How to Treat Dry Scalp at Home: The Best Shampoo + Other Dry Scalp Remedies

Treating dry scalp doesn't need to be complicated. Here are easy remedies you can try.

You may not know it yet but if you’ve been experiencing some itching, tightness of your scalp’s skin, and possibly some flaking, then you most likely have dry scalp. While it can be such a hassle to deal with this condition, it’s not entirely difficult to treat it with a number of dry scalp remedies that you can very well do at the comfort of your own home. But first, let’s take a closer look at what causes it in the first place and then finding the best dry scalp treatments for you.

Dry scalp can be attributed to a number of causes. Don’t worry though, because having dry scalp isn’t a serious condition and can be a rather common occurrence. Some of it can be attributed to environmental factors, your lifestyle/habits, and certain skin conditions. Environmental factors can include living in areas with dry air (especially during winter months). If you have naturally dry skin, you also have a tendency to have dry scalp as well. When it comes to your daily habits, excessive washing and use of chemical-laden hair products can also result in having dry scalp.

In addition to these causes, there are certain skin conditions that can cause dry scalp. These skin conditions include eczema and psoriasis, both of which tend to cause even more serious skin problems that go beyond just having dry scalp.

We mentioned before that flaking can be a sign of having dry scalp. The question is, are these two conditions directly correlated? Let’s find out.

Dry scalp: Woman with long black hair with a half up top knot hairstyle standing outdoors
Dry scalp may also cause flaking and itchiness. Credit: Shutterstock

Dandruff, or flaking, is just as common as dry scalp. To put it simply, however, having dry scalp and dandruff are two distinct conditions and should be treated as such. Having dry scalp may cause you to have dandruff, but it is not enough to say that you have dandruff because of your dry scalp — because dandruff can be likewise attributed to other and more serious conditions.

Those pesky white terrorizers have a variety of causes and are largely associated with Malassezia, a yeast-like fungus that breeds on oily scalp areas. When your scalp’s natural protection gets weak, irritants made by Malassezia feed on the excess oil. This leads to inflammation on skin cells to shed faster than usual. When this happens, you get dandruff. Knowing the key differences of these conditions are important in knowing how to find the best remedies for a dry scalp and dandruff accordingly.

Speaking of treating dry scalps, here are some of the best dry scalp remedies that you can do at home.

1. Got flaky, dry scalp? Try these anti-dandruff shampoos.

Dry scalp: Pretty Asian woman showering and washing her hair
A nourishing anti-dandruff shampoo can help prevent dry scalp. Credit: Shutterstock

Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Shampoo

Say goodbye to dry and itchy scalp and bring back your hair’s lost nourishment with Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Shampoo. This shampoo is specially formulated to beat dandruff without drying out your hair. It’s infused with Olacare Scalp Actives, which leave your scalp moisturized and dandruff-free. For more effective results, we highly recommend pairing it with the Dove Dermacare Scalp Soothing Moisture Conditioner.

CLEAR Complete Soft Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

With consistent use of this shampoo, your scalp would be protected from dandruff thanks to its Triple Anti-Dandruff Technology. It also has a Fresh Sakura Fragrance that leaves your hair smelling good as well.

CLEAR Botanique Scalp Care Shampoo

Looking for a more natural alternative? CLEAR Botanique Scalp Care Shampoo is a great choice targeting several problems at once. This includes treating dry scalp, getting rid of dandruff, relieving itchy scalp, plus cleansing and deeply nourishing your hair and scalp. You won’t have to deal with flaky dry scalp anymore with consistent use of this shampoo that’s packed with natural oils such as lavender, rosemary, grapefruit, tea tree, and bergamot.

2. Try natural dry scalp remedies.

Olive Oil

Olive oil has moisturizing properties that make for an effective natural dry scalp treatment at home. You can massage it onto your dry scalp, then cover your hair with a shower cap for approximately 30 minutes. Rinse well with shampoo and conditioner afterwards to remove oil residue. If you have dandruff along with dry scalp, you can mix olive oil and baking soda and apply it to your scalp to remove the flakes.

Aloe Vera

Aside from being a good moisturizer, aloe vera can also soothe irritated skin. To prepare your own aloe vera gel at home, take an aloe vera leaf from your garden, wash it to remove dirt, and put it upright in a glass to drain the yellow residue, which can irritate the skin.

Once the yellow residue is out, wash the leaf again one more time to make sure it is clean. Get a small peeler or knife and peel the skin off the leaf. Scoop out the gel with a teaspoon and blend it. You can now apply it to your dry and irritated scalp.

