Home remedies such as coconut oil, an apple cider vinegar rinse, and peppermint oil may help ease symptoms of an itchy scalp.
Scalp pruritus, known as an itchy scalp, is a common symptom of various scalp conditions.
Treatment largely depends on the underlying cause of your itchy scalp. However, some home remedies may help relieve your symptoms.
The National Psoriasis Foundation suggests using a 1-to-1 ratio of water and organic apple cider vinegar several times a week. After applying the solution, it’s best to rinse your scalp.
Nearly 50% of a coconut’s fat content is lauric acid. This saturated fat helps the skin absorb coconut oil efficiently, making it a soothing treatment for itchy scalp.
A 2009 study suggested that a combination of coconut oil and anise may be more successful at delousing and eliminating scalp itch caused by head lice than permethrin, a medication used to treat lice.
The oil can be diluted with water or another oil, such as olive oil, then massaged into the scalp before shampooing.
Activities that reduce stress, such as meditation, may be effective at eliminating itchy scalps.
Researchers from a
That said, they note that meditation should be used alongside other medical treatments, and more research is needed.
Using an app or listening to a meditation tape or podcast is a great way to start meditating if you’re new to it.
It can be irritating to the skin, so it’s important to use it sparingly or dilute it prior to use.
Try adding 10–20 drops of tea tree oil to a gentle shampoo, or mix it with olive oil and massage it directly into your scalp.
Speak with a healthcare professional before using these types of shampoos, as the amount of zinc pyrithione in each shampoo varies by brand. You may need to try different kinds before finding one that works best for you.
How often you shampoo your hair may depend on your condition. Some people find daily shampooing provides the most itch relief, while others find this is too drying for the scalp.
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid found in evergreen leaves and white willow tree bark. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antipuritive properties that may help treat symptoms of an itchy scalp.
Shampoos containing this ingredient may vary by strength and require different application methods. It’s important to read the labels and follow the usage instructions given.
Salicylic acid shouldn’t be used by anyone with an aspirin allergy or sensitivity to salicylic acid.
Ketoconazole is a broad-spectrum antifungal agent that’s effective at reducing infections caused by yeast.
Ketoconazole shampoos are available as OTC or prescription medications.
These shampoos typically reduce symptoms within 2–3 weeks. You may also use them every 1–2 weeks to prevent scalp conditions like dandruff from returning.
Speak with a healthcare professional before using Ketoconazole shampoos. They may cause side effects, such as a burning sensation on your skin.
Selenium sulfide is an anti-infective medication that helps treat seborrheic dermatitis by slowing down the growth of yeast on the scalp.
Speak with a healthcare professional before trying selenium sulfide-based shampoos. Application methods and quantities may vary for each person.
Essential oils and medicated shampoos may cause some side effects on your skin, such as:
It’s important not to use ingredients you have a known allergy to. In rare cases, a person may experience anaphylaxis. This is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
Speak with a doctor about medical treatments if your symptoms:
- last longer than a week
- include pain, sores, or swelling
- include itching so intense it interferes with your ability to sleep or function
Why is my head itching so badly?
You may experience an itchy scalp (scalp pruritus) for a variety of reasons, such as:
- seborrheic dermatitis
- head lice
- ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis)
- basal cell carcinoma
- squamous cell carcinoma
How do you get rid of an itchy scalp fast?
Some home remedies that may help quickly relieve your itchy scalp include:
- essential oils, such as coconut, tea tree, and peppermint
- OTC shampoos that contain selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, or ketoconazole
Why does my head itch if it’s not lice or dandruff?
- inflammatory conditions
- infectious conditions
- autoimmune conditions
- neuropathic conditions
- diabetes mellitus
- brain and spinal cord injury
- systemic conditions
- chronic conditions
- psychiatric conditions
Scalp itch, or pruritus, is a common complaint that may be caused by several skin conditions.
It can often be treated at home with remedies like meditation, essential oils, or OTC shampoos. However, you may require medical treatment.
Speak with a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve after 1 week. They’ll be able to develop a treatment plan that’s best for you.