Do you get the need to scratch your scalp on a daily basis? It can feel soothing at first, but you end up with flaky skin and a sore head. On top of that, it looks like you have a dreaded case of the nits!
Itchy scalp is a condition that many people suffer from. They won’t have symptoms anywhere else on their body, and struggle to find anything that helps them solve the issues. On top of that, they have spots and swelling, looking like they’ve been bitten by insects.
So, what can you do? What options do you have when it comes to treating the condition? Can you do it from home? Here’s all you need to know about the home remedies for an itchy scalp.
What Is Itchy Scalp?
An itchy scalp is usually a symptom of another problem. You may have dry skin that has reached your head, or you suffer from psoriasis or eczema. Your head may have become irritated over time from something you’ve worn or excess sun exposure.
In the majority of cases, treating the condition will help you fight against the symptoms. But what happens in between that time? What do you do when you just need to treat the symptoms while you get help for the reason?
And what about when the itchy scalp isn’t a symptom? There are times that it is the problem itself that you need to treat. Those with itchy scalp will often have flaky skin, sores, and inflammation.
Before you even think about treatments, you need to know why the itchy scalp has appeared.
You Have Contact Dermatitis
One of the most common reasons for an itchy scalp is when you get contact dermatitis. Red and itchy scalps are just a symptom of the problem, and you usually get it because you’re suffering an allergic reaction to something or your skin have become irritable to something you are touching.
While you can get help to soothe the problem, the reason for it will usually go away on its own. This often happens when the skin hasn’t been in contact with the item it is irritable because of.
If you’re struggling to stop this, think about why it started in the first place. What did you have in your head to cause the irritation or allergy? It may be the material in a new hat or a change in shampoo or conditioner. Get rid of them and you will usually find the condition clears up on its own.
You Have Lice Infestation
Children get this a lot more than adults, but it can happen to anyone. Lice—whether body or head—can get into the hair and make a nest within the roots. The lice are tiny, and only visible when you’re looking for them. You’ll probably feel them before you see them.
The insects will bite the scalp, leaving painful spots and inflamed sections. You’ll have this intense itching, which doesn’t go away no matter how much you scratch.
You need to kill the lice and the eggs to be able to get rid of this infestation. Don’t worry, though. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dirty, as many lice like clean hair. It just means you’ve been close to someone else with lice.
You Have Ringworm
Ringworm is a condition that can affect the scalp and is a fungal infection. This will lead to the feeling to itchiness—just think of what most other fungal infections are like.
Your scalp will also have a scaly feel to it, and you’ll be able to see the textures forming in patches. These will be the itchiest sections, and scratching will just make the disease spread even more.
You’ll need to clear up the infection to stop the itching. The downside is that there’s no home remedy for this. The infection gets right into the roots of the hair, so you’ll need to see your doctor for help with this. You will be able to use home remedies to help soothe the itching symptom while you get medical help, though.
You Have Psoriasis
As mentioned, psoriasis is a common reason for an itchy scalp. This forms as patches of scaly and red skin on the hair, and it is extremely itchy because of the dryness. The downside is doctors don’t know why we get it. It’s an autoimmune disease too, which means our body can’t do anything natural about it to fight it off. We need to help it.
There are treatments over the counter, but you can also help to sooth psoriasis with natural methods. It depends on how serious the infection has become, and whether this is a genetic condition.
You Have Dry Skin
One of the easiest reasons for the itchy scalp to treat is dandruff. It’s also one of the most common reasons, so you aren’t alone.
You’ll know if you have dandruff because you’ll see the flaky skin in your hair. The dry skin is peeling away, making way for the fresher skin. The problem is this fresher skin is also dry. Because it’s so dry, you’re left with an itchy feeling.
Treating the Common Causes of Itchy Scalp
The cause will depend on the treatment, but in the majority of cases specialist shampoo is needed. These can be extremely affordable and common, especially when it comes to the likes of dandruff and head lice treatments. There are others that are more expensive due to the nature of the disease.
If you want to treat your itchy scalp, find out what is causing it in the first place. Sometimes it will require an official diagnosis, but you can rule out some of the others first to make it easier for your doctor. Do this when you believe dandruff or lice may be the reason.
With head lice, you can use a fine comb. Specialist options are made so the teeth are so close together that they catch the lice and the eggs. Keep brushing until you find no more of the critters, but do use it for around a week afterwards to make sure you didn’t miss an egg. You can also use a specialist shampoo to kill the living lice and wash out the eggs.
One of the conditions that you will need medical treatment for is ringworm. When it is just in the skin, there are topical lotions you can apply, but as we’ve mentioned in the hair, the disease gets into the roots. It’s impossible to clear up with shampoos and topical treatments. You need to get antifungal medication from your doctor to help.
