Inflammation, the body's reaction to infection, injury or irritation, causes redness, swelling and pain. An inflamed scalp is normally a dry scalp that lacks oil. This deficiency results in flaking, dandruff and itchiness, leaving the scalp vulnerable to infection. When dry scalp is not treated in the first instance painful complications can arise such as infections from fungi and bacteria, dermatitis, dandruff or neurogenic excoriations (persistent scalp scratching).
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Avoid hair products with ingredients such as propylene gycol, sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium beryl sulphate or sodium laureth sulphate. These ingredients will remove oils from the scalp and can cause a dry scalp if overused. Avoid products that are specifically for "greasy hair" as these will also have the same effect.
Do not use hair products with fragrance or perfume in them as they will irritate your scalp further and may cause infection. Avoid washing your hair three to four days before using any antiinflammatory treatments to allow a protective layer of oil to build in your hair.
Use tea tree oil products to wash your hair. Tea tree oil has antiseptic and antifungal properties to reduce inflammation and prevent infections. You can purchase it over the counter at pharmacies and supermarkets.
Purchase shampoos with coal tar and salicylic acid, both of which relieve dermatitis. Wash your hair every two to three days with all these shampoos and oils to allow your scalp to build a protective layer and to prevent itching or further inflammation.
Tips and warnings
- For severe scalp inflammation, see your doctor for treatment. Inflammation that is causing pain and does not improve from the use of natural oils may only be treatable with prescribed medication.
- Do not wash your hair in hot water as this may cause irritation. Use lukewarm water.
- Contact your doctor immediately if any of the products used cause further inflammation, pain or skin irritation.
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