It is a well-known fact that almost everyone has experienced an itchy scalp at one time or the other. An itchy scalp can be so embarrassing, this is due to the fact that irrespective of your location or time, once the itching starts, you go ahead and relieve yourself by scratching the affected area. Often times, it happens subconsciously. A person suffering from itchy scalp will find it challenging to go about his/her everyday life activities. However there are home remedies for itchy scalp.
In this article, we will be discussing what itchy scalp means, its causes and treatment.
WHAT IS ITCHY SCALP?
Itchy scalp, also referred to as “Scalp pruritis” is a well-known condition. Itchy scalp is said to be experienced when people constantly scratch their head as a result of terrible itching. A person suffering from itchy scalp will really find it difficult to hide the urge and feelings of scratching their scalp for relief. Although some people scratch their heads while thinking or trying hard to remember something, this is quite different from itchy scalp. There are various reasons why you might experience an itchy scalp. Itchy scalp can be as a result of underlying health condition.
It is essential to know the cause of your itchy scalp because this will enable you to understand the effective home remedies for itchy scalp treatment to go for. However, treating itchy scalp in a wrong way can help worsen the itching. In order to know the cause of your itchy scalp, it is essential to know your scalp type and signs & symptoms. This will enable you to treat your itching in the right way without worsening the problem.
CAUSES OF ITCHY SCALP
In order to stop itchy scalp, it is important to know its causes. However, there are several conditions that can cause itchy scalp. Itchy scalp can be accompanied by hair loss and a crusted blistered scalp.
Common causes of itchy scalp will be discussed. They are discussed below.
Dandruff which is clinically known as “Seborrheic dermatitis” is a common cause of an irritated, flaky and itchy scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by an overgrowth of Malassezia yeast. Although, Malessezia yeast is always present in all scalp and other hairy parts of the body. However, too much of Malassezia yeast ( when they are overpopulated) on the scalp leads to itchy and flaky scalp thereby causing Dandruff. Dandruff can also occur as a result of stress and fluctuating hormones.
The clinical word “Seborrheic dermatitis” means oily skin reaction. Seborrheic is used when describing an oily skin while “dermatitis” is used when describing a skin reaction. In this case, dandruff is said to thrive on oily scalps. People with oily scalp thereby tend to have dandruff because Malassezia yeast thrives in oily scalp. Dandruff is present in all oily hairy area including eyebrows. Apart from an oily scalp, dandruff can also be seen on too dry scalp. Dandruff can be itchy and when scratched, white flakes can be seen to fall off the scalp. Dandruff is treatable by using anti-dandruff shampoos.
Ringworm is a fungal infection which can infect the scalp. It tends to extend deep into the hair follicle. Ringworm is also referred to as “Tinea capitis”. The term “Ringworm” is used to describe Tinea capitis because of the patterns it makes on the skin. Also, ringworm doesn’t imply that ringworm is present in your skin.
Ringworm is said to be similar to dandruff because it is also caused by a fungal infection. The fungus is called “Trichophyton rubrum”. When scalp ringworm is left untreated, it can cause significant loss of hair and it is contagious. Trichophyton rubrum which is the fungus that caused ringworm is also present in the hair follicle and on the scalp. It is advisable to get it treated when sighted. Although a person infected which this infection won’t be able to see it on their own, unlike dandruff that can be seen as a result of white flaky. If ringworm is present in your hair, it is likely to be red and you will also have an intensely itchy rash.
When the presence of ringworm is noticed, go and meet your health provider for proper treatment and also avoid sharing hair comb to prevent its transmission to others.
Scalp psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder. Psoriasis occurs when the immune system triggers too much skin cells to grow on different parts of the body. This includes your scalp. The symptom is similar to that of dandruff and ringworm. Scalp psoriasis is usually itchy, ranging from low to intense. Psoriasis is not dandruff, however, people suffering from psoriasis are likely to have dandruff. Psoriasis can lead to dryness of the skin on the scalp and scaly. People suffering from psoriasis are likely to suffer from temporary hair loss and it is a contagious scalp disease.
