Seborrheic dermatitis, commonly called dandruff, is the primary cause of an itchy and dry scalp. Dandruff is most common in adults between the ages of 30 and 60; however, babies also experience a form of itchy, dry scalp called cradle cap. Dandruff caused by dry, irritated skin, or allergy to hair products is harmless and easily treated. Dry and itchy scalp caused by psoriasis, eczema, or fungus are more difficult to treat.
Tea Tree Oil
Place a few drops of tea tree oil into your regular shampoo if your dandruff is caused by a dry scalp, eczema, or psoriasis. Tea tree oil will calm and moisturize the scalp. Tea tree oil can be found in most drug stores and is relatively inexpensive. There are over-the-counter products containing chemicals such as salicylic acid or tar that are effective. However, tea tree oil is much less expensive, smells better and works faster.
The Problem with Products
If tea tree oil does not solve the problem, try switching hair care products. Alcohol is often the first ingredient in hair care products and can be very drying on the scalp. However, fatty alcohols such as the stearyl and cetyl variety can moisturize the scalp and decrease itchiness. Avoid products with ethanol, another type of alcohol, because it is drying. Allergy may be a contributing factor as well. Changing to hypoallergenic products should resolve the situation.
See the Doctor
If you cannot cure your itchy and dry scalp on your own, have a doctor check you for a bigger problem such as a fungal infection. The fungus malassesia is present on all human scalps. However, this fungus flourishes rampantly on some scalps. If this is the case, the doctor may recommend or prescribe a Ketoconazole shampoo, namely Nizoral, to quell the fungus.
Care for Your Scalp
Hydrate your skin by using a cool mist humidifier. This will assist in moisturizing your scalp. Don't wash your hair too often. Shampooing removes the natural oil from your scalp. Instead, brush your hair more often. Brushing your hair stimulates oil production. Protect your scalp from the sun by applying sunscreen, or wearing a hat if you plan on being out doors for more than 15 minutes.