An itchy scalp is not only a source of discomfort, it is also an embarrassing situation, and in extreme causes, poses a health risk to your skin. There are many causes of an itchy scalp, and these range from dry skin, excessive dandruff, fungal infections, yeast infections, ringworm and even parasites found in the scalp. The most common parasite that causes an itchy scalp is lice.
If the scalp is excessively itchy, it may be attributed to the presence of psoriasis, a skin disorder which manifests as large scaly patches of extremely dry skin. Other less serious causes of an itchy scalp may include poor skin hygiene, improper cleaning techniques as well as accumulation of excessive dirt from the external environment. Poor nutrition has also been shown to cause itchiness of the scalp, particularly if your diet is lacking in Vitamins B and D.
A visit to the doctor will more often than not result in the prescription of anti-fungal medication and skin care products. The good news is that there are several natural remedies which you can use to improve the condition of your scalp and help deal with the itchiness. Best of all, perhaps, is the fact that many of these natural ingredients are available in your kitchen. So the next time you have an intense urge to continually scratch your scalp, the answer may just lie in your kitchen cabinet.
1. Tea Tree Oil:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Tea tree oil, shampoo or tea tree oil and your choice vegetable oil.
Tea tree oil works as an excellent remedy for the treatment of an itchy scalp because it contains natural anti-fungal properties that help deal with the causative agent of the condition. This oil also has great anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the inflammation and reddening of the scalp. In addition, the anti-bacterial properties help reduce the risk of bacterial infections, making the oil an all-round excellent remedy. There are two ways in which you can use tea tree oil: either by mixing with baby shampoo and following your hair cleaning routine or by adding to vegetable oil and using to massage the skin as described in the steps below.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a cup of shampoo and mix evenly.
- Use the mixture to clean your scalp and rinse as you normally would. Regular use of this remedy goes a long way in treating an itchy scalp.
- The other option involves mixing three drops of the tea tree oil with your choice vegetable oil. You will then massage your scalp with this mixture at least once daily. You should start to note an improvement in the condition of your scalp within the first two or three weeks.
2. Lemon Juice:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Freshly squeezed lemon juice, warm water, shampoo OR lemon juice and yogurt.
Lemon juice is an effective treatment for an itchy scalp because it contains citric acid whose antiseptic properties have been shown to get rid of the itchiness. In addition, if your scalp has a lot of dandruff, you may want to add a little more of the lemon juice and use it on a regular basis. Yogurt on the other hand is included in this remedy to enhance the antiseptic properties of lemon juice while hydrating the scalp and preventing the formation of dandruff.
- Apply the freshly squeezed lemon juice on your scalp and massage it in gentle motions to allow for the absorption of the juice.
- Let the juice stay on the scalp for about 10 minutes, and rinse it off using warm water.
- Follow your normal shampoo routine and make sure to moisturize your scalp on drying.
- Alternatively, add the lemon juice to half a cup of yogurt and mix properly. Apply this mixture to your scalp and rub it in to enhance absorption of the remedy. Let the mixture stay on for about 10 minutes before proceeding with your natural wash routine. Use this remedy daily until the itchiness subsides.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Unrefined apple cider vinegar, a spray bottle, cotton balls, water.
Unrefined apple cider vinegar , abbreviated ACV, has excellent benefits on the skin, and this is what makes it an ideal option for the treatment of itchy skin. One of the reasons why ACV is used is because it has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that not only take away the discomfort, but also prevent the escalation of the condition. The alkaline nature of the vinegar helps get rid of the yeast and the fungi that is responsible for the itchiness. In addition to this, the ACV achieves a balanced pH on the scalp, which in turn goes a long way in preventing the scalp from drying out.
NB: The use of refined ACV is discouraged due to the presence of chemical additives.
- Wash your scalp and rinse well before allowing it to dry.
- Place half a cup of ACV in a cup and mix it with an equal amount of warm water.
- Transfer the mixture to a spray bottle and spray it onto your scalp, using the cotton balls to ease the process.
- Let the solution sit on the scalp for a few minutes and follow this through with your normal shampoo routine. Repeat this procedure thrice weekly for the best results.
4. Coconut Oil:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Coconut oil, shampoo, warm water.
Coconut oil is an efficient remedy in the treatment of itchy skin. When applied topically, the oil settles on the scalp and creates a film or layer of sorts that acts as a barrier thus preventing itchiness. In addition to this, the oil also hydrates the scalp, in effect preventing the skin from drying. Coconut oil is also laden with good fats that help nourish the skin. The beauty about this remedy is that it can easily be incorporated into your daily hair routine.
- Place 3 drops of coconut oil on the palms of your hands and massage on your scalp.
- Let the oil remain in the scalp for ten minutes.