This is also one of the skin conditions that make your scalp itchy and flaky. Eczema is commonly seen in babies and children scalps which cause red, itchy and dry skin on the scalp. Its complication includes infection of the skin, as bacteria can easily breach broken skin. Eczema is said to be a common scalp disease and it may run in families (i.e parents that have suffered from eczema during childhood or adulthood, are likely to have children with the same condition).
Allergies, stress, sweat, dust, and heat can also cause eczema.
5. HEAD LICE
The most noticeable symptom of head lice is an itchy scalp. Head lice are often seen in people with poor hygiene and few in people with good hygiene. People that have head lice on their head tend to have intense itching. When you think that the cause of your itchy scalp is likely to be caused by head lice, ask someone to examine your scalp closely. They are tiny eggs (nits) that are attached to each strand of hair. They are similar to dandruff, but they can’t be easily shaken off like dandruff because they are glued to the hair shaft. Adult lice can also be seen moving around the head but they seem hard to locate than the eggs. It is important to get rid of the lice in other to get rid of the itch.
People with sensitive skin often suffer from allergic reaction also known as “contact dermatitis”. There are different type of scalp, one scalp is often seen to be sensitive than others. Some people’s skin may react to certain products while some don’t show any reaction. There are many popular irritants, sensitizers found in shampoo, styling products, and hair sprays.
Some people’s skin tends to absorb irritants, sensitizers, and allergens quickly. Skin is usually good in keeping things out. However, when the skin accidentally absorbed some substances, the skin immune function is altered. When the skin dictates some dangerous substance, inflammation is triggered to execute the foreign substance. Inflammation can result in mild or intense itchy scalp.
Regardless of where you have it, dry skin is usually itchy. It is good to keep skin hydrated in order to avoid itchy skin. Hydrated skin is able to keep allergens, irritants, and sensitizers out. Dry scalp or any other part of the skin that is dry is usually itchy and inflamed. Dry skin is defenseless against foreign bodies.
Also Dry scalps are often dry, itchy and flaky.
Scabies is caused by a harmful microorganism called “The Human Itch Mite”. When these mites burrow into your scalp, this can cause itchy scalp. Itch is the common symptoms shown by people suffering from scabies and the itching is usually intense at night. Scabies is a contagious disease and can last for years if not treated.
9. PRODUCT BUILD UP
Hair styling products are a major cause of product build-up, most especially the one containing silicones. Product build-up can make your scalp dry, red, itchy and irritating.
When you are using a hair product that contains silicones, it makes your hair smooth and shiny at the beginning; however as the time goes on if not properly washed out, they make hair limp, and dull.
Product build-up can affect the scalps in a natural way of shedding. It is possible to lose skin cells every day from your scalps, arms, and face. When a layer of silicones is present in any part of the skin, most especially the scalp, the natural shedding cycle is altered. The scalp is likely to be dry, flaky and itchy.
Also, product build-up is capable of trapping irritants, allergens, and sensitizers close to scalp. The longer the irritants, allergens, and sensitizers are trapped in the scalp, the more they cause scalp itchy.
People who use styling products regularly, most notably the one with silicones, can cause product build-up and itchy scalp.
Also, when shampoo is used and not thoroughly rinsed off, it can cause a scalp irritation resulting in a dry, flaky and itchy scalp.
An itchy scalp can be as a result of a nerve problem. An intense itchy scalp without any signs of the flaky or dry scalp can be caused by nerve problems. It is important to see a doctor as soon as it is known that the cause of the itchy scalp is as a result of nervous problems.
Also, an itchy scalp can be as a result of skin cancer on the scalp. It is important to see a doctor in order to carry out a proper test on the skin in other to know whether it is caused by skin cancer or another disease.
