Skin conditions such as head lice, dandruff, allergies or psoriasis cause a dry, itchy scalp. Scalp skin itches for the same reasons other skin itches, like a person's use of drying products, temperature changes, and lack of moisture in the body. Many causes of dry itchy scalp can be treated at home with natural remedies and over-the-counter products.
Harsh soap and shampoo cause dry itchy scalp. Never use bar soap to clean the scalp or hair. Use a pH-balanced shampoo containing mild cleansers and moisturizers. For special scalp comfort, look for shampoos and conditioners containing vitamin E and aloe. Discontinue harsh chemical treatments for the hair like permanents or bleaching and switch to milder hair coloring methods such as semi-permanent colors.
Drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods. Low moisture in the body translates to low moisture in the skin, including scalp skin. Protect the scalp from the weather by wearing a hat in direct sunlight or harsh winds. Both sunburn and wind chapping can cause dry itchy scalp. Run a humidifier in your bedroom to add extra moisture to the air, especially during winter months.
Treat the scalp with extra virgin olive oil. Massage it into the scalp, then leave it on the hair for 30 minutes while wearing a shower cap. Shampoo away the olive oil, and repeat the treatment once per week as needed.
If lifestyle changes don't improve or eliminate the dry itchy scalp, you may suffer from a skin condition such as dandruff. Use an over-the-counter dandruff shampoo to cut down on dandruff. Leave the shampoo on for at least five minutes to give the active ingredients time to work on the scalp. Use the dandruff shampoo every day until you see improvement in the dandruff, then try cutting back to two or three times per week.
Allergies can cause dry itchy scalp. Try taking an antihistamine or rub antihistamine cream on the affected area. Cream containing hydrocortisone relieves inflammation and itching from allergies or environmental irritants.
Head lice causes dry itchy scalp. To check for head lice, look for the tiny white nits, or eggs, where the shaft of the hair meets the scalp. If head lice is detected, use a special shampoo according to package directions to eradicate the lice. After shampooing, use a specially designed comb to pull nits from the shaft of the hair.
See a doctor to determine whether you need prescription medication to alleviate the dry itchy scalp. If lifestyle and over-the-counter remedies have failed, it's possible that a medical condition such as psoriasis, ringworm or eczema is responsible for the dry itchy scalp.