- Wash off the oil using your normal shampoo routine and dry. Repeat this procedure thrice weekly for best results.
- Alternatively, melt the coconut oil in a water bath and mix it with an equal amount of shampoo before washing as normal. Avoid heating the coconut oil directly as this destroys the potency of the oil.
5. Jojoba Oil:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Jojoba oil
Jojoba oil is an excellent moisturizer, and this is why it is used in the treatment of an itchy scalp. In addition, the molecular makeup of jojoba oil is quite similar to that of the skin’s natural oil known as sebum. When applied on the scalp, the oil prevents the formation of dandruff, making it an excellent way of hydrating the skin. The advantage of using jojoba is that its application is quick and effortless, and can easily be made a part and parcel of your daily skin care routine.
- Place a few drops of the jojoba oil on the palms of your hands and massage on your scalp.
- Let the jojoba oil remain on the skin overnight for best results (this means that the remedy is best applied at bedtime).
- In the morning, follow your normal shampoo routine and dry your hair accordingly. Repeat this procedure at least twice weekly until the itchiness subsides over a significant period of time.
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Two ripe bananas, a ripe avocado, shower cap, pestle and mortar.
The solution to an itchy scalp could be tucked away in the popular ‘go bananas’ slogan. This delicious fruit is not only beneficial for your digestive system, it is also an effective solution to itchiness on the scalp. Bananas soothe the scalp and nourish it, thus eliminating the dryness and flaky skin that accompanies an itchy scalp. Avocado is added to the banana paste as it acts as a moisturizing agent, keeping the scalp hydrated too.
- Peel the two bananas and chop them into small pieces.
- Mash the banana pieces to create a smooth paste and do the same for the avocado.
- Apply this paste on the scalp and massage in well. If you would like, you could also apply the paste on your hair as it acts as a natural hair conditioner.
- Let the paste sit on the scalp for 30 minutes preferably covered under a shower cap before shampooing and rinsing as normal.
7. Hot Oil:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Olive oil, three drops of honey, shampoo, warm water.
Olive oil is an excellent moisturizer, which then makes it ideal for itchy scalps. When heated, the change in temperature goes a long way in improving the benefits of this remedy, thus promoting speedy recovery. The oil’s properties reduce dryness on the skin and lock in the moisture, thus promoting hydration. Adding honey to the olive oil is intended to enhance moisturization as well as prevent the occurrence of scalp infections.
- Place some olive oil in a bowl and warm it in a water bath. Avoid heating the oil directly as this alters the structure of the oil, and makes it less potent.
- Once the olive oil has warmed, add a few drops of honey and stir to mix evenly.
- Massage the mixture on your scalp in gentle motions.
- Clean your hair and scalp following your normal shampoo routine, and make sure you moisturize your skin afterwards to seal in the effects of the remedy.
8. Aloe Vera Gel:
Time Required: 25 Min
What You Need: Aloe vera leaf, knife and bowl OR aloe vera gel obtained from the store. You will also require shampoo and warm water to go with your choice set of the two aloe gel options.
The benefits of aloe vera are as diverse as skin conditions are, which is why it is little wonder that this is one of the best natural treatments for an itchy scalp. Anti-puritic properties present in the gel help soothe the scalp by reducing the itchiness. The presence of glyocproteins in aloe gel helps create a protective layer on the skin, while moisturizing it to prevent dryness. The gel’s antibacterial and antifungal properties are a great line of defence against fungal infections and the proliferation of yeast on the scalp, effectively dealing with the causative agents of the itchy scalp.
In addition to this, aloe vera gel also contains enzymes whose action on the scalp enhance the removal of dead cells on the skin, in effect reducing the formation of flaky skin. By promoting healthy tissue through exfoliation, aloe gel is ranked as one of the most effective home remedies for dealing with an itchy scalp. Plus, if you have hair, aloe gel ensures it remains smooth and strong.
(If you are using store-bought aloe gel,skip step 1 in the directions below)
- Cut the aloe leaf open along the mid area in order to collect the gel from the exposed part of the leaf and transfer it to a bowl.
- Clean your scalp using your preferred shampoo to ensure that the aloe gel is not applied on a layer of dirt and dead skin cells.
- Scoop a tablespoon of the aloe vera gel and massage it on your scalp.
- Allow the gel to sit on your scalp for about 10 minutes to allow proper absorption.
- Rinse your hair as you normally would.
Other home remedies that you can use to treat an itchy scalp include sesame oil which soothes the scalp, onion juice which stimulates circulation of blood as well as lavender oil. It is important to incorporate hygienic practices that compliment the use of the home remedies. This means combing hair regularly to prevent the build up of dead skin cells, using alcohol-free products and overall reducing stress levels. Overall, a proper diet is also key to a healthy scalp, so add fruits and vegetables to your daily food intake.