The scalp is skin. Just like the skin on the rest of the body gets dry and itchy so can the scalp. Unfortunately, when the scalp becomes dry and itchy it often flakes. The irritating itchiness of a dry scalp coupled with the flaking can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Fortunately there are remedies available to treat specific types of dry itchy scalp.
Oftentimes if a person suffers from dry skin their scalp may also suffer from dryness. Dry itchy scalp is typically brought on from external factors such as the environment and products used on the scalp. The winter months often cause the scalp to become dry and itchy because the air is drier outside and indoor heating also is dry. All of the dry air your scalp is subjected to will eventually dry your scalp and cause irritation or itching. Also frequent shampooing and washing hair with soap can have the same drying effect.
Choose the Right Shampoo
Soap should never be used to wash the hair. The two main reasons for this is that soap is too drying for the scalp and it can leave a film on the scalp that will irritate it, hence soap definitely will give you a dry, itchy scalp. Shampoo should only be used to cleanse the hair. Try a moisturizing formula that addresses dry scalp issues if your scalp is dry with a mild itch. For dry itchy scalps that flake, a shampoo with zinc pyrithione or selenium listed as its main active ingredient should be used. Unlike other shampoos, a shampoo containing zinc pyrithione or selenium needs to be massaged into the scalp and left on it for several minutes. This gives the ingredient a chance to penetrate the scalp to relieve the itchiness and remove any flakes. A good length of time to leave the shampoo in is between five to ten minutes. After this rinse your hair and scalp thoroughly and follow with a complimentary conditioner or a moisturizing conditioner.
Moisturize the Scalp
For more severe cases of dry itchy scalp, the scalp will need to be moisturized at least twice a week. Tea tree oil is a known natural oil that relieves dry, itchy scalp and also provides protective moisture for the hair. Tea tree oil comes in a bottle that can either be poured into the hand or in a spray that can be sprayed directly on the scalp. Other natural and essential oils such as virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil also alleviate dry scalp but they are not as effective in relieving itch as tea tree oil is. These can be massaged directly into the scalp or used as a hot oil treatment. Sulfur based moisturizers or hair dressings relieve dry, itchy scalps. Sulfur 8 is a great scalp conditioner that cures dry, itchy scalp; however, the product has a strong sulfur odor to it.
Consult a Dermatologist
These remedies can solve the needs of most cases of dry, itchy scalp. However, if your dryness and itch are also accompanied by a rash or secretes any fluid when scratched, consult a dermatologist as you may have a condition that requires prescription medication. Remember that a healthy scalp promotes healthy hair, so take care of it.
Drugs.com. (n.d.). Selenium/Urea/Zinc Pyrithione. Retrieved August 2009, from Drugs.com: http://www.drugs.com/cdi/selenium-urea-sinc-pyrinthione.html
Home Remedies Web. (n.d.). Tea Tree Oil Health Benefits. Retrieved August 2009, from Home Remedies Web: http://www.homeremediesweb.com/tea_tree_oil_health_benefits.php
Mother Nature.com. (n.d.). Scalp Itching. Retrieved August 2009, from Mother Nature.com: http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/16/185.cfm