TREATING AN ITCHY SCALP
An itchy scalp can be treated only when the cause has been identified. In some condition, a medicated shampoo and herbal hair cream can help put a stop to itchy scalp such as the dry scalp. However, when an itchy scalp is caused by psoriasis, head lice or eczema, you might need to contact your health care center to prevent further complication.
HOME REMEDIES FOR ITCHY SCALP
Coconut oil is natural oil and it is usually extracted from mature coconuts. This oil contains lauric acid. Lauric acid is a saturated fat that contains antimicrobial properties. Lauric acid helps the skin to absorb coconut oil and this makes the hair to be smooth and shiny and prevent itchy scalp.
Coconut oil helps to fight against itchy scalp and protect the scalp from head lice, dandruff, and insect bites. Coconut oil is one of the effective home remedies against itchy scalp.
HOW TO USE COCONUT OIL ON ITCHY SCALP
The best way to use coconut oil to treat dandruff is to use it in place of conditioner and shampoo.
- Put coconut oil on your palm and rub your palm together
- Apply it directly to your scalp and massage thoroughly till it is evenly distributed on your scalp.
- Let it sit for at least 10 minutes to give it the chance to penetrate into your hair and scalp
- Then rinse off thoroughly with warm water.
OTHER BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil is a good moisturizer and also helps to reduce protein loss in the hair which enhances hair growth. It also prevents hair breakage and split ends thereby contributing to the hair length.
Coconut oil is not only good for our hair it is also good for our diet. Coconut oil helps prevent high blood pressure and heart disease. It is high in saturated fats, which helps to boost HDL cholesterol to prevent heart disease and also lowering high triglycerides. Coconut oil helps change bad cholesterol to good cholesterol.
It also helps eliminate toxic substances in the body and helps with food digestion. Coconut oil is rich in antioxidant and is known to slow down the aging process. It is also good for skin treatment, most notably in treating wounds, dermatitis, and burns. It serves as a moisturizer to the skin and also acts as a sunblock. Lauric and caprylic acid present in coconut oil reduce inflammation under the skin and promote fast healing when there is an injury.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (ACV)
Apple Cider Vinegar has anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is made from apples, using fermentation method enriching it with live cultures, acids, and minerals. This is another one of the effective home remedies for itchy scalp.
Apple cider vinegar has benefits. One of them is hair wash to improve health scalp, strengthen hair and smooth and shiny hair. It is used to reduce itchy scalp as a result of dry skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar as an antimicrobial helps to control fungi or bacteria that can cause itchy scalp and hair problems.
Apple Cider Vinegar is rich in minerals and vitamins which are good for hair such as vitamin B and C. It also contains hydroxyl acid which exfoliates the scalp and anti-inflammatory properties which help cure and prevent dandruff.
HOW TO USE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR ON ITCHY SCALP
- Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in warm water.
- Wash your head with shampoo and conditioner and with warm water thoroughly before applying the mixture to your hair.
- Pour the mixture into your scalp and distribute evenly before massaging it thoroughly on your scalp.
- Allow it to sit for at least 15minutes before you rinse it out with warm water.
3. PEPPERMINT OIL
Peppermint oil contains a compound called menthol. Menthol is the key behind the effective work of peppermint oil. Peppermint is effective at reducing dandruff and soothes the scalp and reduces the itch. It is one of the effective home remedies for itchy scalp. Peppermint has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and vasodilator properties.
It is used to prevent hair loss because of the menthol in the peppermint oil which is also a vasodilator. Vasodilators improve blood flow and circulation.
HOW TO USE PEPPERMINT OIL ON ITCHY SCALP
- Mix 2 tablespoons of peppermint oil to 2 tablespoons of any essential oil of your choice. Olive oil or coconut is a great choice.
- Massage the oil on your scalp gently and make sure it is evenly distributed
- Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before you rinse it out
- Rinse it out with warm water or use peppermint tea.
