Here's What To Do If Your Scalp Itches After A Color Treatment

Dyeing your hair is an investment when it comes to time, money, and comfort. Color-treated hair always requires more upkeep than hair in its natural state and dyeing your hair can cause damage, be uncomfortable, and result in burning or itching.

Many of us have experienced an itchy burn or gradually noticed an intense need to scratch our heads after the dye goes in. Though there are several ingredients that can cause irritation the most common ingredient is para-phenylenediamine (PPD), according to MedicalNewsToday. Some people are allergic to hair dye ingredients but even those who aren't can experience irritation.

Symptoms can appear up to 48 hours or longer after the dye is rinsed out, and the itch can linger and may cause cracked skin and red patches on your scalp and along the hairline. However, there are a few key things to do after a color treatment to soothe an itchy, irritated scalp. These include thoroughly washing your hair after dyeing, using natural remedies, and performing a patch test.

Tips to soothing an inflamed scalp after dyeing your hair

Some people may experience sensitivity to hair dye soon after treatment. Others may find that an allergy appears randomly even years after using the same dye, since the immune system changes over time. Either way, your odds increase if you have a compromised scalp. Dyeing hair on top of a scalp that is already dry and flaky can increase the chances of scalp irritation.

The first thing you want to do is wash with a gentle shampoo a few times to try to remove as much chemical residue as possible. Another option is to add hydrogen peroxide to the hair to neutralize the chemicals. However, this has the potential to worsen the irritation and doesn't work for everyone, in which case you might want to try a more gentle approach. "You can also apply an emollient-rich product such as aqueous cream or petroleum jelly to the affected skin to help calm it," colorist Abigail Amparan told InStyle.

Natural ways to ease discomfort

What you do before dyeing your hair matters, too. Some suggest adding a packet or two of the artificial sweetener Sweet 'N Low to hair dye to try to neutralize chemicals before applying it to the hair. You can also use a formulated packet treatment made to add to hair dye which does the same. "These have pH buffers to help neutralize some of the ammonia to cause less irritation to the scalp," said hair colorist Stephanie Brown, who uses both on her sensitive clients, via New Beauty.

After the color treatment, you can soothe your scalp with natural remedies that you may already have in your home. "An apple cider vinegar or chamomile tea rinse works well," said Brown. "You can also do an oil, like coconut, avocado, or hemp seed, and leave it on for 10-30 minutes, then shampoo out."

However, the most important thing to know is what to do before dyeing your hair. Never go to the salon with a freshly clean head. "Don't wash your hair before getting it colored," said Brown. "The hair's natural oils can help to protect your scalp and hair." Let your colorist know if you are sensitive to dye, and even if you aren't, always do a patch test to see whether you will have a reaction before committing to dyeing your whole head.