Many different types of hair oil products, each with individual functions, are available and widely used throughout the world. For example, jojoba oil is used to moisturize and soften the hair, while damaged hair can be healed and strengthened with coconut oil. For most users, these products perform the intended task without harmful or uncomfortable side effects, while others suffer from irritation, redness and/or itchiness caused by the use of these products.


If the use of hair oil is causing discomfort, it may be due to an allergic reaction to ingredients used in the product. The third most common source of allergic reactions to cosmetic products is the active agents in hair products such as paraphenylenediamine, glyceryl thioglycolate and ammonium thioglycolate. A reaction is typically considered allergic if a red rash confined to the area touched by the product does not appear immediately, but one to two days after the exposure to the irritant.

Contact Dermatitis

Direct contact with certain shampoos and hair oils may cause contact dermatitis. The affected area will become red, itchy and uncomfortable. This irritation is neither contagious nor life-threatening. If the use of the product causing irritation is discontinued, the rash will normally resolve itself in two to four weeks. To reduce inflammation and lessen the itch, apply anti-itch creams or a wet compress to the irritated area. It is best to see a doctor if the rash continues beyond two to four weeks.

Other Causes

The use of hair oil may be aggravating an existing condition of the scalp. Dry scalp skin, caused by frequent hair washing with hot water and aggressive shampoos or holding the hair dryer to close to the skin, is vulnerable to irritation and infection because it lacks the normal protective oil layer. Hair that is not washed at least once a week causes a build up of skin cells, which creates itchiness and dandruff. Symptoms of dandruff include redness and itching of the scalp as well as flaking of scalp skin.


If the type of hair oil being used causes irritation to the scalp, simply discontinue use to prevent future irritation. To treat current irritation, there are a number of options to choose from, including using a pH-balanced shampoo, taking antihistamines or massaging olive oil into the scalp 10 minutes before shampooing. If the itching does not cease within a week, it is time to make an appointment with a dermatologist.


To ensure an itch free scalp, regularly wash hair at the very least once a week and discontinue use of any product that causes irritation. Check ingredients and try other brands of the desired product until one is found that does not cause discomfort.