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How to Get Rid of Itchy Scalp

Reviewed on 10/22/2020

What Causes Itchy Scalp?

Infection, allergic reaction or autoimmune problems may cause an itchy scalp. Over-the-counter products and changes to haircare regimens may be all that's necessary to treat an itch scalp.
Infection, allergic reaction or autoimmune problems may cause an itchy scalp. Over-the-counter products and changes to haircare regimens may be all that's necessary to treat scalp itch.

A person’s scalp may itch for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s a mild and temporary condition, and sometimes it is a symptom of something serious. Some causes of itchy scalp include: 

What Are Home Remedies and Alternative Treatments for Itchy Scalp?

Depending on the cause, home remedies and alternative treatments for itchy scalp may include: 

  • Dandruff shampoos, which are available over-the-counter (OTC) 
  • Pyrithione zinc
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Ketoconazole
  • Salicylic acid (may also help with itching caused by scalp psoriasis)
  • Coal tar (may also help with itching caused by scalp psoriasis)
  • Use of special lice shampoo to get rid of head lice
    • Many products are available over-the-counter (OTC) 
    • Pyrethrins combined with piperonyl butoxide (A–200, Pronto, R&C, Rid, and Triple X)
    • Permethrin lotion, 1% (Nix)
  • For atopic dermatitis:
    • Avoid trigger factors such as heat and low humidity
    • Keep skin moisturized
    • Antihistamines to help control itching
    • Manage stress and anxiety
  • Stop using products that cause scalp itching or irritation
  • Avoid allergens that cause itching, such as dust mites, animal dander, molds, and pollens
  • Use mild or soap-free cleansers 
  • Apple cider vinegar
    • Dilute to half water and half vinegar, and spray it on the scalp several times a week
    • Do not use apple cider vinegar if you have an open cut or sore on your head
  • Peppermint oil
    • Can be cooling and soothing. 
    • Put one or two drops in water, and apply to scalp
    • Let sit a few minutes then shampoo as usual
  • Tee tree oil or lemongrass oil 
    • Add just a few drops of either oil to your regular shampoo 
  • Olive oil or mineral oil 
    • Massage into scalp, leave on for about an hour, then shampoo

See a doctor if you have an itchy scalp:

  • That does not go away with home remedies
  • Interferes with sleep
  • With visible lice or mites on your scalp
  • That is painful to the touch or you have sores

What are medical treatments for itchy scalp?

Some causes of itchy scalp require medical treatment. 

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Reviewed on 10/22/2020
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