If you’ve ever dealt with an itchy scalp, you know how irritating it can be. It’s difficult to treat, and it can be hard to diagnose the root cause of the problem. Largely, this is because can make the scalp itch, including infections from lice, fungi, or bacteria, or conditions such as psoriasis or excessive sweating. And each of these conditions needs to be treated differently.
is the most common cause of an itchy scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis begins as an overproduction of your body’s natural oils, called sebum. Microbes feed on these oils, secreting oleic acid in the process. Too much of this acid irritates the skin. This irritation kills some skin, which then makes more grow (in a manner similar to how the hand will form a callous). This overgrowth, death, and shedding of skin cells is one cause of dandruff. Other causes may be reactions to seasonal changes, yeast overgrowths, stress, and hormones.
If you’re suffering from an itchy scalp, keep in mind that it may go away on its own, without treatment. Or, it may go away after switching detergents, shampoos, or other detergent-heavy cleaners. In other cases, an itchy scalp may be an indication of a larger medical problem, such as shingles or diabetes.
If you suffer from an itchy scalp that is affecting your quality of life, don’t hesitate to see a medical professional. But if your itchy scalp is more of an annoyance than an interference, then try some of the natural remedies we’ve listed below!
There are many essential oils that you can use to treat itchy scalp. Argan oil, carrot seed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, and olive oil all contain some of the vitamins and minerals necessary to keep the scalp healthy. And different oils have different properties – therefore, consider your symptoms when choosing a natural oil to treat your itchy scalp.
One of our favorite natural remedies is coconut oil. “We tend to over-shampoo our hair,” , with DryScalpGone.com. “When we do that, we strip it of its natural oils, drying out both our hair and scalp. And the dryer a scalp is, the itchier it is.” Coconut oil not only returns essentials minerals to our hair and scalp. It also acts as a natural moisturizer, soothing a dry scalp. Moreover, it contains lauric acid, which has some antimicrobial effects.
To apply coconut oil, heat it lightly (rubbing between your hands will do!) and apply it all over your hair and scalp once or twice a week. After each application, give your scalp a gentle massage. It can be left in overnight, but should be rinsed out in the morning.
Due to its acidity, lemon juice boasts natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This can help reset the scalp’s pH, cut some of the oily build up, and kill some of the more common .
Either fresh or bottled juice can be used. To apply, either use a cotton ball and gently dab, or put the juice into a water spritzer. After leaving it in for up to 30 minutes, you should use warm water to rinse it off. This can be repeated daily, as needed. Be warned, there is a potential that lemon juice can lighten hair!
Not only does Aloe vera act as a natural moisturizer, but it’s also an excellent . In the cycle of oil production -> fungal growth -> skin die-off -> and skin-overgrowth, the anti-inflammatory properties of Aloe vera work at the ‘skin overgrowth’ stage. By calming the inflammation caused by the acidic secretions of your scalp’s microbes, Aloe also diminishes the body’s signals that more skin is needed to protect the area from infection.
Aloe won’t be as effective at killing microbes as some of the more acidic items on our list. But, by stopping the over production of skin cells, you can effectively starve the microbes that might be at the source of the problem. In time, this will bring their number down to a healthier level.
Aloe’s major strength lies in its ability to moisturize the hair and scalp, while also strengthening hair and promoting growth. While Aloe is available in bottles, we find that applying the gel directly from the leaf is best. Simply rub it in. Leave it on your scalp for 20 minutes, and then rinse out with lukewarm water and a gentle shampoo.
Like many remedies on our list, is acidic, making it an antimicrobial. And killing the microbes that cause dandruff is of course an effective strategy!
Many people who consider this remedy worry about the strong smell of onion juice. And it can be concerning. Mixing onion juice with tea tree oil, coconut oil, or other strong, essential oil cuts down on the oniony smell while still bringing the benefits.
You can make the onion juice by squeezing it from a peeled and grated onion (chopping words, but not as effectively). Use a cotton ball to apply. After about 30 minutes, you should use shampoo and lukewarm water to rinse the onion juice – and its smell! – out. As with our other more acidic remedies, treat every few days at most to avoid irritation.
is produced as a natural pesticide in the seeds of the neem tree. It has a pungent, sulphuric smell, and has been used as a natural remedy for many conditions for hundreds of years. It’s used in a wide variety of products, from toothpastes to skin creams.
But pure neem oil is potent stuff. It can irritate skin and eyes, and should be mixed with another oil before application. Coconut oil is a good choice, and Aloe vera works well, too. Other oils can also be used, but because neem oil is strongly anti-microbial, we don’t recommend adding it to lemon or onion juice, or other acidic oils.
Because of its potency, neem oil is a great choice for clearing infections of the scalp. Simply add it to your favorite carrier oil, massage it into your scalp, and leave it in for up to 20 minutes; rinse with warm water and a mild shampoo. It’s possible to be allergic to neem oil, so watch for redness or irritation. As long as you don’t show symptoms, this application can be repeated once or twice a week.
There are many awesome natural remedies for itchy scalp. But if you try some of these and nothing seems to work, it’s probably a good idea to follow up with your dermatologist. An itchy scalp and dandruff can be annoying – but when they get severe, they can lower a person’s quality of life. As Dr. Linda White says, “Don’t let a dry, itchy scalp ruin your life.”