated scalp from the hair extensions.
Use the Right Aftercare Products on Your Hair Extensions
It’s so important to use the right aftercare products on your hair extensions in order to maintain and preserve its overall state.
This will also help to correct any itchiness or irritations to your scalp.
Due to having bonds as a result of your hair extensions an appropriate shampoo and conditioner will need to be applied rather than a standard duo.
Introduce an Aftercare Routine to your Lifestyle
While using the right set of aftercare products on your hair extensions is great it is not enough.
You will need to introduce an aftercare routine to properly care for your hair. This must begin from the first day you have your extensions fitted so that you can promote healthy wear and enjoy strong, shiny hair for months to come.
A great addition to your haircare routine is to use an extension brush rather than just a normal brush.
An irritated scalp from having hair extensions can be a result of your hair becoming matted or tangled at the root.
This could be easily prevented with the right brush routine.
How to Properly Take Care of Your Hair Extensions
We have a few helpful tips for some simple hair extension maintenance:
Brush Your Hair Regularly
We cannot recommend this tip enough. It will go a long way in helping you to avoid having tangled or knotted hair extensions.
It also prevents oil from residing on your scalp which could lead to an itchy scalp. A soft bristle or Loop hairbrush is ideal for hair extensions.
It will help to detangle your hair without damaging it.
A gentle way of achieving this is by brushing out your extensions from the bottom of your hair slowly working your way up to the roots.
Another important factor to note is that you should never brush your hair extensions when they are wet.
This will make them more susceptible to breakage and damage. Instead, opt to brush them before you wash your hair or after they are at least 90% dry.
Wash Your Hair Extensions Carefully
Be sure to treat your hair extensions as you would your normal hair and to wash and care for your hair extensions gently.
Be gentle when cleansing the extensions. Otherwise, they may be prone to becoming tangled or matted when wet.
Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner and only brush through when dry.
Another important factor to consider is that your hair extensions will need to stay hydrated in order for the hair to remain shiny and healthy.
As the extensions won’t receive any natural nutrients the way your real hair would, this would need to be supplemented.
We recommend introducing a suitable conditioner to your routine and applying a hair treatment weekly to add moisture and nutrients to your hair.
Dry Your Hair Extensions Naturally
This helpful tip is also useful to apply to normal hair as well as hair extensions.
Often your hair will become damaged or brittle and dry due to long exposure to heat styling tools and blow-dryers.
It’s recommended that you try to limit blow-drying your hair extensions after every wash as this could lead to breakage or an irritated scalp.
If there is an occasion that it cannot be avoided, we recommend applying a heat protectant spray to minimize any damage caused.
Another great tip is to dry your hair on a cooler setting as this will reduce the risk of heat damage.
Try to blow-dry your hair at a downwards angle. This will smooth the hair cuticles and limit any possible tangling.
Tie Back Your Hair Before You Sleep
In the case where your hair extensions cannot be removed and stored, we suggest sweeping your hair back into a loose ponytail before bed.
This way it will minimize any movement during your sleep and friction which could lead to tangling and knots.
During workouts, a high ponytail works best. It will limit your exposure to any sweat and it will be safely out the way during gym activities.
Store Your Hair Extensions with Care
We recommend safely storing your hair extensions or weaves when they are not being used.
Always have them cleaned, brushed, and detangled first before storing them away as this will help to maintain a pristine condition.
For safe storage, an air-tight container is best to avoid exposure to moisture.
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