Dry Itchy Scalp: 14 Common Causes with Treatment

Have you ever experienced a dry and itchy scalp? Itching, dryness, peeling, and inflammation of the scalp usually occur when the skin’s natural moisture balance is disturbed.

Dry and itchy scalp is embarrassing and often causes discomfort. There are many reasons for this. It may be related to skin conditions such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, or other factors such as aging. Understanding the causes of dry and itchy scalp is the first step to solve this problem. This article discusses 14 common causes of dry, itchy scalp with treatment.

Dry Itchy Scalp
Dry Itchy Scalp

14 Common Causes of Dry Itchy Scalp

1.Wash too much

Studies have found that daily shampooing can destroy the natural oils on the scalp that need to retain moisture. This can cause the hair to dry out, become brittle, and eventually break. Another obvious sign of over-cleaning hair is a dry, irritated, or itchy scalp.

How often you wash your hair will generally depend on your hair type. People with thin hair may need to wash it several times a week, while people with thicker hair may only need to wash it once a week. You can consult your dermatologist to determine how often to wash your hair.

2. Weather change

Weather change is also one of the main causes of dry scalp. In the cold winter, dry air can cause a lack of moisture in the hair and scalp. This can cause itchy, peeling, and irritation of the scalp.

You can use a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air or use warm water instead of hot water in showers to keep your skin and scalp moist. However, don’t stay underwater for a long time. It will deprive the skin of natural oils. You can also use a mild moisturizing shampoo to wash your hair in the bath.

3. Scalp psoriasis

Psoriasis is a kind of scaly patches on the skin’s surface caused by the rapid reproduction of skin cells. Psoriasis is often related to a weakened immune system. Usually, psoriasis will appear on your hands, feet, back, inside nails, neck, face, and ears.

In some cases, psoriasis can also appear on the scalp and cause itchy scalp. For mild scalp psoriasis, you can try medicinal shampoos containing coal tar to relieve itching. If the symptoms are not relieved after a period of use, you need to consult your doctor.

4. Dandruff

Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as seborrhea, is a common skin condition that can cause redness, itching, and skin peeling. When it affects the scalp, it is called dandruff.

A dry and itchy scalp often accompanies dandruff. If you often see white scales on your hair or clothes, you may have dandruff.

You can use a dandruff shampoo containing salicylic acid or ketoconazole to remove them if you have dandruff.  But don’t use it too much, once or twice a week is enough.

Read the instructions on the bottle carefully before use. If dandruff shampoo does not relieve symptoms, please see your dermatologist immediately. You may need to treat skin diseases to get rid of dandruff.

5. Eczema

Eczema is a common skin disease that can cause your scalp to be dry, itchy, and cracked. It is very common for people with allergic reactions. Weather changes, cleansers, and stress can cause eczema patches to form on your scalp. You need to avoid irritating shampoos or other products that can cause symptoms.

6. Hives

Hives are red, raised, and very itchy bumps. It can form anywhere on the skin, especially the face, arms, and scalp. Hives tend to come and go over a period of time. Sometimes, Hives will suddenly disappear and then come back. If Hives go back and forth for more than a week, they are called chronic hives. You need to consult a dermatologist for medical help.

7. Haircare products

Have you noticed itchy and peeling scalp when using certain shampoos, soaps, or other products? This may be an allergic reaction caused by contact dermatitis.

To treat contact dermatitis, you need to find the product that caused the reaction. Try to cut one thing at a time to see if your symptoms are lessened. After finding the cause, get rid of it completely. You can also put a cool, wet towel on the scalp to relieve itching. In addition, you can also apply cortisone anti-itch cream.

8. Head lice

Head lice are a nasty little bug that lives in the hair. It can cause an itchy scalp and dry head. You can carefully observe the scalp and hair through a magnifying glass to see if there are signs of these small bugs. If you find head lice, you can try home remedies such as tea tree oil, mayonnaise, neem oil, vinegar to get rid of them.

9. Scabies

Scabies is a symptom caused by a small bug called a mite. These mites can get into your scalp and cause it to be dry and itchy. This itching is often so severe that it prevents you from falling asleep. In addition, you will find some small red bumps on the scalp.

To relieve itching, you should consult your dermatologist. Scabies requires prescription drugs for treatment.

10. Nervous problems

If you do not have a rash or other skin problems but still have severe itching of the scalp. This may be caused by nerve damage, neurological disease, or abnormal nerve functioning. Both shingles and diabetes can cause these neurological problems. You need to consult a dermatologist to find the source of the problem to solve it.

11. Scalp ringworm

Ringworm is a red and severely itchy rash caused by a fungus. Scalp ringworm can cause swelling, hair loss, and severe itching of the scalp. To treat the ringworm of the scalp, you can take oral antifungal drugs.

The most commonly used drugs include terbinafine and binafine. You can also wash your hair with a prescription-strength shampoo, which will help remove fungal spores. But remember to use it under the guidance of a doctor.

12.Skin cancer

Skin cancer can also cause redness, itching, and cracking of the scalp. If you have severe symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

13. yeast-like fungi

Yeast-like fungus, also called Malassezia, is a fungus that lives on the scalp. In some cases, it can cause an overgrowth of skin cells. Excess skin cells that die and fall off will appear white and flaky. The cause of this symptom is not clear, but it is related to the high alkaline pH of the scalp. This happens when using hair care products to remove acidic sebum.

14. Lifestyle and diet

Some bad lifestyle habits, such as chemical hair dyeing, keratin care, and drying every day, can cause damage to the scalp and reduce moisture in the scalp.

Poor diets such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also cause itchy scalp and dandruff problems. Especially when you lack zinc and B vitamins in your diet, dandruff is more likely to occur.

How to Prevent Dry and Itchy Scalp 

Many home remedies can help you relieve the symptoms of dry, itchy, and flaky scalp. In addition, you’d better develop some habits to prevent these symptoms from reappearing.

1. Choose the right shampoo

Some hair care products and shampoos can irritate your scalp, making it dry and itchy. Make sure to choose a shampoo that has moisturizing properties and does not dehydrate the scalp. If you have dandruff, choose a shampoo that contains these ingredients, including salicylic acid, ketoconazole, coal tar, selenium sulfide, and zinc pyrithione.

2. Drink plenty of water

Lack of moisture in the skin can cause dry and itchy scalp. Drinking 8 glasses of water a day can effectively help the scalp retain moisture.

3. Use a humidifier

Dry air is one of the causes of dry scalp. You can consider using a humidifier in your home or office, which can help restore moisture to your hair and scalp.

4. Improve your diet

Diet can affect the health of the scalp and hair. To ensure your body is provided with the nutrients it needs for health, and you can supplement zinc, vitamin B, and certain diets that contain specific fats. Avoid eating sugar and high carbohydrates that will cause the yeast on the scalp to increase, resulting in flaky scalp peeling.

5. Avoid using hair dye

Avoid using any industrial hair products and hair dyes. These products can irritate the scalp and cause dandruff and itchy scalp.

6. Eliminate allergens

If you have eczema, try to figure out the allergens and eliminate them.

7. Deal with stress

Excessive stress can cause insomnia, depression, and dandruff problems. You can try exercise or yoga to help get rid of stress and depression.

8. Avoid sun exposure

Excessive sun exposure can cause dry and itchy scalp. You can wear a hat to block the sun.

A dry and itchy scalp is a common problem. Some natural remedies can help you get rid of this problem. However, if you have psoriasis, Nervous problems, hives, you’d better consult a doctor to find the root cause and treat it accordingly.

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