Should You Worry About Your Itchy Scalp?
Apart from being irritating, itchy scalps aren’t usually a cause for concern. They’re nothing to worry overly about, apart from in a few circumstances.
If you find your scalp becomes sore to touch, this is a sign that the condition isn’t clearing up anytime soon or on its own. Another problem is if your head starts to leak pus or starts to bleed. There is a risk of infection, further inflammation, and other conditions.
If the itching is starting to take over your life, you’ll also need to get help. It shouldn’t keep you up all night and definitely, shouldn’t interfere with your work or school life.
Natural Remedies for an Itchy Scalp
While there are over the counter medications and shampoos that will help, many people want natural methods. The over the counter products can lead to allergic reactions and irritations due to chemical use!
That doesn’t mean all natural remedies will work. It will depend on the reason and any other conditions that you have.
Here’s A Look At The Natural Remedies For Itchy Scalp.
It’s Time To Relax
Did you know that some conditions can flare up because of stress and anxiety? Your hormonal changes can lead to changes in your skin and the cells in your hair. You end up with irritation, hives, and inflammation in some of the strangest of places.
Relaxing can be sometimes easier said than do. I’ve been there, and I completely understand. Whether it’s work pressures, home life, or our insecurities, we can be left battling the higher levels of cortisol in our bodies. We end up dealing with the aftermath of our stress levels being so high.
At least this aftermath is more cosmetic than anything else.
Take a deep breath and find ways to relax the body and mind. Some favourite options include warm baths with essential oils like lavender and sandalwood, or just getting some time to yourself to read a book.
If you find that you stress over things that you can’t control, make an effort to stop worrying. What’s the point in worrying about something that you have no control over? Deal with the consequences or situation afterwards, when you do have some control.
Change Your Diet
Like your stress levels, your diet can have an effect on your scalp. This will likely have an effect on other parts of your body too, especially when allergies are playing a part.
A lack of vitamins or minerals can lead to skin irritation. It’s not getting the vitamin C and antioxidants it needs to find against inflammation and various conditions, so you’re left the deal with the side effects.
Certain foods can also help to calm an itchy scalp by eating rather than applying topically. Try adding more bananas, oranges, and lemons in your diet. Start your morning with lemon water for a cleaning effect every day.
Zinc is another mineral to get more of throughout the day. This has naturally healing properties and is great for soothing rashes and inflammation. You can also apply it directly as cream if you need to.
Don’t forget to make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydrated bodies will get moisture from anywhere it can. Your scalp doesn’t need water as much as your organs, so the body will take it from there and leave you with flaky and red skin. Get at least two litres of water a day, more if you live in a hotter place or do a lot of exercises.
Dry Your Hair Thoroughly
You’re in a catch-22 situation when you have wet hair. You want to avoid using too many hot products that can cause damage to your hair, but you also need to get your hair dry as soon as possible to prevent itchy scalp!
The problem with dampness is that it can lead to a build-up of oils and product in the hair, leading to itchiness and dryness. You can even stop oil production because your hair starts to wonder if you need it!
If you are going to use hair dryers, make sure you apply some product to protect your hair from the heat.
When your hair is dry, brush it throughout the day. Just two times a day, when you get up and before you go to sleep, will help. When the hair releases the oil, the brushing will spread it through the hair. This can reach parts of the scalp that don’t usually get the oils, and prevent it drying out.
You’ll also find brushing will remove the dead hairs and cells. This can stop some inflammation and irritation, helping to reduce itchiness.
Avoid brushing too much. While you want to help spread the oils, spreading them too much will lead to your hair looking much greasier than it should!
Avoid Alcohol Products
Alcohol is an ingredient that just dehydrates the body. By applying products with any alcohol into the hair, you just help to dry out the scalp even more. This just leads to your scalp being itchier than it needs to be.
If you’re going to use over the counter medications and shampoos, check all the ingredients. If there is anything like ethanol in the ingredients, but them back on the shelves and look for something else.
When you have no choice because the alcohol helps to kill off an infection, make sure you do extra work to condition your scalp. You can use natural oils to avoid counter-reactions in the hair.
Using Oils to Improve Scalp Dryness
With the most common reason for itchiness being a dry scalp, it makes sense to improve this condition. In fact, even when your itchiness is a symptom of a problem, using oils can often help to soothe it while you get the treatment for the condition.
Opt For Coconut Oil
You can really use any oil you want to improve your dry scalp condition. Coconut oil is one of the most preferable because it has so many other health conditions. When kept at room temperature, this will usually be a solid, so it will often be like placing wax or hair gel into your hair. Massage it into your scalp to help get into the flaky sections and improve the look and feel.
