Scalp pruritus, known as itchy scalp, is a common condition. There’s a wide range of causes. Dandruff (caused by dry, oily skin) and an inflammatory skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis are the most common causes of an itchy scalp.
Seborrheic dermatitis can be the result of stress, seasonal changes, fluctuating hormones, or an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. Dandruff can be caused by a scalp that’s too dry, oily hair, and a variety of skin conditions.
Other causes of itchy scalp include:
- autoimmune disorders, such as psoriasis
- fungal infections, such as tineacapitis, or ringworm
- allergic reaction to a product such as hair dye
- atopic dermatitis
- head lice
- stress or anxiety
- herpes zoster, or shingles
Some causes of itchy scalp require medical treatment. See your doctor if your symptoms:
- last longer than a week
- include pain, sores, or swelling
- include itching so intense it interferes with your ability to sleep or function
Home remedies to treat an itchy scalp:
- Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an anti-inflammatory and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can help reduce itching caused by dry skin. Try diluting apple cider vinegar in warm water and using it as a rinse after shampooing to alleviate dandruff and an itchy scalp.
- Organic coconut oil
Organic coconut oil is extracted from mature coconuts. It contains lauric acid, a saturated fat that has antimicrobial properties. Lauric acid is also a soothing treatment for an itchy scalp.
- Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil may be effective at reducing dandruff and soothing the scalp, settling the itch. Try diluting it with another oil, such as olive oil, and massaging it into the scalp before shampooing. You can also use peppermint tea as a rinse after shampooing.
- Tea tree oil
An essential oil available at health food stores, tea tree oil has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties. It also has anti-inflammatory effects. Tea tree oil can be irritating to the skin, so it’s important to use it sparingly or dilute it prior to use.
Try adding 10 to 20 drops of tea tree oil to a gentle shampoo or mix it with olive oil and massage it directly into your scalp.
It may not surprise you that activities which reduce stress, such as meditation, may be effective at eliminating itchy scalps caused by anxiety. It may also help reduce itching due to eczema. Meditation can be tried alone or in conjunction with other itchy-scalp remedies. If you’re new to meditation, try taking a class or listening to a meditation tape, app, or podcast.
- Aushair Hair & Scalp Tonics
Australian Hair & Scalp Clinics has been providing relief for sufferers of itchy scalp for a number of years. After having an initial examination with their Trichologist to determine the cause and severity of your condition, they can provide a plant based treatment solution to reduce symptoms. The wonderful thing is that the treatments are non toxic and very well tolerated.
Scalp itch is a common complaint with multiple causes. It can often be treated at home, but sometimes requires a more clinical type of treatment. If your symptoms don’t dissipate easily or within a few weeks, talk to your doctor about the underlying cause of an itchy scalp and how best to treat it.