TEA TREE OIL
Tea tree oil is an effective and natural treatment for itchy scalp. It is one of the home remedies for itchy scalp. It has anti-fungal, anti-microbial and antiseptic properties. When your itchy scalp is caused by dandruff also known as “Seborrheic dermatitis, tea tree oil will help to control Malassezia yeast population because Seborrheic dermatitis is caused by an overgrowth of Malassezia yeast. Tea tree oil can also help to get rid of head lice when head lice are the cause of the itching. Also, if product build-up or dry scalp causes itchy scalp tea tree oil can help to lessen scalp irritation.
HOW TO USE TEA TREE OIL ON ITCHY SCALP
Make a tea tree oil hair spray
Add 3 tablespoon of tea tree oil in a spray bottle and a small quantity of warm water. Shake vigorously to allow the water and the oil to be mixed together. Spray this mixture on your scalp and massage thoroughly on your scalp so that your scalp will be able to absorb the mixture. Let it sit for some time before you rinse it out.
Mix tea tree oil with coconut oil
Coconut oil is a form of natural treatment for dry scalp on its own. Coconut oil is also a natural anti-bacterial. Add 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a bottle. Shake the bottle vigorously and apply the mixture to your scalp, massage the mixture on your scalp thoroughly. You can rinse it out with warm water after 15 minutes or leave it.
Tea tree oil helps to reduce and eliminate itchy scalp caused by dandruff, head lice, and some other fungal infection.
Selenium sulfide is an anti-infective medication. It is used to treat seborrheic dermatitis. Selenium Sulfide slows than the growth of Malassezia yeast on the scalp. It is available both in lotion and shampoo and is effective home remedies for itchy scalp.
HOW TO USE SELENIUM SULFIDE ON ITCHY SCALP CAUSED BY DANDRUFF
- Wet your hair with warm water.
- Apply enough 2 tablespoons of selenium sulfide shampoo or lotion the scalp.
- Massage the lather on your scalp gently
- Allow the lather to sit on your scalp for 2 to 3 minutes
- Rinse out thoroughly
- Reapply the selenium sulfide lotion or shampoo again and rinse well
- Wash your hand very well after the treatment
Use / carry this out twice a week or as directed by your physician.
Salicylic acid is an effective home remedies for itchy scalp caused by seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) and Psoriasis (autoimmune disorder). This is a beta hydroxyl acid present in evergreen leaves and white willow tree bark. It can also be found in certain foods such as peanut, blackberries, and walnuts.
Salicylic acid has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also exfoliates the skin, which makes effective for the itchy, flaky and irritating scalp.
Shampoos containing salicylic acid are good for treating itchy scalp and also prevent hair loss.
HOW TO USE SALICYLIC ACID ON ITCHY SCALP CAUSED BY DANDRUFF AND PSORIASIS
- Wet your hair with water
- Apply salicylic acid shampoo to your scalp
- Make sure the lather are evenly distributed
- Massage your scalp thoroughly
- Rinse out with warm water.
Salicylic acid shampoo will strip away the outermost layer of epidermis, thereby allowing the flaky white substance or dead skin to be washed off from your scalp.
ZINC PYRITHIONE SHAMPOO
Zinc pyrithione shampoo is used for itchy scalp caused by dandruff. This shampoo helps reduce the level of histamine on the scalp and also reduce intense itchy scalp. It also reduces Malassezia yeast growth that causes dandruff and itchy scalp. It is also an effective home remedies for itchy scalp caused by allergies.
HOW TO USE ZINC PYRITHIONE SHAMPOO ON ITCHY SCALP
- Wet your hair with warm water
- Apply Zinc Pyrithione shampoo to your scalp
- Make sure the lather are evenly distributed
- Massage your scalp thoroughly
- Rinse out with warm water
- Let your hair dry and then apply any essential oil of your choice.