How to Treat a Dry Scalp

by Sarah Harding ; Updated July 18, 2017

A dry scalp may cause some itching.

Cameron Whitman/iStock/Getty Images

Dry scalp can cause itching, irritation and excessive dandruff. It may be chronic and sometimes can be seasonal. Dry scalp is not a serious condition, but it can be bothersome. There are many ways to treat the ailment, including home remedies and commercial products specially made to treat the condition. Daily treatment may improve the moisture of the scalp and reduce any symptoms associated with dry scalp.

Wet your hair in the bath or shower. Pour a quarter-sized drop of hydrating shampoo into your palms. Use water as cool as you can stand; hot water can be drying to the skin and scalp.

Massage the shampoo into your scalp and hair. Rinse thoroughly.

Shampoo your hair daily, even if it's with a normal shampoo product. Experiment with different commercial products, including tar-based shampoos for stubborn dandruff, if you also have dandruff.

Seal in moisture with a hydrating hair conditioner. This can be a dandruff, psoriasis or normal hair conditioner that you apply to the hair and leave for several minutes before rinsing. A leave-in conditioner product may also help lock in hydration of the hair strands and may help moisturize your scalp.

Reduce the number of products you use to style your hair -- they can lead to dry scalp. This is especially true for products containing alcohol or fragrances.

Perform a weekly moisturizing treatment on the scalp by applying a moderate amount of extra virgin olive oil. Warm the oil slightly in the microwave and let it sit on your scalp for 20 minutes. Brush your scalp before shampooing the oil out.


  • Try different shampoos until you achieve the results you desire.

    Persistent dandruff can be the result of an underlying condition like psoriasis or eczema. These ailments require different treatment products and sometimes prescription strength treatment.

    If you have excessive dandruff, choose a shampoo with one of the following active ingredients: zinc pyrithione, tar-based, selenium sulfide or keotconazole.

Photo Credits

  • Cameron Whitman/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Sarah Harding has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000. She has consulted in various settings and taught courses focused on psychology. Her work has been published by ParentDish, Atkins and other clients. Harding holds a Master of Science in psychology from Capella University and is completing several certificates through the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.