Itchy Dreads

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As far as beauty-related concerns go, having an itchy scalp is like a taboo. And when you have locks, it can be even harder to treat.

The dreads themselves don’t make your head itch, but there are various reasons that individuals with new dreads experience itchiness.

Healthy, happy, mature dreads do not itch. If your dreads itch it may be because you are washing them with the wrong soap, not washing enough, or washing your dreads too much.

What Causes Itchy Dreadlocks?

Some culprits can cause an itchy scalp. The first is extreme dryness. The second is mildew and the third is product residue buildup.

A dry scalp will surely itch. Meanwhile, not being able to dry your locks completely after a wash can cause mildew. And this can also result in itchy scalp.

Some protective methods, like cornrows, can also cause itchiness. Experts say this happens due to dead skin cells, sebum, or dust that was trapped at the root. Another possible reason that the style is too tight and the follicles are inflamed.

If the locks are not washed properly or if there is mildew due to spotty drying, then it will lead to odor and itchiness. Usually, there isn’t an odor if there is unnecessary dryness.

If you’re encountering itchiness and flakiness, the matter may be due to product buildup. Some individuals naturally have dandruff due to dry scalp, but often it is because of product buildup. Excluding products that are heavy or creamy will show if you have a dandruff issue or not.

Under and Over-washing

Several people are already used to their hair getting oily. But when you have dreadlocks, it’s the scalp and roots that require frequent washing. This eliminates the oil and any dead skin cells.

Normally, combing would bring oil to the hair and eliminate these dead cells. But dreads cannot be combed, so it’s really up to the washing. If you don’t wash your dreads regularly, they will build up and make your head itchy. 

On the other hand, not having oily hair will make you lose track of when you need to wash. That’s because you do not have any indicator. This has led some people to believe that the dreads are the reason that makes your head itch. But the truth is, overwashing or underwashing is. 

The key is to leave more of the scalp’s natural oils behind while washing away the dead skin cells. This can be achieved by diluting the dread soap by having a two-part soap and one-part water solution. It will still have enough strength to clean but it will leave more oil behind.


Another problem is the lack of stimulation.

When you don’t have dreadlocks, you tend to wash and brush your hair more frequently. Washing and brushing your hair can help your scalp get rid of old skin cells and replace them naturally.

When people get dreads, though, they tend to wash and brush their hair less often. This makes the dead skin cells build up and itch.

The trick is to prevent the dead skin cells from piling up by stimulating and exfoliating the scalp. 

Frequent and consistent washing is a big part of this. It’s a good habit to gently massage the scalp when showering to help the scalp exfoliate. If you decide to wash your dreads whenever you can, consider sticking to a schedule instead. That way, your scalp can adjust quickly and stay healthy.

Ideally, you should wash mature dreads every two days. Otherwise, the scalp will be agitated.

You can also stimulate your scalp with the use of a hair pick. Just simply glide the tips of the comb across your scalp to stimulate and help it exfoliate. Try to make this a habit every morning. 

The stimulation process also brings blood to the surface of the scalp, which is beneficial to the hair follicles to promote thick, healthy hair and increase hair growth. Not only is this great for your scalp, but it also makes you feel amazing since the scalp with dreads misses being touched! 

Most hair picks have fine edges right at the tips for some reason. Thus, you should look for something with the correct size, the appropriate spacing, and smooth rounded tips.


Another factor that can lead to itching is the use of the wrong soap or shampoo. Soap that leaves debris on the scalp not only lessens the speed of the dreading process but can also cause itching and irritation of the scalp. 

When the hair is dreaded or in braids, it is more difficult to rinse the scalp well, leaving more residues because of the way it is tightly packed together. Using the proper dread soap reduces these problems because it leaves no residue behind when rinsed.

Nonetheless, always be sure to rinse your dreads thoroughly after washing. Since dreadlocks are packed together, it does have a natural tendency to hold soap inside. Squeeze those residues out from your dreads while washing them with clean running water.

Don’t Scratch That Itch!

One of the first indications that you are destroying your locks from scratching is damage at the roots. This damage can look like just loose, unlocked hair. But if left untreated, it can lead to further difficulties. 

When you don’t correctly relieve an itchy scalp, you may have to deal with your locs thinning at the roots or fully breaking off. Being that your locks are a pile of naturally shed hair, it will not marry into the locks when it starts breaking off, which results in thinning. 

Additionally, if the thinning is not fixed, the locks will start to break off from the roots. That’s because the base can no longer carry the weight of the hair as it lengthens. 

When you keep on scratching, you are making your scalp and roots unhealthy, which makes the locks grow slower. So if you want healthy locks, learn to soothe that itchy scalp the proper way!

Best Treatment for an Itchy Scalp With Dreadlocks

Ensuring the health of your scalp is an essential element of growing thick and healthy dreadlocks.

There are various analyses of why you might have an itchy scalp. And scratching the itch can make it worse because it won’t stop until you scratch out your roots. This can cause sores and scabs.

Scratching your scalp with dreads will also make them fragile and thin, eventually ending in breakage from the roots. How do you remedy an itchy scalp when your dreadlocks are in the way?

