The first thing to do when thinking about how to deal with “itchy scalp” is to make sure that this is all it is. Why? Because there are a number of real health/medical conditions that go beyond the simple dry, itchy scalp. Everyone animal with a coat of hair or fur, including humans, can suffer from dry, itchy skin under that layer of hair. Most of us know this as dandruff, which is flaking of the skin that has dried and separated into small pieces.
However, dandruff can also be a health condition caused by fungus or another condition that falls under the “umbrella” term of dermatitis. While these situations are not serious in the sense of other diseases, they should be addressed by using special shampoos that are designed to deal with specific situations. In recent years, some “natural” shampoos include herbs and oils from plants that help give the scalp the moisture it needs.
Dandruff and itchy scalp can be caused by extreme heat in the climate, or by extreme cold. Both of these can dry the scalp to an unnatural state. But the problem can also be caused by seborrhoeic dermatitis, psoriasis or a fungus infection. It might be good to talk with a dermatologist (skin doctor) to find out if the itchy, dry scalp has a particular cause.
The dry condition is usually what gives us that feeling of itching that needs to be sratched. In many cases, a gentle, specific shampoo will cure this malady. Warm water (not hot!) should be used to rinse the hair and scalp after shampooing. Some “recipes” call for using a bit of juice from a citrus fruit, such as a lemon, to help balance the acid/alkaline level of the skin. Tip: Be careful not to use harsh soaps and shampoos that have chemicals that will only aggravate the condition, making the scalp feel more dry, itchy and uncomfortable. Propylene glycol is one of the ingredients in these harsh shampoos, but it is also found in paint and anti-freeze! Natural ingredients such as birch and slippery elm might be better.
One of the ways to stop itchy, dry scalp is to stop using commercial shampoos and use only lotions that are specifically designed to deal with dry skin. However, some of the newer anti-dandruff shampoos available on store shelves are fine, especially since the manufacturers have started using natural ingredients rather than the harsher chemicals.
There are also some hair/scalp treatment products designed to deal with dry scalp and itching caused by a fungus. These often contain a steroid ingredient at a mild level. Psoriasis often shows up as thicker flakes that even resemble scales. Again, there are new products and shampoos that focus specifically on this condition.
Remember, it is very important to get some expert advice to determine exactly what is causing the itchy scalp and the excess dry condition. Treating the scalp with one excellent product might do no good at all, if it is designed to work on a completely different condition.