1. Scalp dryness
An itchy, dry scalp can cause dandruff or in serious conditions might lead to baldness, scalp psoriasis or eczema. The main reason behind a dry scalp is lack of natural oils in the scalp that leaves the hair brittle and frizzy. The oils secreted by hair glands help maintain natural lubrication in both hair follicles and scalp, keeping them hydrated and moisturized.
There are mainly 5 common causes of a dry scalp:
Using harsh soaps and shampoos on the scalp
Harsh soaps and shampoos:
They contain anti-bacterial agents that can shed moisture and lipid from your scalp, making it dry and flaky.
Skin tends to dry in extreme temperatures or when there is a loss in humidity level. This dries off the skin moisture from the scalp causing itching.
Hair styling tools:
Excessive usage of hair styling tools, creams or other lotions on the hair can irritate the scalp, making it dry and leading to numerous scalp disorders. They can also lead to dull and frizzy hair.
Exposing your hair to excessive heat can harm their texture and shed off their moisture, making them dry and unmanageable.
An unbalanced diet that lacks all the essential nutrients inhibits healthier hair growth.
Treating scalp dryness:
Switch to a milder/ herbal shampoo and use it just once or twice a week.
Don’t use hard water (unfiltered) to wash your hair. This can remove the natural oils from the scalp and make it dry.
Drink excess of water and eat fresh fruits, or foods rich in proteins, vitamins, zinc etc like green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots, papaya, kiwis, sprouts, spinach, meat, whole grains, poultry and nuts can also help prevent itchy or dry scalp.
Apply warm olive or coconut oil on the scalp and wrap the head with damp towel to restore the natural oils and prevent dryness and itching.
Use shampoos rich in tea tree oil, salicylic acid to soften the scaly patches of the dry skin, reduce flakyness and dryness.
Avoid frequent use of heating hair styling tools, gels, serums or lotions on your hair as they suck all the moisture from the scalp and make it excessively dry.
Use seasame seed oil or apple cider to balance the pH level of the scalp and combat its dryness and relieve itching.
2. Scalp Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin disorder caused by malfunctioning of immune system that leads to scaling and swelling of the scalp. Thick, red colored patches occur on the skin which makes way till the forehead, neck or even behind the ears. There is a white blood cell called a T cell which protects the body against infections and diseases. With psoriasis, the T cell becomes active and sets off the immune responses leading to swelling of the skin cells and causing scalp disorders. This gets worse due to change in weather, stress or skin infections.
The main causes of scalp psoriasis can be listed as follows:
It might be hereditary / genetic
Due to extreme temperatures or exposure to dust, pollution
Excessive usage of harsh shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays, gels, colors or hair styling tools.
Treating Scalp Psoriasis:
Tar is a thick, black byproduct of distillation of coal that has medicinal properties. It has been used since many years for treating psoriasis. It reduces itching, dryness, scaling and skin inflammation and is available in shampoos, lotions, creams etc.
Antimicrobial treatment is a therapy that kills microbes and prevents the growth of microorganisms like bacteria, fungus and other infections on the scalp. Antimicrobial drugs can reduce yeast production which can prevent scalp psoriasis and promote healthy hair growth.
Using both coal tar or non-coal tar medicated shampoo help reduce plaques and excessive production of yeast on the scalp. They contain active ingredients that provide relief from itching and help treat scalp psoriasis and other scalp disorders, promoting healthier and manageable hair growth.
Salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory agent that has been approved to treat scalp psoriasis. It softens the scales, prevents itching and helps remove the dead skin cells from the scalp. It keeps the scalp hydrated and free of infections.
It can be found in fruits and vegetables like guava, apricots, blackberries, cherries; tomatoes, radish, olives, mushrooms, cucumber, potatoes etc. It is also one of the primary ingredients of aspirin.
UV light or Phototherapy is another effective solution for treating scalp psoriasis. It reduces skin inflammation and reduces the growth of skin cells. Using UV combs or other handheld devices that deliver high intensity of UV light can promote healthy hair growth and lessen the scalp disorders. Natural sunlight also proves extremely beneficial on a shaved head.
3. Itchy Scalp:
Causes of an itchy scalp can be many. It may be dandruff, dry scalp or lice. Conditions like scalp psoriasis, folliculitis or bacterial infections can also lead to itching. This can further result into scaling and swelling of the skin, leading to hair loss. Changing your shampoo or conditioner or using a new hair spray can lead to itchiness. Excessive exposure of scalp to dust/pollution/sun can also lead to an itchy scalp. Allergies caused by chemicals can also result into an itchy scalp.
In many cases an itchy scalp can start suddenly and disappear on its own like in cases of using a new hair product etc. But if it persists for long, it needs to be medically treated.
Causes of itchy scalp:
Different skin disorders and infections can lead to an itchy scalp like:
Allergy by a hair dye/color
Bacterial infection on the scalp
These can result into dandruff, psoriasis, cellulitis, thinning of hair and also partial or complete baldness.
Home remedies for treating itchy scalp:
Add 10-15 drops of tea tree oil in ½ cup of baby shampoo and apply this on the scalp. Rinse it with water thoroughly and repeat this often to get great results. Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties which can help reduce itchiness and dryness of the scalp.
Mix lavender, eucalyptus, avocado and chamomile oils in equal proportions to water and apply it on the scalp. This helps reduce itchiness on the scalp.
Rub lemon juice on the scalp and keep it there for a few minutes. Rinse it thoroughly with water to get rid of the itchiness.
Apply peppermint oil mixed with water or aloe vera gel on your scalp and keep it there for some time. This moisturizes the scalp and sheds away the dry dead skin cells completely.
Combing the hair 5-6 times before going to bed helps stimulate blood circulation and treat the scalp disorders.
Eating foods rich in Vitamin B, C, zinc, proteins, iron etc like pulses, green vegetables, spinach, seeds, nuts etc prove beneficial for treating an itchy scalp. Take in adequate amounts of dairy products, especially yogurt to reduce itchiness.
Wash your hair with apple cider vinegar diluted in water to reduce dandruff. It is ideal for destroying fungi and bacteria and other scalp infections.