Solutions for Those Itchy Scalp Issues
An itchy scalp is the most common and yet one of the most irritating problems that you might have to deal with. You could be put through a lot of discomfort not to speak of the social embarrassment of continuously scratching your scalp in public. There could be many causes for an itchy scalp including psoriasis, dandruff and eczema among other things. All these issues can be conveniently solved with the use of some effective home remedies and over-the-counter medication.
What Causes Itchy Scalp
There are many reasons for an itchy scalp, most very easy to treat, some marginally difficult and time consuming but there could be others symptomatic of something more serious. One could use the analogy of scalp psoriasis vs dandruff, where dandruff could easily disappear but scalp psoriasis is more long-lasting. Let’s find out about the obvious and regular reasons for an itchy scalp.
- Dandruff: If your head and shoulder is full of dry white flakes then dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis is the reason for your itchiness. The dandruff could be a result of stress or hormonal issues, a change in season or a yeast overgrowth among other things. Patients with telogen effluvium often complain of an extremely itchy scalp.
- Reaction to a hair care product: Your itchy scalp could also be your scalp reacting against a hair product that does not agree with your skin. If some shampoo remains after washing, it could cause you some discomfort. Similarly, hair dyes could also cause allergic contact dermatitis. This is due to the presence of para-phenylenediamine in black hair dyes.
- Hives: These are red, itchy bumps that manifest in any area of your body including the scalp. Hives could disappear within a few hours and then come back again. If this process of appearing and vanishing continues beyond 6 weeks it is referred to as a case of chronic hives.
- Head lice: An itchy scalp could also be the result of head lice working their way around your hair. These tiny blood sucking insects feed off the blood in your hair. To identify these bugs, you need to have your hair examined closely. These bugs are usually transmitted to your head if you are in close proximity with a person already afflicted with the problem or if you share personal products used by the affected person.
- Scalp psoriasis: Psoriasis is regarded as an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the body instead of protecting it. This is characterised by red patches on the skin and dandruff-like flakes which may worsen and then improve.
- Scabies: This is caused by the human itch mite which enter your scalp and produce an unbearable itch.
- Nerve problem: Yes, nerve issues could also be responsible for an itchy scalp. A scalp injury that damages a nerve might lead to this sort of problem.
- Scalp Ringworm: Ringworm of the scalp is caused by a fungus and causes an extremely itchy rash.
Let’s look at some possible options for itchy scalp treatment.
Home Remedies for Itchy Scalp
There are a number of very effective remedies for an itchy scalp, more than you can think of. This is because most people are faced with this problem at least once in their lives. Let us take a look at some of the home remedies to cure a dry itchy scalp:
Olive oil: If you have a problem of a sore and itchy scalp, applying warm olive oil will soften and loosen the scales. Massage it into your skin and leave it for a couple of hours before using a medicated shampoo like a coal tar shampoo to wash it off.
Apple cider vinegar: Its antibacterial and antifungal properties make it an excellent solution for any scalp related issues. It is a very good remedy for any psoriasis problems. It is soothing for the scalp and adds gloss and bounce to the hair. Mix 4 tablespoons of water with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Apply it to your scalp and leave it for an hour before washing it. However, people with an open wound are advised not to use this remedy as it could cause chemical burns.
Lemon Juice: Lemon juice has antiseptic properties that make it great for a dry and itchy scalp. It helps change the pH levels of the scalp and solves all scalp-related bacteria and fungus issues. Put a drop of lemon on your scalp, if it stings, dilute it further with water and apply it all over your scalp. Wash it off after 5 minutes. Repeat this procedure every alternate day.
Tea tree oil: This is a very effective treatment for head lice. A one percent solution of tree tea oil can eliminate lice within half an hour after application. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties which help fight infection. After applying it, let it stay for 2 hours before rinsing it off.
Aloe Vera: The natural cooling properties of aloe vera make it a soothing and potent cure for itchy scalp problems. Apart from healing minor injuries it also helps remove dandruff. Apply the gel to your scalp and let it stay for half an hour before washing it off.
Onion juice: The antimicrobial properties of onion juice help fight infection apart from curing dandruff problems. Apply the juice of a freshly grated onion to your hair and wash it off after half an hour. This is the best treatment for itchy scalp issues.
Peppermint oil: It eliminates infection causing microbes apart from soothing an inflamed scalp or an itchy scalp. Use peppermint oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil. Wash it with a mild shampoo an hour after applying it.
Lemongrass oil: This is an excellent astringent and is helpful in making skin less oily. It may also ease the itch caused by dandruff flakes. You can add 2 drops of lemongrass oil to 1 tablespoon of your regular shampoo to wash your hair.
Baking soda: This is also very effective disinfectant and helps clean the scalp by removing the excess oils and grease. It also helps maintain proper pH levels of the scalp. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking powder with water and get the right consistency for a paste. Put olive oil on your hair and then apply the paste over your scalp. Wash it off after 20 minutes. This is a very potent itchy scalp remedy. Use this treatment once or twice a week.
Medical treatment for Itchy Scalp
While natural remedies are extremely good for any itchy scalp and hair loss issues there might be times where the severity of the problem might demand OTC medicines and stronger drugs. Following are some effective itchy scalp treatment products.
Antidandruff shampoos: Shampoos which are made from selenium sulphide stop the build-up of flakes on your scalp by helping decrease the death of cells on your flaky scalp. They are also an excellent remedy for Malassezia yeast which are responsible for seborrheic dermatitis, scalp psoriasis and dandruff. Start by using this shampoo twice a week and bring it down to once the week as the condition improves.
A similar ingredient used in shampoos called zinc pyrithione is also useful in removing Malassezia yeast from the scalp.
Ketoconazole shampoo: This is an effective product for Malassezia yeast but cannot be used for pregnant women and children below the age of 12. People with scalp wounds or inflammation problems are also advised not to use these products. Use the shampoo twice a week and stop if there is no improvement.
Salicylic Acid: This is present in different shampoos and helps in dissolving dead skin cells. When dead skin gathers, they create patches of dry skin which is the cause of itchy scalp issues. Salicylic acid prevents this by removing these patches and also by increasing the moisture content. Do not however use this on kids and children. This is perfect for dry itchy scalp treatment.
How to Prevent Itchy Scalp
Apart from the many cures available there are a number of precautions that you can take to ensure that an itchy scalp ceases to remain an issue.
- When you first feel symptoms of the itchiness wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
- Wash your hair with lukewarm water and limit the washes to 2-3 times a week.
- Avoid the use of heat-based styling products like hot-irons, stylers or blowers.
- Avoid the use of chemical products like dyes or creams as they damage your hair.
- Consume lots of fluids throughout the day so that your body and hair remain well-hydrated throughout the day. This is one of the best natural remedies for itchy scalp problems.
- Maintain a well-balanced diet with lots of vitamins, zinc, iron and proteins.
There are a range of topical steroids and antifungal creams that you can use to solve your dry scalp issues. You can also try out some home remedies for dandruff and itchy scalp that are as convenient as they are effective. For more solutions for your hair-related issues do visit us at Traya and make use of our state-of-the-art technology to remove all the impediments to those perfect strands.
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Heena is our Hair Expert on board. She has a Masters in English Literature and is total nerd about medical journals and research.