dry scalp

Fed up With an Itchy Dry Scalp? Here Is the Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Living with a dry scalp with irritating and flaky scalp build-up is not that easy. One of your hands might be busy scratching your head while scrolling the blog. It is depressing to go through all those sleepless nights, public humiliation and stress due to the irritating, flaky buildup on the scalp and hair strands, even after spending ample amounts of money on random hair care products. And It’s also safe to say that you all are aware of multiple hair evils. But is it the same when it comes to your scalp? 

When you identify a flaky, itchy scalp buildup, you arrive at your own conclusion and assume it is dandruff. This is how the real problem gets neglected. 

It’s not only dandruff that always causes all these issues but there are also numerous reasons for it, and one such is a dry scalp.  

Feeling a bit confused now, right? 

Don’t worry, you are on the right path. So, here in this blog, you will get a complete guide on dry scalp.

What Is a Dry Scalp?

A dry scalp is a condition that occurs when the scalp lacks adequate moisture or enough natural oil content for the skin to feel lube. This condition of the scalp can often lead to itching and flaking and even can make your hair seem dry and frizzy because it’s the oil in the scalp that makes the hair look nourished. There are numerous reasons for dry scalp. Most people who have dry skin also possess a dry scalp but certain hair care products, and chemical treatments like blow drying, straightening, and colouring, which use a huge amount of heat on hair, the weather, age and various skin conditions like eczema can also make your scalp dry and itchy.

Difference Between Dry Scalp and Dandruff

Are you someone who has searched for all the remedies for dandruff, bought all those expensive dandruff cure kits from the market, and left with no results? It’s because you haven’t identified the root cause of the symptoms. You often fail to distinguish dry scalp and dandruff due to their similar symptoms, like the itchy and flaky scalp. Even though the symptoms seem similar, we still can figure out the differences between the both.

In the case of a dry scalp, your skin gets itchy and flakes off, and these flakes will be mostly dry and small. But on the other hand, dandruff causes too much oil on your scalp and results in the overgrowth of a yeast called Malassezia which is already present on our skin. This makes the skin cells build up and then shed. It is essential to analyze the symptoms at the right time to undergo proper treatment.

Causes and Treatment for Dry Scalp


As we mentioned earlier, there are a tremendous number of reasons for leaving your scalp dry. This itchy condition can often be uncomfortable to handle. So, before taking adequate treatment, we should understand the different causes of dry scalp. Knowing the reason from the grass root level can help to cure the condition more effectively and healthily. The various reasons are:

1. Overwashing the Hair With a Shampoo

We often misunderstand that it is necessary to wash hair daily to stay clean and hygienic. But this action can often lead to losing the natural oils secreted in the scalp and thus makes it dry. Most of the shampoo sold in the market under the name of daily shampoo consists of harmful chemicals like sulfate and paraben, which are not suitable for hair on a daily basis. Using such products without noticing the ingredients can damage your scalp and hair later. 


People who sweat a lot or work out daily must wash their hair daily. So it is important to pick the right type of shampoo which are paraben and sulfate free. The few shampoos that are suitable for dry scalp, economical, and daily use are:

  • St. botanica coconut and bamboo hydrating shampoo
  • Good vibes hydrating shampoo
  • Biolage ultra hydrating BioSource shampoo
  • Wow skin science macadamia nut oil shampoo

On the other hand, if you have a normal schedule, just prefer washing hair 2 -3 times a week with mild, sulfate, and paraben-free, hydrating shampoo and wash it off with a proper conditioner or hair mask.

2. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that leads the skin cells to develop quickly and piles up on the surface of the skin in patches. Like most conditions, we don’t know how it originates and doctors assume it might be because of a weak immune system. But this doesn’t transfer from one person to another but there are high chances of getting scalp psoriasis if it runs in your family. This skin disorder looks different in different skin tones. 

Scalp psoriasis can be mild but sometimes can be severe and last longer. The condition by itself doesn’t cause hair fall, but the symptoms like scaly, red bumps, grey scales, and flakes which cause irritability, stress, and lack of sleep due to itching and soreness, can lead to hair loss


We can treat mild psoriasis by using topical treatments like shampoos, creams, gels, lotions, foams, oils, etc, which are medicated. But the case of chronic psoriasis requires medical attention by physicians.

Some of the medications approved by the FDA for psoriasis are:

  • Salicylic acids, which are peeling agents present in shampoos and soaps, can soften and remove scales
  • Coal tar products are available as shampoos, creams, etc, which help to slow skin growth and reduce inflammation.
  • Anthralin, prescribed medication.
  • Antimicrobials.
  • Vitamin – d derivatives.
  • Topical steroids.
  • Vitamin- A derivative.

