How to Treat Dry Scalp: Natural Remedies, Essential Oils, and Over-the-Counter Treatments


Almost everyone has experienced dry scalp at some point in their life. It’s often characterized by itching, dandruff, flaky skin, and irritation. Dry scalp is not a serious medical condition, but it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. You might feel self-conscious about dandruff flakes on your clothing at work or feel the need to constantly scratch your head while in public. But don’t worry, there are many ways to treat and prevent dry scalp. In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need to know about treating dry scalp, including natural remedies, essential oils, over-the-counter treatments, and preventative measures.

Understanding the Causes of Dry Scalp

Before we dive into treatments, it’s important to understand what causes dry scalp. Some factors can lead to a dry scalp include:

Product Build-Up

Product buildup on the scalp can lead to dryness and irritation. This usually happens when we use too much product on our hair and don’t wash it out properly. Over time, this buildup can clog the hair follicles, leading to inflammation and dryness.

Weather Changes

When seasons change, so does the humidity and temperature, which can cause the scalp to become dry and itchy. Harsh winter weather can make it worse as we’re exposed to dry indoor heat and cold, dry air outside.

Medical Conditions

Eczema and psoriasis are common medical conditions that can cause dry, itchy skin – including on the scalp. The skin will often flake, causing dandruff that can be unsightly and embarrassing. Other conditions that contribute to dry scalp are seborrheic dermatitis, diabetes, and HIV infections.

Natural Remedies for Dry Scalp

If your dry scalp is not caused by a medical condition, there are many natural remedies you can try to treat it:

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a plant that contains enzymes that can help soothe the scalp and reduce inflammation. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help keep the scalp healthy and clean. Apply aloe vera gel to the scalp once a week to see the benefits.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help reduce scalp itching and flakiness. Try adding a few drops to your regular shampoo, or mix it with a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil, and massage it into your scalp.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural astringent, meaning it can help remove excess oil and product buildup from the scalp. Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water and apply it to your scalp. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it out.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a popular natural remedy for dry scalp. It contains fatty acids that help nourish and moisturize the scalp, reducing inflammation and itching. Warm up a few tablespoons of coconut oil and massage it into the scalp before washing your hair.

Essential Oils for Dry Scalp

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that can provide many benefits for the scalp. Here are some essential oils that can help with dry scalp:

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the scalp and reduce redness and irritation.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has a refreshing, cooling sensation that can relieve scalp itching and irritation.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is a natural antimicrobial, meaning it can help kill bacteria and fungi that can cause scalp dryness and dandruff.

The Benefits of a Balanced Diet for Dry Scalp

What we eat can have a big impact on our overall health – including our scalp health. Here are some tips for eating a balanced diet that supports a healthy scalp:

Increasing Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to our overall health, but they’re particularly beneficial for scalp health. Eating foods that contain omega-3s, such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and chia seeds, can help reduce inflammation and nourish the scalp.

Eating More Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are rich in vitamins and minerals that can help support healthy hair and prevent dry scalp. They’re also high in antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and free radical damage.

Reducing Processed Foods

Processed foods are often high in sugar and unhealthy fats, which can cause inflammation and dryness in the scalp. Try to eat a diet that focuses on whole, unprocessed foods to support a healthy scalp.

Over-the-Counter Treatments

If natural remedies aren’t helping your dry scalp, there are many over-the-counter treatments you can try:

Dandruff Shampoos

Dandruff shampoos are designed to treat dry scalp by removing excess oil and flakes. Look for shampoos that contain active ingredients like ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, or salicylic acid.

Scalp Masks

Scalp masks are designed to deeply nourish and moisturize the scalp, helping to reduce dryness and itching. Look for masks containing ingredients like argan oil, shea butter, and tea tree oil.

Scalp Oils

Scalp oils can be applied directly to the scalp to provide moisture and nourishment. Look for oils containing ingredients like jojoba oil, argan oil, or castor oil.

How to Prevent Dry Scalp

Preventing dry scalp is often easier than treating it. Here are some tips to help prevent dry scalp:

Reducing the Frequency of Hair Washing

Washing your hair too often can strip the scalp of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Try to wash your hair every other day or every three days to allow your scalp to produce enough oil to keep it healthy and hydrated.

Avoiding Hot Styling Tools

Hot styling tools, like hair dryers and straighteners, can dry out the scalp and cause damage to the hair follicles. Try to avoid using them too often or use them on a lower heat setting.

Wearing a Hat in Extreme Weather Conditions

Extreme weather conditions, like cold, wind, and sun, can also cause dryness and irritation to the scalp. Wearing a hat can help protect the scalp and hair from the elements.


Dry scalp is a common issue that can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. However, there are many natural remedies, essential oils, over-the-counter treatments, and preventative measures that can help treat and prevent dry scalp. Remember to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, avoid harsh weather conditions, and reduce the frequency of hair washing. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a healthy, happy scalp in no time.

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