Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Ways to keep your scalp healthy

Reading Time: 5 minutes

An itchy scalp, or scalp pruritus, is a common and vexing symptom associated with various scalp conditions. Finding relief can be a challenging endeavour due to the multitude of potential triggers. While the reasons for an itchy scalp can be diverse, culprits often include dandruff, product build up, head lice, allergic reaction or dryness. Thorough investigation to identify the root cause is necessary in order to treat it properly.

I’m here to tell you that while investing in expensive over-the-counter remedies might seem like a great solution, there exists a plethora of effective do-it-yourself natural and home remedies that are far more effective. These accessible home remedies are convenient and cost-effective as well.

Neem —

The healing attributes of neem are widely recognised and cherished in Indian culture, passed down through generations. What some may not realise is that neem can also be remarkably advantageous for your scalp and hair health. The natural antibacterial and antifungal properties of neem make it an effective option to treat an itchy scalp. You can use a neem water rinse or a neem shampoo to reap these benefits.

Apple Cider Vinegar —

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a time honoured natural remedy renowned for its versatility. Its potential benefits include antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. When properly diluted (1 part ACV to 2 parts water) and used to rinse the scalp, ACV can be a valuable addition to your hair care regimen. Notably, it aids in pH balancing your hair and scalp. Furthermore, research indicates that ACV can effectively combat dandruff caused by yeast overgrowth on the scalp, as its acidity creates an unfavourable environment for yeast growth thereby reducing flaking and itching. ACV also provides gentle exfoliation, thanks to its natural lactic acid content, which not only helps remove dead skin cells but also enhances hydration by drawing in moisture.

Note: It’s essential to dilute ACV and patch testing it, especially if you have a sensitive scalp. ACV offers a holistic solution for itchiness of the scalp.

Coconut Oil —

Cherished for centuries for its hydrating prowess, organic coconut oil is naturally derived from mature coconuts, It is a versatile elixir that exhibits potential antifungal and antibacterial properties, offering respite from an itchy scalp, dandruff and scalp infections. A notable component of coconut oil is lauric acid, which promotes efficient absorption of coconut oil into the skin and scalp to soothe itchiness. Beyond its scalp-soothing qualities, coconut oil benefits the hair by penetrating the hair shaft making it a preferred choice if you’re dealing with dry hair and scalp.

Walnut Leaves —

In traditional medicine, the application of walnut leaves has been a longstanding practice. They are thought to be a potential solution for an itchy scalp. Crafting a decoction from walnut leaves offers a promising remedy for an itchy scalp. To prepare this solution, simply simmer dried walnut leaves in water over low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes. Strain the leaves and use the leftover liquid as a scalp rinse.

Amla —

Amla, known as Indian gooseberry, is a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic traditions. This fruit is loaded with a wide spectrum of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Amla oil, amla juice and dried amla are potent home remedies for addressing the discomfort of an itchy scalp. Amla oil is believed to have the capacity to alleviate scalp irritation and infections. Meanwhile, amla powder paste can offer swift relief for an itchy scalp.

 Lemon Juice —

Lemon juice ranks among the top choices for soothing an itchy scalp at home. Its antibacterial properties act as a deterrent against the dandruff-inducing yeast, while its acidity proves effective in both softening existing flakes and soothing scalp inflammation.

Aloe Vera —

Fresh aloe vera, sourced directly from the leaf, is an excellent remedy for dryness, flakes and irritation on the scalp. Aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory properties make it especially beneficial if you’re dealing with scalp inflammation, itchiness and irritation. Aloe vera’s aloenin component contributes to its effectiveness. Commercial aloe vera products often contain additional ingredients like preservatives, so opting for 100% pure aloe vera gel is ideal. To create aloe vera gel, extract the gel from a leaf, blend it, and apply it to the scalp for relief.

Castor Oil —

Castor oil potentially possesses antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory attributes. Its components, such as ricin and ricinoleic acid, provide nourishment to the scalp and hair, while also promoting blood circulation. These qualities make castor oil a dryness, itchy scalp and dandruff warrior.

