Even just thinking about an itchy scalp can give you the urge to start scratching away. But, if you actually have to deal with a sore and itchy scalp keeping you awake, you know just how uncomfortable and irritating it can really be. Not only can a dry scalp be an annoyance during the day, but it can sometimes get to the point where it keeps you up at night.
There are plenty of different reasons people experience a dry, itchy scalp in the first place. Some are more serious than others. For the most part, however, a dry scalp is a result of something we’re either doing too much, or not doing enough.
Thankfully, there are also plenty of different ways to treat a flaking scalp. Depending on the cause, treatment options are usually fairly simple. From over-the-counter products, to medical options, or even home remedies, looking into treatment can help provide comfort if your itchy scalp is keeping you from getting a good night’s rest. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the common causes behind this issue, and what you can do about it.
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What Causes a Dry & Itchy Scalp?
Most people immediately associate an itchy scalp with dandruff. It’s true that the two tend to go hand in hand. While it may be the dandruff that’s causing the itching, it’s more important to consider what’s actually causing the dandruff. On top of that, there are plenty of other possible issues that could be causing irritation and discomfort.
Everything from the shampoo/conditioner you use, to other salon products or treatments can impact the overall health of your scalp. Hair products can contain harsh chemicals that can strip away the moisture and natural oils from your scalp. When your scalp isn’t able to continually produce the necessary oil, it becomes dry and itchy.
On the other hand, some hair products can actually have the adverse effect. Dandruff is often caused due to a buildup of oils. This kind of buildup can cause itchiness and flaking of the skin, and hair products with a lot of chemicals are often a heavy culprit.
Some people experience a dry and itchy scalp due to hot and cold weather conditions. That’s exactly why this problem tends to occur more in the colder months than in summer. Harsh weather can essentially strip moisture away from your hair and scalp, causing it to become irritated and dry.
Conditions like eczema and psoriasis are often associated with an irritated scalp. Oftentimes, these problems can not only cause itching, but inflammatory issues. Excessive itching of the scalp can make it even more inflamed and red, causing a somewhat ‘vicious cycle’ of itching and irritation to keep happening.
Underlying Health Issues
On rare occasions, sometimes an irritated scalp is the result of a more serious health condition. Sometimes, issues with your kidneys or thyroid may come into play. Problems with either of these areas can result in a side effect of an itchy scalp. Vitamin deficiencies can also play a role. If you’re concerned that you may have a deeper health issue, contact your doctor as soon as possible to get it checked out.
How to Soothe an Itchy Scalp
Again, for the most part, treating an irritated scalp should be based on what’s causing it in the first place. However, there are a few solid treatment options that not only stand the test of time, but have proven to be successful again and again.
The easiest thing you can do, at least to start, is try switching out the hair products you use. Or, go to a salon less, to see if that helps the problem. If you feel it might be your everyday products causing scalp issues, try looking for chemical-free, organic and natural products instead. These can be a bit pricier, but when it comes to the overall health of your scalp, they are well worth it. There are also non-prescription shampoos you can find in any store that are designed to help with dandruff and flaking.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has long been used when it comes to treating an irritated scalp. You can use the essential oil on its own, applying a bit to your scalp and hair before bed each night. Alternatively, you can mix a bit into your existing shampoo. There are some products already on the market that have done the work for you. Look for tea tree oil scalp and hair treatments. You can usually use these types of treatments at home, and they’ll give you some relief.
There are dozens of home remedies that have anecdotal success with an itchy scalp. Some of the most popular options include:
Most of these options have varying degrees of success, depending on the severity of the irritated scalp. Again, the important thing is to figure out what’s causing the problems in the first place. If it’s too much moisture (causing dandruff), you’ll want to specifically be able to cleanse your scalp. If you don’t have enough moisture, using things like coconut oil or a moisturizing cream can help to seal it in.
Keeping Your Scalp Healthy
If you do suffer with an itchy scalp that’s keeping you awake at night, try not to give into the temptation of itching it. It can be easy to want a ‘quick relief,’ but scratching at your scalp is likely to make it red and inflamed. In some cases, it can even start to bleed. That can open up an entirely new threat of problems, such as infection. Try to figure out, first and foremost, what’s causing your scalp issues to begin with. From there, knowing what to do about should come easier, so you don’t have to deal with the irritation for long.