Effective Remedies for an Itchy Scalp
Do you have a persistent scalp itch, even when it’s not winter and even after using dandruff shampoo? This can be a symptom of many conditions – from everyday dandruff to head lice. Most of these conditions can be treated by means of medical or natural itchy scalp remedies at home, without the necessity to visit a doctor.
According to the Mayo Clinic team, a dry itchy scalp may be the common symptom of different skin infections and may be revealed through such signs as:
- Damaged hair.
The most available options for the treatment for a dry scalp are a good old shampoo, hair masks and scrubs, antimicrobial therapy, the intake of steroids, and specific diets. An itchy scalp treatment can be successful only if you know what’s caused it. While the wrong treatment may even worsen the itchiness and dryness of your scalp.
5 most common causes and treatments of an itchy dry scalp
White flakes – dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis
According to WebMD, these are the most common itchy scalp causes. Dandruff and the more serious forms of seborrheic dermatitis can develop due to the inflammatory response to yeast overgrowth on the scalp. This yeast may cause an itchy flaky scalp with white skin flakes falling from your hair.
How can you treat this condition: For mild-to-moderate cases of dandruff, it may be enough to use any over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo. Usually, these shampoos contain Zinc Pyrithione and Selenium that may be a great itchy scalp relief because of the yeast control. For treating more serious cases, you may need to use a topical cortisone, anti-fungal shampoo, medicated solution, foam, ointment, or cream.
Serious autoimmune disorder – psoriasis
A chronic autoimmune disease, which may lead to reddish, raised, scaly, and itchy patches on the scalp, is called psoriasis. This is not an infectious condition, but you may have psoriasis if someone in your family has it.
How can you treat psoriasis? For a dry scalp treatment, you may need medical assistance and to treat it with daily use of over-the-counter medical shampoos with salicylic acid and coal tar.
Nasty fungus – tinea capitis
One of the most common fungal infections that may infect the scalp is tinea capitis, also known as ringworm. The trick is that this fungus may spread deep into the hair follicles, leading to round patches of hair loss extending in size over time. One of the first symptoms of ringworm is black dots.
How can you treat ringworm? Oral antifungal remedies can be helpful but their use should be controlled by a healthcare specialist.
Parasites – head lice
It is a common mistake to think that only children have head lice. In fact, lice can infect any scalp, despite your hygiene habits. You can spot these nasty parasites through the tiny nits (eggs) attached to hair strands. They may seem like dandruff, however, you can’t shake lice off that easily. Sometimes, you can notice adult lice moving around on your head.
How can you treat head lice? Over-the-counter shampoos containing Pyrethrin or Permethrin can easily remove adult lice and nits from your scalp.
An allergy to products or hair dyes
Yes, using all those hair dyes can be harmful not only for your hair structure but also for your scalp. Allergic reactions to shampoos, hair dyes, gels and other cosmetic products are revealed through the itchy scalp, dry skin, sores, and inflammation.
How can you treat allergic reactions caused by cosmetic products? Allergies can be diagnosed and treated only by a health care specialist. Forgo self-treatment if you suspect an allergy to a certain product – rush to a dermatologist.
Expert tips for preventing scalp itch
You may save yourself from all these annoying and frustrating conditions and the necessity to use drugs or cosmetic products by preventing a dry scalp in the first place. Check the following expert tips given by the teams of Prevention.Com and WebMD:
Your brushes and combs should be clean!
This minimal personal hygiene habit is essential if you want to prevent an itchy scalp. Also, it is important to avoid using other people’s combs and brushes because of contagious skin conditions. Clean your comb and brush with warm water daily.
Regular scalp masks can be your saviors!
Have you ever tried a natural or conventional scalp mask? If not – what are you waiting for? Those itchy scalp sufferers who want to save money can prepare their homemade scalp masks with avocado, honey, and banana. These components can do some phenomenal things to your hair and scalp. For example, honey can quickly heal any scalp wounds and help fight against most bacteria and fungi.
No chemicals for your hair!
Organic is not just a hot beauty and health trend. Using organic hair products instead of chemical and detergent filled shampoos can rejuvenate your hair in just a few weeks if not days. Homemade conditioners and shampoos made purely of organic components are much less likely to trigger allergic reactions and may work as miraculous dry scalp remedies. Your hair may become shiner, moisturized, nourished leading to quicker growth and volume.
Stay away from infection triggering foods!
Flare-ups of Candida and similar fungi can be triggered by poor nutrition. If you are prone to fungal scalp infections, consider changing your diet. Experts recommend avoiding inflammatory foods as gluten, processed sugar, soy, dairy, alcohol, peanuts. Instead, try adding more antifungal foods to your diet like apple cider vinegar, avocado, banana, ginger, flaxseed, coconut oil, and garlic.
When should you worry about an itchy head?
Relax, because in 90% of cases, the cause of a dry flaky scalp that makes you itchy is not serious. However, there are some situations when you need to see a dermatologist:
- When every over-the-counter shampoo for an itchy scalp you used was ineffective or worsened the symptoms;
- The itching makes you wake up at night and restricts your habitual daily activities;
- You have noticed lice in your hair – consider visiting a doctor to prevent them for good;
- The itchy spots are sore to touch.
All these signs of an itchy scalp can be dangerous but if you bring them to a dermatologist, the success of the treatment will be certain. Even if you have head lice, don’t be ashamed to see a specialist, especially if you have kids who may get infected as well.