3. Eczema

Scalp eczema, called seborrheic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition that originated due to excess sebum production ( natural oils secreted by sebaceous glands). It causes an itchy, dry and inflamed scalp. There are various symptoms of scalp eczema-like:

1. Red and scaly patches

2. Flaky skin texture

3. Greasy or waxy scalp

4. Itching and burning sensation

5. Oozing lesions

6. Changes in skin colour after healing.


 The skin condition can be treated via medicated, over-the-counter shampoos that consist of:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Coal tar
  • Zinc
  • Ketoconazole

 4. Dehydration

When we don’t drink sufficient water, it leaves the whole body dehydrated. You can feel dehydration by pulling your skin and by releasing it. If it comes back to its normal state, then your skin is healthy otherwise it’s dehydrated. We should take a sufficient amount of water, especially due to constant changes in weather conditions.


To prevent dehydration, drink water according to your body weight. For example, if you are someone who weighs 80 kg, your average water intake for the day is 3.5 litres.

5. Scalp ringworm

 Tinea capitis, which is commonly called scalp ringworm, also causes dry scalp. It’s a fungal disease that causes infection on your scalp. It can be transferred from one person to another and even from animals. It can live for a long time on the affected surface.


In these cases, one needs to consume anti-fungal medication prescribed by doctors for 1 -3 months through the mouth. None of the anti-fungal creams, gels and ointments will work for these cases. 

Commonly prescribed medications are:

  • Griseofulvin (Grifulvin V, Gris-PEG)
  • Terbinafine
  • Itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox)
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan)

6. Actinic keratosis

The condition, also called solar keratosis, is a precancerous sun damage caused due to unprotected sun exposure. It’s mainly caused by people who are assigned male at birth or those above 50 who are exposed to the sun without any protection or spend too much time under the sun.


Actinic keratosis sometimes disappears on its own but might return after more sun exposure. It’s hard to tell which actinic keratoses will develop into skin cancer, so they’re usually removed as a precaution. If you have several actinic keratoses, your doctor might prescribe a medicated cream or gel to remove them, such as fluorouracil (Carac, Fluoroplex, others), imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara), ingenol mebutate or diclofenac (Solaraze). These products might cause redness, scaling, or a burning sensation for a few weeks. It can also be treated via surgeries like crypto therapy and photodynamic therapy.

Preventive Measures for Dry Scalp

There are several ways you can prevent a dry scalp. Some of the measures are:

  • Use gentle, sulfate and paraben-free, hydrating shampoo.
  • Wash hair 2-3 times a week.
  • Adopt proper stress management.
  • Be hydrated.
  • Consult a dermatologist at regular intervals.
  • Quit unhealthy habits like smoking.
  • Increase moisture at home with a humidifier.

Home remedies for dry scalp 

Here are some effective home remedies you can adopt for dry and itchy scalp:

1. Tea tree oil and Coconut oil: Tea tree oil is an antimicrobial that will reduce the dryness of the scalp. Just take a tablespoon of coconut oil, pour a few drops of tea tree oil, and massage gently on the scalp.

2. Neem: Apply neem paste to the scalp to reduce itchiness.

3. Homemade hair mask: Take two spoons of full-fat yoghurt, a teaspoon of honey, and one egg and mix them and keep them on the hair for 30 mins and wash it off with mild shampoo.

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 Final word

Finally, reaching the last part of the blog, I hope you got all your answers. At the end of the day, it’s the healthy scalp that plays a key role in hair growth. Proper preventive measures, home remedies and gentle hair care can strengthen the hair follicles and help you to say goodbye to an itchy, dry scalp. The home remedies that are being traditionally followed can be used for treating such conditions. But remember, patience is the key. Such treatment, which lacks chemicals, requires time to yield results. So try to use it frequently for over 3 – 6 months. If you have chronic symptoms, it’s always better to consult a physician. So, why wait? Grab your knowledge and fall in love with your hair.


1. How would you know you have a dry scalp?

Ans)If your scalp gets a little flaky with irritation, it is an indication of a dry scalp. But don’t misunderstand it with dandruff. Because in case of a dry scalp, your skin gets itchy and flakes off, mostly dry and small. But dandruff causes too much oil on your scalp and results in the overgrowth of a yeast called Malassezia, which is already present on our skin. This makes the skin cells build up and then shed. 

2. What causes dry scalp?

Ans) There are numerous causes for dry scalp like weather, hair treatments, overuse of shampoo, psoriasis, eczema, dehydration, etc. finding the root cause at the right time will help you to get rid of it.

3. How to control dry scalp?

Ans) Dry scalp can be controlled by using gentle shampoo twice or thrice a week, drinking more water, managing your stress, consulting a doctor, following appropriate home remedies, etc.

4. How to take care of a dry scalp?

Ans) First step is to stop worrying and stressing about it as it can worsen the situation further instead, adopt proper remedies to cure the condition.

5. How to choose a product for a dry scalp?

Ans) Use sulfate and paraben-free products which are mild and hydrating. 

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