Itchy Dreads Guide

An itchy scalp is a sign that the skin is not happy. We end up scratching, and this causes the itch to worsen. The only way is to solve the problem at the root, and that’s what this article is for.


Woman in snow holding up hands with dreadlocks

A beautiful set of dreads. Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash


First of all, as you probably have guessed, there are several products on the market that are designed to solve the itchy-scalp issue, and you can find most of them by clicking on Refreshening Spray, Cleansing Spray and Conditioning Oil.


But before speaking of all the products you can use, you should at least have an idea of why you’re itching, so you know what to look for in a product. Here’s what to do, step by step, if you’re experiencing an itchy scalp:


First step: check your skin.


Ask someone to help you, or get yourself two mirrors, to be able to check every part of your scalp. 


  1. If your scalp shows anything concerning: 

It may sound obvious, but for anything that looks particularly concerning the best idea is always to see a doctor. In fact, if you’ve developed a bad skin condition, it’s better to avoid home-remedies that could worsen the problem.


  1. Any lice? If you spot any trace of lice (for example the eggs that look like very tiny white seeds at the roots of your hair) don’t worry, because Raw Roots created a lice treatment that can be used safely on dreadlocks. Find it at this link. Conventional lice treatments are not suitable for dreads, as they require combing as part of the treatment, so in the past we’d have to undo or cut our dreads. Luckily Raw Roots solved this issue once and for all. 
Bottle of Creeps Tincture Raw Roots

Creeps Tincture by Raw Roots


If you don’t see anything concerning:

If your scalp is just a bit irritated, something you’re doing (or not doing) is causing this reaction. 


Some basic advice includes drinking enough water and eating plenty of fresh whole foods, to keep the skin nourished and healthy. Make sure you’re not having allergies or intolerances that could flare up on your skin, and try to notice if your life is particularly stressful. Stress and other conditions can in fact cause itchiness. Of course, be aware of what you’re using directly on your scalp as some hair products can cause itchiness. 


Second step: a guide to anti-itch products

While you’re trying to work out what’s making your head itch, it’s time to try out some products. 


  1. If your scalp is often oily, even if you’re washing your head regularly, try out a Cleansing Spray. Remember also that using the wrong shampoo can stimulate your scalp to produce excess oil, therefore it’s recommended to avoid shampoos that are not specific for dreadlocks.
  2. If your scalp is dry you’re looking for a moisturizer with soothing properties. Have a look at the Refreshening Sprays, which are perfect for when your skin is a bit dry.
  3. If your scalp is very dry get yourself a Conditioning Oil, which will give your skin all the protection it needs.
  4. If your scalp is not particularly dry or oily, try out different products to see what’s the best for you. Intuition is often the best guide.
  5. Last but not least, we can recommend you to try the ACV herbal rinse. This rinse will restore your skin’s balance and control the formation of dandruff, plus it will close the cuticles of your hair so they’ll become soft and shiny. 


4 Different bottles - Cleansing Hydrating Refreshening And Balancing sprays

Cleansing, hydrating, refreshening and balancing.

The big question: why do dreadlocks itch?

The key words to understand this problem are two: exfoliation and oxygenation.

Exfoliation means to remove dead skin cells, oxygenation means to bring oxygen to the skin tissue. To stimulate our skin circulation is to improve oxygenation. If exfoliation and oxygenation are not done enough, the scalp will itch.


Exfoliation and oxygenation are actions that, when we don’t have dreadlocks, we undertake several times per day, without even noticing it. For example brushing or combing our hair, even just with our fingers, acts as a massage for the scalp and it has both effects: exfoliation and oxygenation. Other similar activities are: shampooing, playing with our hair or styling them. All of these actions give our circulation a little boost, while the skin gets lightly exfoliated in the process. Dreadlocks limit the access to our scalp, so all these actions have less effect. We should try to compensate for this lack of daily massaging. 


In conclusion here’s what to do to solve itchiness once for all:

    1. To keep your skin healthy follow an effective dreadlocks-hygiene routine, see for reference our Clean Dreads Guide”.
    2. Eat and live healthy.
    3. Use anti-itch products and massage your head.


woman with dreadlocks with one hand on head walking through plants

Non-itchy dreads are not just a dream. Photo by fauxels from Pexels


Massage your head regularly

This step might sound suspicious, because you’d think massaging your head will loosen the roots of your dreadlocks. This can be true for young dreads but not for established ones; actually it may even help the locking process by making more friction. If you have young dreads remember that patience is key and over time they’ll mature well, even if you massage your head regularly to promote skin health.


How to massage your head for best results

Massage your skin right after the use of your product of choice, to facilitate absorption. 


  1. Apply a bit of your anti-itch product (Refreshening Spray, Cleansing Spray, Conditioning Oil, depending on what you’ve chosen).
  2. Massage your head thoroughly with your fingertips (not your fingernails), making sure to reach every bit of scalp. 
  3. If you’re using a spray: massage your head preferably in the morning. Then leave your dreads open at least for a few minutes to allow the scalp to dry completely. 
  4. If you’re using an oil: massage your head before bed, cover everything in your night cap and sleep on it, to allow for a better absorption. You can choose to do this every other night, or the nights before shampooing.
  5. Of course, massage your head thoroughly when using the ACV rinse.
Man with dreadlocks holding hands together in prayer position smiling

To relax is also important for our skin’s health. Photo by madison lavern on Unsplash



If you’re wearing synthetic dreadlocks

Synthetic dreads can cause itchiness to the scalp if worn attached to it. To solve this issue, many dreadheads online suggest soaking the synthetic dreads in soapy water before using them. 

If you’ve had root maintenance done recently

You should ask your loctician to be very gentle on the roots, to minimize itchiness after the session. Remember that your dreads should not be so tight that you cannot comfortably sleep with your head on a pillow: if you’re experiencing pain, you should let your loctician know they’ve put too much tension on your roots. 

But in general, it’s normal for the scalp to itch a bit after roots maintenance. We recommend using a Refreshening Spray to soothe your skin.

We hope you found this guide useful. If you know someone with dreadlocks, share it with them!


 About the author

Margherita Orso Pletti - Italian dread maker, youtuber and blogger living in the UK. Creator of, website in Italian about dreadlocks.
Face of Women with dreadlocks walking through trees