How to treat scalp redness

Date: 20/08/2020

Scalp redness is where the skin on the scalp is flushed and can also be flaky and itchy – not to mention sore. So what causes it and how can you treat it? Our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan sheds some light on this very common condition.

“Scalp redness can be attributed to a number of things, from irritation, to overheating, sunburn and physiological changes with exercise for example. It can also be a symptom of scalp conditions such as psoriasis or dandruff, as well as from taking certain medication or using harsh hair products. Some forms of scalp redness can be fairly easy to treat, via a cold shower or an anti-redness serum. While in more serious, persistent cases, specialist treatment may be required.

“If you have a sensitive scalp, certain ingredients in skincare products can disrupt the skin barrier and cause flare ups – resulting in redness. Try to avoid products that contain common irritants like parabens, sulphates and silicones. If your skin does become inflamed, apply a hydrating anti-redness serum, such as MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum with calming, anti-inflammatory ingredients such as aloe vera and witch hazel.

“Redness can also occur if you have dry scalp-skin. This skin type lacks vital oils, which makes it vulnerable to damage, and often prone to redness and flaking – especially in cold weather. Use a scalp conditioner with nourishing, hydrating ingredients such as MONPURE’s Strengthening Essence-Conditioner with vitamin E and argan oil. 

“If your red skin is accompanied by scaly patches and dandruff, you could have seborrheic dermatitis – a common skin condition that mainly affects your scalp. Issues like stress, puberty or pregnancy are often to blame. They can wreak havoc with our hormones, sending our body’s normal processes into a tailspin and our skin’s oil glands into overdrive. This manifests itself as red, irritated and scaly skin – giving our hair a greasy appearance, together with the dandruff flakes. Using MONPURE’s gentle Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Clarifying Scalp Scrub can help reduce oiliness and dead skin build-up.”

“Otherwise sore, red patches of skin may be certain types of skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Psoriasis is where the skin becomes inflamed and cell turnover goes into overdrive, which can cover the whole scalp or just occur in patches. It is thought to affect 2% of the population globally, and can occur at any age. For serious cases, a medical professional can prescribe a course of medication or injections. Otherwise shampoos and lotions can keep it under control. The best shampoo for scalp psoriasis (to treat serious, active cases) should be a tar-based shampoo – usually with coconut oil and salicylic acid to help dissolve the dead skin build-up.”

If you have a question you’d like to ask Dr Sue Ann Chan, please send it to

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