How to Get Rid of Dandruff and Itchy Scalp

If you’re always thinking “my head is itchy”, then it’s time to do something about it.

Why do we have dry, itchy, or flakey scalp?

There are a few reasons you may be experiencing dry itchy flakey scalp:

  • Sebhorrheic dermatitis (aka dandruff)
  • Damaging hair products
  • Eating certain foods
  • Physical Environment
  • Psoriasis

In the next section, we’ll discuss each of these in more detail and how to treat it.

Cause: Dandruff

It may look like the cause of dandruff is dry scalp, but it’s actually because your scalp has too much oil. As explained by Mayo Clinic, Dandruff is caused by an increase of yeastlike fungus that eats up the oils on your scalp. This type of fungus is harmless to most people, but once there is a buildup of it, that is when your skin starts to flake off.

When my head is itchy, it’s most likely because I have dandruff forming.

Treatment Options

Dandruff Shampoo:

If you have dandruff, you will feel that your hair is oily and has large white or yellow flakes. Your scalp may also be red and feel itchy.

Dandruff isn’t 100% curable but there are ways to minimize it. The first treatment you should try is a dandruff shampoo. Look for products that have coal tar, pyrithione zinc,  selenium sulfide, ketoconazole, and salicylic acid. The one shampoo that works for all hair types is Head and Shoulders Classic Clean Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.

Tea Tree Oil: 

Tea Tree Oil is proven to help reduce dandruff caused by the overproduction of yeast. This essential oil is also great for reducing itchiness and greasiness which often happens with a buildup of dandruff. Look for a shampoo that has at least 5% tea tree oil for maximum benefits.

Products Mentioned:

Cause: Damaging Hair Products

Your shampoo or conditioner may not be working for you. It might be too harsh for your scalp, causing a reaction. 

If your hair products like shampoo, hair gel, hairspray, or hair pomade have fragrance, that might also cause your scalp to be dry, itchy, and flakey. Fragrance may be causing inflammation, causing redness. 

Dry scalp may also be caused by how frequently or infrequently you wash your hair. If you wash it too often, you may be stripping your scalp of its natural oil, leading to a dry scalp. However, with too few washes, your scalp may build up too much oil, causing your head to feel itchy. 

Treatment Options

Use a mild shampoo and conditioner

Milder shampoos and conditioners are weaker cleansers that still clean out all the oil and dirt from your hair. Mild options don’t strip your natural oils away like most shampoos do. A great choice is the OGX Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo and conditioner.

Use an unscented shampoo and conditioner

Give an unscented shampoo or conditioner a try to see if your scalp feels better. The fragrance in most shampoos may be irritating your scalp, causing it to feel itchy. If you’re looking for an affordable fragrance-free shampoo, go for the cult-favorite Free & Clear Shampoo.

Decide how often you should wash your hair

How often you should wash your hair differs from person to person. If you tend to have oily hair, it’s recommended to wash at least every other day. If you have dry hair, you should wash less often than that. Test it out for yourself to find out what works best for you.

Cause: Physical Environment

Some environmental factors such as poor air quality, living in a hot climate, exposing yourself to sun often, and being in contact with swimming pool can cause dry, itchy, flakey scalp.

Treatment Options

It’s hard to completely avoid those unfavored environmental conditions, but there are some little things you could do to avoid adding more damage to your scalp. 

Blow-Dry Less Often:

If you live in an area that is hot and you feel that your scalp is becoming drier, itchier, and flakier, it’s best to avoid using a blow drier to dry your hair. Instead, just let your hair dry on its own. You don’t want to be adding unnecessary heat to your scalp. I found that during periods of time I apply less heat onto my hair, my head feels less itchy.

Avoid applying unnecessary chemicals to hair

There’s very little way of knowing which air pollutants are damaging your scalp. The best way to avoid unnecessary chemicals is to not add on chemicals that you already know are damaging. This includes dying or bleaching your hair and using dry shampoo. 

Cause: Eating Certain Foods

If your scalp is feeling dry, you may want to avoid foods that encourage yeast growth in your gut. Foods that have sugar or refined carbohydrates such as bread and sugary foods should be eaten as little as possible. 

Lacking certain foods in your diet may also cause dry, itchy scalp. This might happen when you frequently eat low-protein foods. 

Treatment Options

Eat foods with higher protein content:

You can easily get your daily intake of high protein foods by eating meat. However, if you are vegetarian or vegan, there are also a variety of foods that will give you the same amount of protein levels. Give tofu, edamame, and soybeans a try because they all contain very high sources of protein. You could also try adding chickpeas and other high-protein beans into your diet.

Eat more salmon or fish oil:

These foods contain omega-3 fatty acid which are crucial to maintaining scalp health. If you’re not a fan of salmon, give fish oil a try. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve itchy scalp. One of the best fish oils out there for an affordable price is the Nature Made Fish Oil 1000mg softgels.

fish oil to help get rid of dry itchy flakey scalp

Nature Made Fish Oil 1000mg

fish oil gummies - helps get rid of dry scalp

Nature Made Fish Oil Gummies

Cause: Psoriasis

If you see that the flakes on your scalp are a lot thicker, it might be psoriasis. 

Treatment Options

According to Mayo Clinic, they recommend using corticosteroids which are available in creams, lotions, and shampoos. This can help soften the skin and reduce flaking. If it gets too severe, consider seeing a dermatologist to find the best treatment option for you. For now, give these a try.

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