Woman looking in mirror at her scalp
Hair Care | Dandruff

Dry Scalp: All you Need to Know

Most people experience a dry scalp at some point in their lives, but when it’s persistent and super itchy, it’s time to take action. Find out what causes the problem and what you can do to care for a dry scalp and stop the itch.


Our scalp is protected by an outer layer of keratinocytes, which act as a very effective barrier to keep out harmful substances. However, this barrier can be damaged, for example, by environmental influences or an improper hair care regime. The damaged barrier now fails to keep the moisture inside the scalp so that the skin is less able to ward off harmful substances. This results in a dry itchy scalp.

What Causes A Dry Scalp?

Young woman drinking water
© Getty Images / Lilly Bloom

Something as simple as not drinking enough water could be the cause of a dry scalp

The telltale sign of a dry scalp is persistent itchiness, but it may also be accompanied by dandruff, soreness, and hair loss. A dry scalp occurs when the scalp does not have enough oil for the skin to feel lubricated. It can also cause the hair to look dry, since oil from the scalp would usually help to condition the hair. The most common causes of a dry and itchy scalp are the weather or due to harsh ingredients in hair care products. Not drinking enough water or washing your hair too often can also dry out your scalp. People with dry skin are unfortunately more prone to a dry scalp and anyone suffering from eczema or psoriasis may sometimes find that this exacerbates a dry scalp.

However your dry, itchy scalp came to be, we’ve put together some tips on how to treat a dry scalp and live itch-free.

How To Treat A Dry Scalp

Here are a few tips for how to care for a dry scalp. Try them out and see if any work for you! Many of the ingredients mentioned in the home remedies can be found around the home, so you can bid your dry itchy scalp farewell without breaking the bank!


Home remedies: Coconut oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and can therefore reduce the risk of infections. Massage the melted oil into your scalp, leave for 10 minutes, then rinse out. Aloe vera is great for reducing skin irritation thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Leave it to work its magic for 10 minutes, then rinse out. Olive oil and baking soda give you the best of both worlds. Olive oil has moisturizing properties and baking soda has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, so together these work wonders for your scalp. Once applied, wait for 5 minutes, then rinse out using shampoo to make sure all the residue is removed.


Stay hydrated: We all know how important is it to stay hydrated, but did you know that being dehydrated can also lead to a dry scalp? You might moisturize your skin to help with the dryness, but how does this work with your scalp? To prevent dehydration, it’s best to drink six to eight glasses of water each day and even more if you’re exercising.


Swap your hair products: A dry scalp can be caused by washing your hair too often or by using products that are too harsh for your scalp and hair. To combat this, it’s best to avoid using shampoo every day and to avoid products containing alcohol. Be on the lookout for a shampoo that can cleanse and hydrate the scalp – the moisture will do wonders to care for your dry scalp.


Opt for conditioning treatments: Sometimes your scalp might need a little helping hand if it’s not producing enough natural oil sebum by itself. A scalp treatment is the perfect solution since it soothes the itchiness and dryness. These conditioning treatments come in lots of different varieties so make sure you choose the correct one for your hair type. Repeating the treatment once a week should do the trick.


Go easy on the heat: Hair dryers and straightening irons dry out your hair so it’s pretty obvious your scalp will suffer too. If you can’t live without your blow dryer, try to go without it for a few days every now and then and let your hair air dry so that your scalp has a chance to recover.


Having a dry scalp is no fun, but luckily it’s easily treatable. Just a few changes in your hair routine could be enough to banish the itchiness. Try out some of the home remedies mentioned above and see which work for you.


If you don’t notice any change after a few weeks, make an appointment to see your doctor so they can check that there isn’t an underlying health condition that requires prescription treatment.

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