A dry, itchy scalp is rough to deal with, especially due to the unpleasant sensation that it constantly leads to. Continuing to itch your scalp throughout the day is also quite off-putting, which is why it is necessary to look for solutions that help you deal with this condition.
Fortunately, there are numerous remedies and solutions that you can attempt at home without needing any special or rare ingredients.
Along with this, taking regular measures to keep your hair and scalp healthy will help you avoid this condition altogether, although there are some cases where you might need to consult a medical professional.
This article will take you through some ways to deal with a dry, itchy scalp while also helping you understand some causes behind it.
What Causes Dry Itchy Scalp?
A dry scalp and itchy scalp are two different conditions that may bother you. However, more often than not, the two tend to occur at the same time, resulting in a combination of problems that may then lead to itching, burning, redness, hair fall and an unpleasant sensation.
A dry, itchy scalp can also end up impacting the overall appearance of your hair, especially if it lasts for too long.
Generally, a dry scalp occurs due to a loss or lack of moisture in your scalp, while an itchy scalp (scalp pruritus) occurs due to dandruff, inflammation, sensitivity and more. Dryness can also often lead to itchiness.
To understand some potential causes of a dry, itchy scalp in further detail, take a look at the following points.
- Dandruff: Dandruff occurs when the skin of your scalp starts scraping and flaking off. This results due to oiliness, seborrheic dermatitis, poor washing practices, fungi and more and can often result in itchiness, sometimes even drying the scalp out a bit.
- Lice: Lice are tiny insects that may enter your hair and lay eggs on your scalp. These lice usually spread as a result of contact with other people or animals that also have lice. If you have lice in your hair, they are bound to result in plenty of itchiness and dryness.
- Hives: Allergies typically causes hives, although there might be other environmental triggers like stress, weather changes, chemicals and more that might result in these red and itchy rashes. Hives can sometimes affect your scalp as well, which is one possible cause of a dry, itchy scalp.
- Skin Diseases: There are various skin conditions and diseases that might end up affecting your scalp. Examples include eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, diabetes, fungal or yeast infections, scalp ringworm and solar keratosis, among others. Some of these can get quite serious and require medical attention.
- Stress/Anxiety: If you are facing a stressful situation, prolonged stress or suffering from anxiety, you might find yourself itching your scalp often. This is referred to as a psychogenic itch, usually occurring due to the hormonal changes your body may experience.
Sometimes, a light itch due to a different reason might also aggravate due to stress or anxiety.
- Unsuitable Hair Products: Hair products sometimes have harsh chemicals and ingredients in them that may dry your scalp out by removing some of the natural oils present on it. Some might also have allergens that may worsen the issue for you.
- Lack of Moisture: Dryness and consequent itchiness are quite commonly caused due to a lack of moisture in your hair and on your scalp. This can be a result of the dry air around you or a lack of hydrating ingredients in the products you use. Frequent usage of heating tools can also lead to this.
- Insufficient Brushing: It is important to comb or brush your hair on a daily basis to ensure proper circulation in your skin and scalp while also spreading the natural oils around. This also helps clean the scalp of dust that may otherwise cause irritation.
Insufficient brushing can limit these benefits and lead to a dry, itchy scalp.
- Climate: If you live in a dry climate or if the current season is too dry, this might explain why your scalp is feeling dry and itchy. The moisture and natural oils in your scalp might disperse due to the impact of the heat and temperature. Some extra moisturizing and hydration are important here.
- Careless Washing: Whether you wash your hair too little or too often, you are likely to experience a dry, itchy scalp. The former causes too much oil build up while the latter removes the moisture from the hair and scalp.
- Aging: Aging and dryness tend to go hand in hand. If you are growing older, you might have noticed that your skin has been drying out a bit. This also extends to your scalp.
How to Deal with Dry Itchy Scalp
There are several ways in which you can get rid of or temporarily manage the dryness and itchiness that you might be feeling. Take a look at a few of these below and try them out on your own.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is full of benefits in terms of its acidic level, antibacterial properties, anti-inflammatory action and antifungal impacts. It can reinvigorate your scalp by preventing itching and dryness due to their function against fungi and bacteria. It is also likely to add a bit of smoothness to your hair.
To use apple cider vinegar, mix a small amount of it with some warm water and wash your hair with this solution right after you shampoo your hair. Do this a couple of times a week until the itchiness reduces.
Baking soda is often used as a cleaning product. Its mildness and safety levels make it possible to use it on your dry, itchy scalp too. All you need to do is mix a couple of large spoons of the baking soda with some water and then apply it to your scalp. Wait for a few minutes before you wash this out of your hair.
Doing this will allow the baking soda to improve the condition of your scalp, clear out the excess oil and reset some of the natural acidity of the scalp.
If you have some coconut oil at home or are able to purchase or make it, you should definitely consider applying it to your hair. The lauric acid present in this coconut oil will help your scalp take in the oil properly. This oil will further help clean out your scalp and nourish it. It is also extremely useful for combating lice.
