Cornrow Braids & Itchy Scalp

Girl with cornrow braids
Photo: Koldunov/Shutterstock
Q: Why do my cornrow braids always itch? Is an itchy scalp normal when you are wearing cornrows?
A: Because most braided hairstyles are "care-free" people sometimes forget that the scalp can react differently to different products. The first thing to do is determine what is causing the itch.
The most common cause of scalp itch in braided hair is the need for the scalp to be cleansed. An easy way to do this is to get a small hair color applicator bottle from your beauty supply store and mix a half-ounce of anti-itch (anti-dandruff) shampoo with 8 ounces of warm water. Shake vigorously to mix and apply the solution to the scalp and gently stroke along and between the cornrows with your fingertips. The goal is to create lather. Rinse the scalp with cool water.
If your itch is not relieved by this, you may need to consider the product you use on your braids. Some people have irritation from gels used to keep their braids neat, and I suggest the use of other cream-based products which don't have such a prominent residue. It could even be a matter of sensitivity to the products which necessitates a change to one that doesn't provoke such a reaction.
Also be aware of whether the itch is accompanied by pain or tightness which may be the result of tension on the scalp from the braids being taut. If you think the braids are too tight, talk to your stylist. If none of these seems to be the case, and the itching persists, see your doctor in case you have some developing skin issues.
See also:
Problems with the scalp
The minimum hair length to get it styled in cornrow braids
Cornrow braiding and hair damage
Long braided hair for summer