The Best Home Remedies for a Dry, Itchy Scalp
A dry and itchy scalp (scalp pruritus) can leave hair looking dull, unhealthy and possibly with flakes of dandruff. This can cause embarrassment and can be uncomfortable if you frequently have to scratch your dry scalp or if you often find flakes of dead skin on your clothes. Conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, fungal and virus infections, hormonal changes, stress, excessive hair washing, or even head lice can all cause your scalp to become dry and itchy. In most cases, treating the underlying cause of the itchy scalp and making sure the scalp is well moisturized can cure a dry and itchy scalp.
Reasons for a Dry and Itchy Scalp
To know how to treat a scalp which is dry and very itchy, it is important to know what is causing your symptoms.
If a fungal infection is causing an itch on your scalp, then you need to apply an anti-fungal remedy to kill off the infection. For example, the journal PLos Pathogens says that Malassezia fungi are responsible for many cases of dandruff, atopic eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis – all of which can cause itching and dryness on the scalp.1
Dr. Hansa D. Bhargava on WebMD says that scalp psoriasis can cause itchiness and flakes on your scalp, however, this isn’t the same as dandruff. She also says that poor diet and stress can make your scalp dry and itchy; however, they may not be the only culprits.2
So, it doesn’t matter what is causing you to scratch your head and suffer from a dry scalp, there are many effective home remedies that can treat your symptoms. Let’s look at some of the best natural treatments to help you relieve itchy and dry scalp.
Home Remedies for Dry and Itchy Scalp
Tea Tree Oil
One of the best natural remedies to cure an itchy and dry scalp is tea tree oil. It will also help you get rid of dandruff for good. Tea tree oil contains many antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties which can kill the fungal infections that cause flaky skin, itchiness, and dryness on the scalp.
Many studies into tea tree oil have shown that it has broad spectrum antimicrobial activity and can treat seborrheic dermatitis which causes dandruff.3 A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that 5% tea tree oil shampoo was an effective way to treat dandruff because of its anti-fungal activities.4
It is very easy to use tea tree oil to make a dandruff shampoo to stop your scalp itching and get rid of dandruff that is caused by a fungal infection. All you need to do is add 8 – 10 drops of tea tree oil to every 8 oz. of your favorite natural shampoo. Wash your hair as normal with the tea tree oil shampoo until your dandruff goes away completely. You can find more uses and recipes for tea tree oil for your scalp in my article: Tea Tree Oil for Hair and Scalp – The Complete Guide.
You can also mix some other essential oils with tea tree oil to help moisturize your scalp and prevent dryness. For example, the University of Maryland reports that lavender oil has antifungal properties and can help to reduce dry, scaly skin lesions.5 To make a shampoo to treat a dry itchy scalp, put 6 drops of tea tree oil and 4 drops of lavender oil in an 8 oz. bottle of shampoo. Wash regularly with the shampoo to keep your scalp moisturized and itch-free.
There are many other essential oils that can help to keep your scalp in good health that you can read about in my article on the best essential oils to get rid of dandruff.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar makes a great treatment for itchy scalp because of its antibacterial activities and its ability to balance pH levels on the skin. A healthy scalp should have a pH level of around 4 to 5 and many hair care products strip the natural acids from hair and make it more alkaline. This can cause the scalp to become dry and itchy.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains a high amount of acetic acid which, studies have shown, can kill off most bacteria.6 ACV also helps to balance the pH levels of your scalp causing it to become less itchy and free of dandruff.
To make an apple cider vinegar hair rinse treatment for dry and itchy scalp, this is what you should do:
- Mix one cup water and 2 tbsp. ACV in a spray bottle. (If you have oily hair, you can increase the ACV content).
- Shampoo your hair as normal.
- Spray the ACV mixture all over your hair, making sure that you get to the roots and then massage it into your scalp.
- Leave for 5 minutes and rinse with warm water.
- Dry your hair as normal.
Repeat the hair treatment with apple cider vinegar 1 – 2 times a week to prevent an itchy scalp and keep your hair looking shiny without any dandruff.
Aloe vera is well-known for its ability to heal damaged skin. If psoriasis is the cause of your dry and itchy scalp, you can use aloe vera as a great home remedy to get rid of the symptoms. Scalp psoriasis can even lead to hair loss because the itchiness makes a person scratch the affected area too much. Because aloe vera is a great skin moisturizer, you can safely use it to get a relief from a dry itchy scalp.
A topical application of aloe vera can treat the symptoms of psoriasis and reduce inflammation on the scalp. In the book Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects it said that aloe vera has been used to successfully treat patients with moderate psoriasis.7
If you have a dry and itchy scalp caused by seborrheic dermatitis, then you should apply aloe vera directly to your scalp to soothe your itchy skin and get rid of dandruff. The Natural Medicine Journal reported that aloe vera is an effective treatment for seborrheic dermatitis and can help to reduce itching.8
To make an aloe vera hair treatment for a dry and itchy scalp and to reduce dandruff, please do this:
- Apply pure aloe vera gel to your scalp.
- Leave for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Wash your hair with a natural shampoo.
For best results and to keep your scalp moisturized and free of itching, use the aloe vera hair mask 1 – 2 times a week.
Aloe vera is good not only for your scalp, but your hair as well. Read more about it in my article about the benefits of aloe vera for hair, where you can find recipes and suggestions on how to use aloe vera for your hair.