Fix Your Diet, Digestion, and Hormones

Having a healthier diet is a great first approach to improving itch issues (and life as a whole). Also, taking a well-formulated multivitamin can create help.

Multivitamins contain high levels of MSM and Biotin, which can impact how fast your dreadlocks should grow.

Seeking advice from a digestive specialist can make significant changes in your digestion and nutrient absorption.

Use Witch Hazel Oil

Use a lightweight sterile, like witch hazel, to stop product and dandruff build-up in your locks.

Witch hazel is a natural toner and astringent that eliminates excess oils and seals the open pores on your skin. To create your own solution, you just need to mix one part witch hazel oil (alcohol-free) with two parts of water.

Just simply mix the ingredients in a small plastic bowl and apply them directly to the scalp using your fingers. Massage by stroking the solution into your scalp for two minutes. Let it rest for ten minutes before rinsing your hair and scalp.

Apply this solution directly to your scalp twice a week. The antibacterial qualities of witch hazel lessens the inflammation of the scalp, treating any infections and relaxing the skin.

As an added bonus, your dreads will also smell good!

Reduce Stress to Promote Hormone Level

Reducing stress is helpful for just about every aspect of our lives, including taming an itchy scalp.

In our modern society, we live unnaturally fast-paced lives which drives us to chronic stress and fatigue. This hectic lifestyle decreases our body’s capacity to handle issues, such as itchiness in the scalp.

Attempt for more of the following:

  • Laugh and Smile
  • Meditate
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Reduce Caffeine Intake
  • Deep Breathing
  • Time with loved ones
  • Pets
  • Cuddling
  • Hugging
  • Relaxing music
  • Mindfulness
  • Lavender, Chamomile, and other diffused oils
  • Healthy Diet and Supplementation
  • Avoiding Procrastination

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse (or Other Acids) for pH Issues

An acidic rinse is frequently applied to properly balance the pH level of your hair and scalp. A healthy scalp pH will fight off the growth of yeast and lessen the symptoms, such as itchiness.

A 50/50 combination of water and ACV is usually the ideal ratio to restore the proper pH of your scalp.

Deep Cleanse

Performing a deep cleanse will help eliminate sebum and product buildup from your scalp. This should provide your scalp a fresh reset, leaving your scalp and dreadlocks squeaky fresh and pH balanced.

It’s vital that you only perform a deep cleanse a couple of times per year as the baking soda is very hard on your hair. And you must constantly follow up your deep cleanse with an ACV rinse.

Aloe Vera Gel for pH and Itchiness

Another way to relieve an itchy scalp with dreads is to use pure aloe gel.

Aloe gel holds a pH of 4.5-5.5, which is ideal for your scalp. This product can be purchased in any local store that offers hair and body products.

Essential Oils to Reduce Fungus

Tea Tree Oil has antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial qualities that can help eliminate the yeast that can grow on the scalp. This special oil also helps with healing eczema and psoriasis and lessen itchy scalp with dreads.

However, you should never apply Tea Tree Oil straight to the scalp! Always use a carrier oil with it.

Rosemary Oil also carries anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory qualities, which help increase circulation to the scalp. Rosemary Oil can be employed directly to the scalp.

Patchouli Oil holds anti-fungal qualities to fight off yeast and can also be applied directly to the scalp.

Adjust Wash Frequency

Everyone reacts individually to the frequency of washing because of a variety of factors.

It’s sufficient to gradually alter your frequency to learn the appropriate wash cycle for your scalp and dreadlocks. If you wash your dreadlocks less than once every two weeks, we suggest washing more regularly with a healthy shampoo.

Washing once per week is advised and common. However, some individuals with very mature dreadlocks could extend the wash cycle out to once every two weeks.

If you clean your dreadlocks more than twice a week, try to lessen that frequency gradually to once per week. Washing too often, especially with a harsh shampoo, may tear your scalp of too many oils and lead to a dry, itchy scalp.

Change Shampoo

Castile Soaps, Shampoos produced with Saponified Oils, and most shampoos are far too high on the pH level. Various commercial shampoos carry ingredients that you may be sensitive to without realizing it.

If you think you’re encountering other scalp conditions, like eczema, psoriasis, or contact dermatitis, you should at least attempt a different shampoo. We recommend Free and Clear for people with dreadlocks.

Install Water Softener System for Better pH Level

This solution is a drastic one, but it can create a surprisingly big result in your daily life.

It will significantly enhance the long-term well-being of your hair, give you softer skin, give you cleaner silverware, improve laundry, and improve the effectiveness of all soaps.

How much does this cost? Water softener systems tend to vary from $1,000 to 3,000. This might seem extravagant, but once you have this you’ll never want to go back to hard water again.

Final Thoughts

It’s common for people with dreads to encounter Dread Dandruff or an Itchy Scalp with Dreads at some point. But we hope you’ve acquired a lot of knowledge from this article. That way, you’d know what to do when you encounter such issues.

Get the right fix if you are suffering from any of these?