An itchy scalp is a frequent symptom of scalp pruritus. There are several causes. The most prevalent causes of itchy scalp are dandruff and an inflammatory skin disease known as seborrheic dermatitis.
Stress, seasonal changes, changing hormones, or an overgrowth of yeast on the skin can all cause seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff can be caused by a dry scalp, greasy hair, or a range of skin disorders.
Other factors that contribute to an itchy scalp include:
- autoimmune diseases like psoriasis
- fungal infections.
- allergic reaction to a product such as hair dye
- atopic dermatitis
- head lice
- stress or anxiety
- herpes zoster, or shingles
Some reasons for the itchy scalp necessitate medical attention. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- last for more than a week
- include pain, rashes, or swelling
- include severe itching that interferes with your ability to sleep or operate
There are some home treatments that may be useful for itchy scalp that does not require medical attention.
1. Apple cider vinegar
2. Organic coconut oil
Organic coconut oil is derived organically from ripe coconuts. It possesses antibacterial characteristics due to the presence of lauric acid, a saturated fat. Lauric acid aids in the absorption of coconut oil by the skin. As a result, it is a calming therapy for itchy scalp.
Eczema-related itching scalps may benefit from coconut oil. It may also be beneficial in the treatment of head lice. A 2010 research looked at the therapeutic properties of coconut oil combined with anise. Researchers discovered that this combination was more effective than permethrin, a lice treatment, at delousing and eliminating scalp irritation.
3. Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil may be useful for eliminating dandruff and relaxing the scalp, as well as relieving itching. Before washing, dilute it with another oil, such as olive oil, and massage it into your scalp. Peppermint tea can also be used as a rinse after shampooing.
It may come as no surprise that stress-relieving activities, like as meditation, may be useful in treating itchy scalp induced by worry. It may also assist with eczema itching.
An Emory University study on meditation and its effect on eczema found that this age-old technique may enhance itchy perception by offering a coping mechanism and a sense of control. Meditation can be used on its own or in conjunction with other itchy scalp treatments. Try attending a class or listening to a meditation cassette, app, or podcast if you’re new to meditation.
5. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil, which is available at health food stores, has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic effects. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well. Tea tree oil may be irritating to the skin, so use it carefully or dilute it before applying it.
Try mixing 10 to 20 drops of tea tree oil into a mild shampoo or mixing it with olive oil and massaging it into your scalp. Tea tree oil can help relieve irritation caused by dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and head lice. Tea tree oil should never be used orally.
6. Zinc pyrithione shampoo
A major study discovered that patients with dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis have more than double the quantity of histamine on their scalp skin than those who do not have itchy scalps. The study looked at the effect of zinc pyrithione shampoos on histamine levels. Participants who used zinc pyrithione shampoo for scalp itch saw a substantial reduction in histamine levels and itch severity.
These shampoos are widely accessible at drugstores and other retail establishments. Because the quantity of zinc pyrithione in each shampoo varies by brand, you may need to try a few to discover the one that works best for you.
Daily shampooing may give the most itch alleviation for certain people. Others may find this excessively drying on their scalp. They may discover that bathing their hair every two or three days, rather than every day, provides better relief from scalp irritation. This shampoo may be useful for persons who have itchy scalps as a result of allergies, which cause a rise in histamine levels. Zinc pyrithione inhibits yeast development in addition to being an anti-histamine. This is one of the causes of seborrheic dermatitis.
7. Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid shampoos are beneficial in treating itchy scalp caused by psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid found in the bark of white willow trees and evergreen leaves. It is anti-inflammatory as well as antibacterial. It can also cause skin exfoliation, which may make it especially useful for the scaly, itching regions associated with psoriasis.
Shampoos containing this chemical may vary in potency, so check labels and follow usage directions carefully. Some salicylic acid shampoos need a mild massage into the scalp during usage, which should be done daily or almost daily. Shampoos containing this chemical are available at health food shops, online, and in drugstores. Anyone who is allergic to aspirin should avoid using salicylic acid.
8. Ketoconazole shampoo
Ketoconazole is an antifungal drug with a broad range of action. It works well at reducing Malassezia yeast. This is a fungus that can overgrow on the scalp and produce Malassezia folliculitis, often known as scalp psoriasis. It is available on prescription and as a component in certain shampoos.
Ketoconazole shampoos may help with dandruff, scaly areas, and seborrheic dermatitis irritation. Ketoconazole as an active component in shampoos may range from 1% to 2%. They may necessitate alternative application strategies, like as everyday shampooing or every other day shampooing. Ketoconazole should not be used on open wounds or inflamed skin.
9. Selenium sulfide
Selenium sulfide is an anti-infective treatment for seborrheic dermatitis. It helps by inhibiting yeast development on the scalp. It comes in shampoo and lotion forms. It can be prescribed by your doctor or available in pre-packaged items.
For prescription-strength selenium sulfide, the suggested dosage is twice weekly for the first two weeks, followed by once-weekly usage for up to one month. Follow the label directions if you’re using a store-bought product containing selenium sulfide. If you experience irritation or if your symptoms worsen, discontinue use.
Are there any dangers or negative effects?
If your symptoms persist or worsen, see your doctor about medical treatments. These may be more efficient.
Essential oils and shampoo active components might aggravate swollen or damaged skin. Use no substances to which you are allergic. Do not use any product on children unless you have received permission from their physician.
Scalp itch is a frequent ailment that has several origins. It is frequently treatable at home, although it can occasionally necessitate medical attention. If your symptoms do not go away quickly or within a few weeks, consult your doctor about the underlying cause of your itchy scalp and how to cure it.