If you suffer from scalp psoriasis, you might also be interested to read my article on how vitamin D supplements can relieve itchy and flaky skin.
Lemon juice can also help to cure an itchy, dry scalp because of its high acidic content. Lemon juice works in a similar way to apple cider vinegar because it lowers the pH level of your scalp and can help to reduce itchiness.
All you have to do is massage 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice into your scalp. Leave for a few minutes before rinsing with warm water. Then mix 1 tsp. lemon juice with a cup of water and rinse your hair with the mixture. Repeat this daily until the dryness and itchiness is gone completely.
Please remember that lemon juice can lighten your hair with regular use.
Olive Oil Treatment
If you would like to get beautiful shiny hair and get a healthy scalp, then you should use an extra virgin olive oil treatment for a dry scalp. Olive oil is a natural moisturizer and it contains antibacterial properties that can treat many skin infections.9
To get a relief from an itchy and dry scalp, you should warm some olive oil and add 1 – 2 drops of tea tree oil. Massage the olive oil evenly into your whole scalp. Cover your head with a towel and leave the oil in your hair for at least 30 minutes. After that, wash thoroughly with shampoo to remove the excess oil and leave your hair moisturized with a natural shine. You can find more uses for olive oil in my article about olive oil for scalp and hair care.
Olive oil is also a safe home remedy for a dry scalp in babies and toddlers. You should rub a small amount of olive oil into your child’s scalp and leave it for 15 – 20 minutes for the moisturizing effect to work. Then take a fine tooth comb or soft-bristle brush to remove flakes of dead skin from the hair. Apply some mild baby shampoo to the hair and leave it for a few minutes to help cut down the oil. Then rinse with warm water.
Similar to olive oil, virgin coconut oil is an excellent home remedy to get rid of dry and itchy scalp. As well as having antibacterial properties,9 coconut oil has also been shown to kill off the Malassezia fungus which causes dandruff.10
To use coconut oil to cure an itchy and dry scalp, do the following:
- Wash your hair as normal, but leave it damp.
- Warm 1 – 3 tbsp. of coconut oil in a bowl and massage the coconut oil into your entire scalp.
- Wrap your hair in a towel and leave for 1 – 2 hours.
- Rinse the oil from your hair and shampoo as normal to remove the excess oil.
Apply the coconut oil once or twice a week to keep your scalp free from any itchiness and dryness.
You can also combine castor oil with coconut oil in 1:1 ratio. Castor oil has many benefits for the scalp and hair and you can find more information about it in my article on how castor oil can improve and regrow your hair.
To make the coconut oil anti-itch scalp treatment even more effective, you can add a few drops of lavender oil. This will help to keep your scalp free from any infections that can cause itchiness.
Coconut oil is good not only for your scalp, but for your hair too, and I’ve already written about it in my article about the 8 ingenious ways to use coconut oil on your hair.
Jojoba oil can also be used to help relieve the symptoms of a dry and itchy scalp. Jojoba oil has also been used to treat other skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and chapped skin. In fact, the website WebMD reports that many people also use jojoba oil on their scalp to unclog hair follicles to encourage hair regrowth.11
If you want to get relief from an itchy scalp by using jojoba oil, you should gently warm 1 – 2 tbsp. jojoba oil in a bowl. Massage the oil into your entire scalp and then cover your hair in a warm towel and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse your hair with your favorite natural shampoo. Use the jojoba warm oil hair mask to moisturize your hair and get relief from an itchy and dry scalp.
Honey is one of the best natural ingredients for many skin problems, including an itchy and dry scalp. There have been many studies into the antimicrobial effects of honey and they have found that honey can destroy the bacteria and fungus that cause itching on the skin.
For example, a study published in the European Journal of Medical Research found that when honey was applied to the scalp as a hair mask once a week, symptoms of chronic seborrheic dermatitis improved.12 This means that honey can help to reduce itching, scaling, and dandruff when you apply it as a hair mask.
To make a honey hair mask to treat an itchy and dry scalp, do the following:
- Wash your hair and leave it damp
- Dilute raw honey with some warm water (about 90% honey to 10% water).
- Massage the honey into your scalp for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Cover with a warm towel and leave for 2 hours.
Repeat the honey mask treatment once a week and you should find that your symptoms of an itchy and dry scalp will be completely gone within a couple of weeks.
Yoga, Tai Chi and Other Forms of Exercise
If you have an itchy scalp due to psoriasis, you can try yoga or Tai Chi to improve your symptoms. The National Psoriasis Foundation reports that yoga and Tai Chi help you to control your breathing and manage stress better. This improves blood flow to areas that are affected by psoriasis.13
If you have never done yoga before and are interested in knowing some basic postures, you can find out more information in my article about yoga for complete beginners. There you can also watch a video so that you can have your first yoga class at home.
Don’t Use Chemicals on Your Hair
Many hair products contain various chemicals that can irritate the scalp, cause allergic reaction, redness and itchy scalp. Using natural products or homemade shampoo and conditioner can eliminate irritated and itchy scalp. Instead of using commercial shampoos you can easily use natural Castile soap to make your own shampoo.
Read my other related articles:
1. Why You Should Wash Your Hair With Apple Cider Vinegar
2. How to Use Rice Water for Gorgeous Hair and Skin
3. The Best Natural Oils for Your Hair
4. The 12 Best Natural Treatments for Dull Hair