Simply take some coconut oil into your palms and rub your hair and scalp with it. Keep it for a few hours before washing it off.
Essential oils are usually full of antibacterial and antifungal properties while also being excellent for cleaning. Some essential oils that are particularly useful for your scalp are peppermint oil and tea tree oil, since they can nourish and hydrate your scalp considerably.
Mix a few drops (around five or so) of either oil with some olive oil and massage it onto your scalp. Leave it for a few minutes or even hours before you shampoo. Doing this once a week should help reduce the dryness and itchiness.
Squeezing out some lemon juice and mixing it with some warm water will give you a solution that you can rub onto your scalp. Leave it on for a few minutes before you rinse it off with some nourishing shampoo.
Since lemons are citric and contain a high acidic content, the juice will help enhance the acidity of your scalp, thus getting rid of the microbes that might be causing the dryness and itchiness.
You can try this out once a week until the itchiness reduces, but note that this is not too useful in the long run.
Avocados can hydrate and moisturize your scalp while also having an antioxidant impact on it. To use these, remove the skin and seed and soften the meat. You can also add one or two bananas to enhance the impact.
Rub this mixture throughout your scalp and roots and give it up to an hour to work its magic in your hair. You can then wash it out. Do this around once a week if the itchiness persists.
If these remedies do not work, the issue might be a result of a skin disease or scalp condition. In this case, the best thing for you to do here is to visit a dermatologist or your doctor and ask for guidance on what you can do. You might need a diagnosis before the dermatologist provides you with some medicines or treatment options.
This should ideally do the trick, although it might take a while for you to see permanent results.
Since stress and anxiety can lead to dryness and itchiness too, it might help you to relieve your stress when this kind of situation arises. Make sure you have a few techniques that help you alleviate your stress.
Examples of such techniques include meditation, exercising, taking a walk, listening to music, taking a bath, and more. These should provide a temporary solution to your dry, itchy scalp as well as your stress.
Preventing Dry Itchy Scalp
What you saw above was a list of some methods of managing an already existing dry, itchy scalp. However, if you want a more permanent solution that will help you prevent this condition in the first place, you will need to start incorporating the following steps into your regular routine to start seeing results.
Wise Shampooing and Conditioning
You should shampoo and condition your hair regularly, but this does not mean that you do it every day. Doing it about two times a week is ideal so that you can replenish the scalp and nourish the hair.
Washing it daily is definitely harmful to your hair and is probably a glaring reason why your scalp might be dry and itchy, although oily hair might need more frequent washes.
Make sure you always follow up your shampooing routine with some conditioner.
Suitable Hair Products
The products that you apply to your hair should be of good quality while also being safe to use. This includes your shampoo and conditioner, with some recommended ingredients being zinc pyrithione, ketoconazole, salicylic acid and more.
Apart from these, products like hair serum, cream, spray, mousse and holding agents should all have healthy ingredients instead of harsh chemicals that can damage your hair and scalp. Make sure you read their ingredients properly before buying and use them only when required.
Stress tends to result in many physiological changes and impacts, one of which includes a dry, itchy scalp. In combination with the other methods here, it can also help to take steps to manage and reduce your stress and anxiety by forming a regular routine that works well for you.
Seeking therapeutic support is also something you should consider if these standard practices are not enough at combating chronic stress. Managing your emotions better and getting your hormones back to normal will help your scalp to a major extent.
To deal with the dryness of your scalp, you should take steps to hydrate it either using oils or hair masks. Use these regularly to ensure that your scalp receives the assistance it needs to stay healthy.
Importantly, make sure you drink enough water so that you can maintain the levels of water that your body normally requires. This will end up hydrating the rest of your skin, including your scalp, so that a bit of natural replenishment takes place.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle to improve your overall bodily condition. This will then ultimately also improve the condition of your scalp and hair. A healthy lifestyle includes eating healthy food and maintaining a balanced diet, exercising often, limiting how much you smoke and drink, and taking care of your mental health.
Note that there are times when the medication you take might also result in a dry itchy scalp as a side effect, in which case you should consult your doctor.
If the climate you live in tends to be dry and arid, make sure you take some steps to increase the humidity levels inside your own house. This involves installing and using a humidifier so that your hair remains healthy, hydrated and nourished.
This will also result in an improvement in your general health and well-being. At the same time, however, do not overdo it with the humidity as this might result in excess moisture retention and health concerns.
If you have a tendency to use heat tools like hair dryers, blow dryers, straighteners, curling irons or wands, you might need to make a conscious effort to reduce their usage. The excess heat from these tools combined with the products you use with them can end up damaging your hair and scalp to a significant level.
If you absolutely need to use them, make sure you buy a good heat protectant.
A dry, itchy scalp can be the result of various reasons and factors, including changes in your lifestyle and weather. No matter what the reason is, it is possible to take some simple steps and introduce them to your routine to obtain the right results and maintain them for a long time.
Note that there are times when a dry, itchy scalp might be the result of a more serious condition, in which case the best solution is to seek medical treatment and support.