Woman with long brown hair scratches scalp while looking in the mirror.

How to soothe scalp irritation after a chemical process

Coloring, bleaching, perming or relaxing are common chemical treatments. And, while these services can help us feel our best, they can also have a few unpleasant side effects for our scalps: mild itching, dryness and irritation are very normal after chemical hair treatments.

This is because many chemical treatments, such as bleaching and hair coloring, require peroxide to activate the chemicals that change the color of your hair. This peroxide, while quite harmless to the skin when used properly, can still cause minor irritation and itching. Other chemical treatments, like perming and relaxing hair, can also cause scalp irritation. Some people may also experience scalp dryness after a chemical treatment because chemical treatments can remove the protective and hydrating layer of oil and sebum from the scalp.

Luckily, though, there are a few easy and simple ways you can treat scalp irritation from home after your hair color, bleach, perm or hair relaxer treatment. Keep reading to learn 3 simple methods to soothe your scalp irritation at home.

3 ways to soothe scalp irritation from chemical treatments

Do not scratch your scalp.

Scratching your scalp after a chemical treatment can cause further irritation and damage your scalp, leaving it vulnerable to infection. This is because chemical treatments are designed to break down the outer protective layer of your hair strands, but the treatments can also remove the protective layer of oils from your scalp, leaving it more sensitive and vulnerable to germs. Scratching your scalp can further aggravate this because your nails can cause tiny tears in the skin.

So what should you do instead? If you feel the urge to scratch an itchy spot, gently press the teeth of a thoroughly washed and sanitized comb on the itchy area, which will relieve the itch. Be careful not to move the comb back and forth as this could cause micro tears in the skin and damage your already sensitive scalp or hair follicles.

Apply a cooling cream or a cool compress and avoid heat styling.

Sometimes chemical treatments can cause a mild heat or burning sensation on the scalp, especially if bleach is used. To help soothe your scalp once the chemical treatment has been removed, there are a couple things you can try:

  • Apply unscented aloe vera to your scalp. If you have a mild chemical burn, this can help to soothe and cool your scalp and reduce redness.
  • Apply a cool compress. For example, applying an icepack wrapped in a tea towel to your scalp can help bring down the heat sensation and help soothe any itching.
  • Avoid any hot styling tools like flat irons and blow dryers. If your skin has already experienced a minor chemical burn, further heat, even if not applied directly to the scalp, can make it feel worse.

Use a scalp restorer and protector.

Even if you do not experience any minor chemical burns or other undesired reactions after a chemical treatment, it is a good idea to apply a moisturizing scalp restorer to help your scalp build back it’s protective layer and stay healthy. We recommend:

Plus, if you have a sensitive scalp, consider using a scalp protector before applying any chemical treatments to prevent itching, drying or irritation before they happen.

When should you see a doctor for scalp irritation or a chemical burn?

If you experience blisters, burning, peeling skin, hives, swelling or serious pain, consult your doctor as soon as possible and before attempting any at-home or over-the-counter remedies to avoid any scarring or hair follicle damage.

You can treat most scalp irritation at home

In the end, most scalp irritation due to chemical treatments will disappear within a few hours or days either on its own or with the remedies we shared here, and you will be able to enjoy your beautiful new hair with no complications.

If you would like to purchase our scalp products for yourself or to stock in your salon, please reach out to juliArt.

Meet The Writer

juliArt press release team. juliArt, a premium scalp care brand that supports salon and beauty businesses.