Peppermint Oil —

Peppermint oil serves as an effective remedy for combating dandruff and itching. Its soothing properties work to relieve itchiness, reduce inflammation, nourish the scalp and moisturise it. Additionally, peppermint oil’s attributes make it effective against head lice. A few drops of peppermint oil can be stirred into cool water or a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil and massaged onto the scalp. Let it sit for a short while and then rinse it off with shampoo.

Rosewater —

Rosewater, a mild and natural solution, has the potential to offer relief for an itchy scalp. It is recognised for its gentle and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Rosewater’s inherent anti-inflammatory properties serve to reduce scalp inflammation, thereby soothing itchiness. In situations where time is limited or you prefer a portable remedy, rosewater is your best bet!

 Mashed Bananas —

Bananas, rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, offer a wide array of benefits that extend beyond nutrition. Emerging research suggests their usefulness in beauty treatments, particularly for enhancing scalp and hair health. Bananas contribute to improved hair shine, manageability, soothe itchiness and scalp moisture retention. While commercial banana-based hair products are available, there’s no need to spend excessively when you can easily create your own banana hair mask at home using mashed bananas.

Green Tea —

Green tea, celebrated for its numerous health benefits. This antioxidant boasts impressive anti-inflammatory properties and exhibits natural antifungal attributes. To harness its benefits, simply apply chilled green tea to the scalp and rinse it off after 10 minutes.

Jojoba Oil —

Everyone knows that jojoba oil is one of the chosen carrier oils, it stands out on its own as a scalp treatment. Jojoba oil, in essence, is a wax with oil-like properties that closely resembles the natural sebum produced by your scalp which in turn can sooth your scalp and ease itchiness.

Warm Olive Oil —

Gently warming olive oil and applying it to your scalp can be effective in softening and loosening itchy crusts and scales on the surface of your scalp.

Tea Tree Oil —

Tea tree oil, with its potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, offers a solution for relieving itchy scalp and dandruff. Mixing 10-20 drops of tea tree oil with a gentle shampoo or a carrier oil like olive oil can effectively address these concerns. However, it should be used with caution and definitely not used alone, as its potency may lead to scalp irritation if not adequately diluted.

Salicylic Acid —

Salicylic acid, derived from evergreen leaves and willow tree bark, offers anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antipruritic benefits. This multifunctional acid, known for acne treatment, softens scaling and itchy skin on the scalp and reducing dandruff,  is a common ingredient in clarifying hair products like shampoos and treatments. Its use varies in shampoo products, so adherence to label instructions is essential. Be sure to consult a healthcare professional before using any products with salicylic acid in case of a potential allergic reaction.

Yogurt —

Yogurt, a common component of DIY skincare and scalp treatments, contains natural lactic acid, which gently removes dead skin cells. While Greek yogurt offers the ideal consistency for scalp masks, vegan options like coconut or soy yogurt can also work. Yogurt and egg masks are another popular scalp soothing option.

Medicated shampoos

  • Zinc pyrithione shampoo- Zinc pyrithione shampoo, available over-the-counter, serves as an antifungal remedy for skin conditions like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Consult your healthcare professional for guidance on the most suitable product and shampooing frequency based on your individual needs.
  • Ketoconazole shampoo- Ketoconazole, an effective broad-spectrum antifungal agent, that is available in over the counter and prescription shampoos. It typically alleviates symptoms in 2-3 weeks and can be used every 1-2 weeks for preventing scalp conditions. However, consult a healthcare professional before using it.
  • Selenium sulphide- Selenium sulphide, an anti-infective medication, is effective for treating seborrheic dermatitis, itchy scalp and dandruff by slowing yeast growth on the scalp, but consultation with a healthcare professional is advisable.

Meditation —

Engaging in stress-reduction activities, including meditation, could prove beneficial in alleviating the discomfort of an itchy scalp. However, it’s crucial to consider meditation as a complementary approach alongside conventional treatments.

A dry and irritated scalp may indicate dandruff or other scalp-related skin issues. To alleviate itchiness, consider using some of these home remedies.

NOTE: Consult a physician if symptoms persist beyond a week, encompass pain, sores, swelling, or severe itching that hinders sleep or daily functioning.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

Latest Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Latest Articles