Lemon

Lemon is acidic and it can help restore the pH balance in your flaky dry scalp. To use it as a dry scalp remedy, massage lemon juice onto your scalp for five minutes before you shampoo and condition your hair. You can also dilute the lemon juice with water if it stings. Repeat this every day until your scalp doesn’t feel dry and itchy anymore.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Like lemon, apple cider vinegar is acidic. It also has anti-inflammatory and exfoliating properties, so it’s a great remedy for dry scalp. Just mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water, massage the mixture onto your scalp, leave it for five minutes, and wash with your shampoo and conditioner.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has long been recognized as a holy grail for its various skin health benefits — these include being used as a dry scalp treatment. Thanks to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, coconut oil can moisturize the scalp and help reduce the risk of infections for other skin conditions. To use, simply apply a small amount of coconut oil onto your scalp and massage gently. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before rinsing your hair.

Bananas & Avocados

Did you know that some of your favorite fruits can also be used as a natural dry scalp treatment? Bananas are so nourishing and are naturally antimicrobial that it makes for a great treatment for dry scalp and even dandruff. Simply mash or blend a banana with a few tablespoons of coconut or olive oil, and then massage it gently directly on to your scalp. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes and rinse.

Avos, on the other hand, are great moisturizers because of their high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. You can choose to either use a mashed/blended avocado or just an avocado oil directly on to your scalp to soothe and protect. Just remember to use a carrier oil for the mashed/blended avocado to make it easier for you to rinse afterwards.

Special tip: Just combine these two together as treatment. But just make sure that you rinse them properly afterwards and not eat them.

Jojoba Oil

Another highly beneficial oil is jojoba oil. Much like coconut oil, jojoba oil is an effective moisturizer that can be used to relieve dry scalp thanks to its numerous anti-inflammatory properties. To use, just add a few drops of jojoba oil to your shampoo to boost your hair’s hydration and moisture and to prevent your shampoo from drying out your scalp further.

Before the onset of dry scalp, it would help to know how to prevent having it in the first place. And even if you already have dry scalp, it would help to know these preventive measures and use them as daily dry scalp remedies as well.  Here are some easy-peasy tips in taking care of your scalp.

1. Deep cleanse your scalp

In taking care of your scalp, frequent showering is not enough. In fact, sometimes, excessive washing of hair can even pose more dangers for your scalp. What you need to do is deep cleansing of your scalp at least once a week.

To start, rinse your hair thoroughly by massaging your scalp to remove dirt and product build-up. Afterwards, apply oil to your scalp — we recommend using 10 drops of tea tree oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, while coconut oil is great for moisturizing. After doing that, cover your hair with a shower cap and steam your scalp. No need for fancy equipment because you just need to soak a towel in warm water and squeeze the water out before heating it in the oven for 2 minutes. Put the towel around your hair and cover with plastic and leave for 30 minutes. Once you’re done steaming your scalp, simply rinse your hair and apply shampoo and a conditioning mask, then rinse.

2. Stay hydrated

The first step to get your scalp in shape goes back to basics. Drinking eight glasses of water daily seems simple enough, but we’re all guilty of under-hydrating ourselves on a busy day. Start setting phone reminders throughout the day to get your hourly dose of water and remember to stock up on hydration in particularly hot or cold climates that can be harsher on your scalp.

3. Avoid over-styling

Styling isn’t just limited to curlers, straighteners, and hairspray. Even the overuse of a hair dryer can damage and dry out your scalp. Go easy on the heat (or save it for snazzy dates) and go natural as often as possible to let your scalp breathe and stay hydrated. Next time you want a different look, get creative with bobby pins or just show off your natural hair for a new hairdo!

4. Get the right shampoo and hair products

Using the wrong shampoo may worsen your dry scalp by stripping away any leftover oils and worsen the discomfort and dandruff. If you can’t pick a shampoo from the dozens of choices available in supermarkets and personal care stores, choose one that can nourish and hydrate your scalp and prevent dandruff.

You may have a dry scalp once in a while and it may not be a usual cause for any serious medical concern. That said, you also have to know when it’s time to seek out professional help, especially when home remedies aren’t helping, and if the symptoms seem to get worse and worse by the day.

It’s time to see a doctor if you’re experiencing persistent and more painful symptoms on your scalp, or even on other parts of your skin. Check to see your scalp up close in a mirror to see if there’s redness or excessive flaking. Also, make sure to proceed with these dry scalp remedies with caution and not overdo them all at once. 

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