Itchy Scalp Causes and Remedies: What to Do to Stop the Itch

Learn about common itchy scalp causes so you'll know how to treat this hair problem.

Scratching your head could mean a few things. Maybe you’re relieving a slight tingle, or just feeling extremely puzzled, because an itchy scalp cannot be easily relieved from scratching. There are itchy scalp causes that require more long-term solutions.

This kind of infuriating itch is a common condition often linked with inflamed and broken skin under the hair, or a rash on the scalp. Don’t start assuming the itch will go away. Its causes range from dandruff to psoriasis, which can likely worsen if not dealt with it in the right way. Read on as we tell you how to identify it and snuff the prickling out.

1. Dandruff

How to style short hair for men: Asian man with short black hair wearing a blue jacket and white shirt
Take care of your scalp by using an anti-dandruff shampoo for men. Credit: Hariono Halim

These pesky white flakes are a common partner-in-crime to itchy scalp. An overgrowth of yeast called Malassezia causes the scalp to be inflamed, leading to a plague of itching and flaking. If your itchy scalp is associated with dandruff, under-washing your hair could be aggravating it further, leading to a pileup of oil and dead skin cells.

To get your scalp free from dandruff, switch to an anti-dandruff shampoo so you can get quick relief from dryness, itching, and irritation while boosting your scalp’s protective barrier against dandruff.

Flatlay of dandruff shampoos for itchy scalp causes
Try any of these shampoos to fight and prevent dandruff. Credit: All Things Hair Studio

Editor’s tip: Pick an anti-dandruff shampoo that matches your scalp and hair needs. Use CLEAR Cool Sport Menthol Anti-Dandruff Shampoo for Men if you want to protect your scalp from dandruff while getting that minty, presko feel. Meanwhile, try CLEAR Anti-Hairfall Anti-Dandruff Shampoo if you want to strengthen your strands as well. For women, go for CLEAR Complete Soft Care Anti-Dandruff Shampoo to give your hair a fragrant scent while keeping your scalp dandruff-free. 

2. Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis affects oily surfaces on your body, such as the scalp and face. The result? A red, itchy rash, patches of dry skin and⁠—you guessed it⁠—dandruff.

3. Psoriasis

A close cousin of seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis is a skin ailment that also produces symptoms like itchy scalp, soreness, and dandruff. But don’t confuse the two conditions. Psoriasis affects a larger area that goes beyond the hairline and may even cause unsightly and visible scaly patches or thick crusts.

If you suspect Seborrheic Dermatitis or Psoriasis, we recommend you consult your dermatologist to understand your condition. You might some medical advice to treat these itchy scalp causes.

If dandruff is the cause of your itchy scalp, you can try one of these homemade concoctions to get rid of it.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Bottles of apple cider vinegar in a basket with apples to address itchy scalp causes
This wonder remedy isn’t just for sore throats. Credit: Shutterstock

– Contains healthy mallic acid and enzymes
– Kills dandruff-causing bacteria

½ Cup of warm water
½ Cup of apple cider vinegar


a. Mix ½ a cup of apple cider vinegar with ½ cup of warm water.
b. Gently massage the mixture into your scalp for several minutes.
c. Rinse with clean water. Wait 8-12 hours before next wash.

2. Coconut oil

Flatlay of a bowl with coconut oil to remedy itchy scalp causes
Coconut oil can help remedy dandruff while giving you shiny hair, too. Credit: Shutterstock

– Repairs damaged hair
– Conditions scalp
– Naturally anti-fungal
– High in vitamin E

4 tablespoons of coconut oil

a. Apply coconut oil onto your hair, gently massaging into the scalp.
b. Leave the coconut oil for 1 hour.
c. Shampoo as normal and rinse well.

3. Tea tree oil

– Moisturizes scalp
– Cleans scalp
– Clears bacteria
– Unclogs excess sebum from hair follicles

10-15 Drops of tea tree oil
Coconut oil
A small application bottle

1. Fill application bottle ¾ of the way with coconut oil, then add 10-15 drops of tea tree oil and mix well.
2. Massage into hair, covering the entire scalp.
3. Leave oils in overnight. Wash your hair the next day with shampoo and conditioner.

Flatlay of shampoo and conditioner along with green leaves
Try hair products with tea tree oil to cleanse your greasy scalp. Credit: All Things Hair Studio

Editor’s tip: Don’t have tea tree oil? You can use Love Beauty and Planet Radical Refresher Shampoo and Love Beauty and Planet Radical Refresher Conditioner. This duo has tea tree oil that can help cleanse greasy scalp and gently volumize your hair. 

Fighting these causes shouldn’t be a problem once you know the right itchy scalp remedy. And when you’ve finally found relief, remember to always keep your scalp healthy and well-moisturized to prevent reoccurrence of both dandruff and itchy scalp.


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Love naturals? Here are more natural dandruff remedies that you can try.
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