A dry, itchy scalp is not only incredibly irritating, it can also be very embarrassing. There are many things that you can do for a dry, itchy scalp but as there are so many causes it is important to try and isolate the root of the problem before trying to solve it.
What Causes a Dry, Itchy Scalp?
There can be many root causes for a dry and itchy scalp, some far more common than others.
1.) Product allergy and hair care irritants – one of the most common causes for a dry itchy scalp is a reaction to a shampoo, conditioner, hair dye allergy or other hair treatment.
Sometimes this reaction can occur even after you have been using a product for some time due to product build up.
Products which contain alcohol seem to be the biggest culprits for causing itchiness to the scalp.
2.) Excess scale or dandruff – dandruff is a very common problem. The exact causes are not known but it is thought there may be some genetic link. Dandruff can be an embarrassing condition and many people find their dandruff is resistant to many of the specialist shampoos aimed at dandruff conditions.
3.) Head lice – an infestation of head lice will cause the sufferer itchiness of the scalp although the hair line, at the back of the neck, is the most common site of itchiness.
4.) Psoriasis – this can occur anywhere on the body but can become particularly itchy when it affects the scalp due to the irritant affect that natural hair oils will have on it. Again, exact causes are not known but it is thought that hereditary factors play a part.
5.) Eczema – not one of the most common causes of a dry itchy scalp but if eczema occurs elsewhere on the body then it may be a possibility.
6.) Dermatitis – this follows on from the first point. Allergic dermatitis is often caused or exacerbated by hair care products and treatments.
7.) Poor hair hygiene or excessive care – as ironic as this sounds both too little and too much hair washing can cause dry, itchy scalp. Too little washing will cause build up of natural oils which will irritate the scalp and too much washing will often over stimulate oil production, having the same result.
Conversely, some shampoos are so harsh that if they are used too often they will strip all the natural oils away and cause scalp dryness.
Home Remedies for Treating Dry, Itchy Scalp
Many of the home remedies for treating dry, itchy scalp are actually far more effective than shop bought, expensive, specialist products.
Many of the ingredients in home remedies have been used since ancient times to relieve inflammation, irritated skin and soreness.
1.) Essential oils for dry scalp – many of the essential oils will give you instant relief from itchiness while also acting as anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agents.
Lavender and Tea Tree oil are particularly effective for fast relief and for their soothing properties. Rose, Ylang-ylang and Chamomile are also good essential oils to use.
Be aware that many essential oils can act as irritants if they are not administered correctly. Most need to be heavily diluted before applying to the skin.
Essential oils can be added to your normal shampoos providing you are satisfied that the scalp condition isn’t caused by the shampoo.
2.) Neem oil for dry scalp – made from seeds, this oil has an ancient tradition of use for psoriasis and eczema and will help with all dry, itchy scalp conditions.
3.) Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar – all these have astringent properties which will help to balance oils. In addition, they will leave your hair glossy and well-conditioned.
4.) Oatmeal for treating dry scalp – it is possible to make a scalp treatment from oatmeal which has a powerful ability to help with itchiness and the soreness associated with dry scalp conditions. Mix oatmeal and water and apply to the head, ensuring all of the scalp is covered. Wrap hair in a towel and leave in place for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing with luke-warm water and a mild shampoo.
5.) Witch hazel for itchy scalp – a natural product that is well known for its ability to soothe itching and the resulting inflammation and works well as an itchy head treatment. Witch hazel can be added to your normal shampoo or diluted with water and applied directly to problem areas.
Depending on the cause of your dry itchy scalp, many of the home remedies will treat both the cause and the symptoms of your problem. In other cases it won’t solve the cause but will bring relief from the symptoms.
If you have just changed shampoo or conditioner or just had your hair dyed or permed then these are likely to be the cause of your dry and itchy scalp. Discontinue use of any product you suspect to be the cause. The home remedies listed above will help to ease the temporary irritation.
Try not to use hot water for rinsing your hair as this will inflame and irritate the problems further.
In all other cases, where the problems of dry, itchy scalp persist, it is always advisable to seek medical advice in order to eliminate any underlying health problems.