Coconut oil is a great option for those with eczema and psoriasis. The downside is those who suffer from nut allergies. This is why almond and peanut oil are sometimes avoided. Avocado oil will offer many of the same benefits as coconut oil.
Why Not Tea Tree Oil?
When coconut oil is an option, why not try tea tree oil? This is powerful for moisturising, as well as fight against inflammation, bacterial and fungal infections. If you have ringworm, it can work with the prescription medication to tackle the infection quicker, so you get respite from the itchy scalp and get rid of the condition at the same time.
Just drop a couple of drops of the oil into some vegetable or olive oil. Massage it all into your scalp, so you can get the oil right into your hair follicles to give it a fighting chance against the fungal infection.
You’ll need to use this method for a couple of weeks to see it working.
You can also add drops to a baby shampoo of your choice. This will allow you to use it easily daily, and the hot water in the shower will open your pores to make it easier to get into the follicles.
The benefit of washing your hair with some added oil is that it leaves your hair looking luxurious and healthy. It can also help to boost natural oil production, fighting against dandruff and dry skin.
Opt For Jojoba Oil
Another oil to consider is jojoba. The structure of this is very similar to the natural oil your head will make, which helps to make it the most natural option to improve dry skin. It is highly effective, and will rejuvenate your hair and skin. Your hair will be stronger than ever before.
You can use the oil on a nightly basis, massaging it directly into your skin. The best option is to leave it in the hair while you sleep and then wash it out the next morning. Do it every night for a week and then see how your natural oil production is improved.
This is great if your itching causes problems overnight. You should soothe the dryness enough to help you sleep.
Other Natural Home Remedies for Itchy Scalp Treatment
There are some products that you’ll hear are excellent for dryness and itchiness, and they’ll also help you when that dryness and itchiness is in the hair. The benefit is that they will also protect the hair, and can help to make your locks stronger, thicker and glossier.
Start With Aloe Vera
Let’s start with this natural, anti-inflammatory plant. The juice from aloe is full of vitamin E and other essential vitamins that help to boost natural oil production and fight against bacterial and fungal infections. At the same time, it will moisturise your skin to help ease off itching and irritability.
You can use the gel straight from an aloe leaf. There are also products that you can buy with aloe vera already in them, such as gels and creams.
Using the juice is going to be much easier. You can place the juice straight into baby shampoo to wash with it on a daily basis. You can also pour it right into your hair and massage it into your scalp. The length of time you leave it will be up to you. Some like to leave it overnight, but you can wash it out after 20 minutes.
Try it once or twice a week for a few months to see the benefits.
Fight With Apple Cider Vinegar
Who would have thought vinegar would help ease itching? Apple cider vinegar is a special case because of its anti-inflammatory properties. If your issue is linked to a virus or yeast, you can fight it without the need of medication.
You’ll also find that the pH levels in your skin are balanced. This can sooth some irritation and itchiness while easing inflammation and redness.
You’ll need to apply it to clean and dry hair. Mix water and the vinegar together in equal parts and pop into a bottle. Either spray it into your hair or apply to a cotton ball so you get it straight onto the infected areas. The cotton ball is great if you’re fighting yeast and fungal infections.
Wrap your hair in a towel for around 20 minutes and then wash out. You’ll only need to do this twice a week to see results.
Place Lemon Juice In Your Hair
Another option is one that you likely already have in your cupboard. Pull out a lemon for the antiseptic properties and add some more vitamin C to your hair. You can just add more lemon to your diet, or you can apply it topically.
When opting for using it topically, massage the juice of a lemon straight into your hair and leave for about 10 minutes. Add a bit of lemon juice to some water for rinsing the lemon juice out and then go about your day.
Do watch out if you have cut your scalp because of scratching or you have open bites. The lemon juice will sting. If you didn’t realise there were sores and it’s started stinging, rinse it out right away.
You can dilute some of the acidic nature of the fruit with yoghurt. This can also be good for those with fungal infections, as the yoghurt has good bacteria that gets into the roots and fights against fungi. Just make sure you fully wash the yoghurt out afterwards to avoid it curdling.
If you have dark hair, and you want to keep that colour, or you regularly colour your hair, you’ll want to find a different option. The lemon juice lightens hair naturally. Those who don’t mind lightening their hair will still need to watch out in the sun. A long exposure can damage it and dry out the scalp!
Now it’s time to try out the natural methods to treat itchy scalp. Don’t feel like you have just to put up with it. If you know that it’s not a symptom of a more serious condition, most natural remedies will fight against the itching. Otherwise, they’re great ways to soothe the symptoms while you fight the infection or disease.