Any Recommendation to Solve an Itchy Scalp?

Updated on February 11, 2016
D.N. asks from Chicago, IL
13 answers

I have an appointment with a dermatologist at the end of March. I know my scalp gets itchy from stress and dry air but the past few months have gotten so much worse. I have had my hair checked repeatedly to make sure I do not have any nits and lice going on. My 7 yr old had nits a few weeks ago--talk about power of suggestion! But my itching started before that. Anyway, stress is a trigger and work has really been something else lately. The itching has gotten so bad I have small sores on my head. I try not to scratch but...... Yesterday, I went to the bathroom and saw several large flakes in my hair so I definitely had a dry scalp. Has anyone used anything to help? I have past-shoulder-length hair. I have heard about apple cider vinegar and aloe but wonder if it will really do the job. I just want the itching to go away. I will be changing shampoos this week to see if maybe that is a contributor. Any suggestions, tips, recommends would be great.

ETA: I did not have any nits or lice or anything. My daughter only had nits and I did treat everything. I also added Tea Tree oil to our shampoo to make sure they do not come back (thought of course no guarantee).

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answers from Santa Fe on

I had this problem a few months ago and I watched a Youtube tutorial for getting rid of itchy scalp and dandruff at home. I can't remember exactly which one I watched, but after doing what it said my head felt much relief! I think it was doing a scrub first with baking soda and olive or coconut oil. Then you let it sit a bit. Then you rinse in the shower with apple cider vinegar. Then you can shampoo like normal. It felt really good and no itchy dandruff has come back since then.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I tried a bunch of natural stuff (vinegar, etc). In the end, what helped the most was Neutrogena T-gel shampoo. It smells terrible, but it works.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

If stress is a trigger you might want to talk to a psychiatrist about that. You can try all of the anti itch products in the world but if you don't treat the cause (stress), I don't see your problem getting any better. Good luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

Neutrogena T-Gel (a coal tar shampoo) works for many folks and used to work for me, but now I use Denorex's strongest shampoo and it kills itch fast. Meanwhile, each week be sure to moisturize your scalp. You can warm olive oil in the microwave (warm, not hot) and then use a wide-toothed comb to make a part and rub oil along it, part the hair again and rub oil along the part (on the scalp). And so on until you've gotten warm oil on most of the scalp. Cover with a plastic shower cap and leave on a short while then wash VERY well or you'll have oily roots. Do this early on a weekend so you have time to wash out excess oil before work on Monday.

I strongly recommend you keep that dermatologist appointment first and foremost--having sores on your scalp from itching indicates a possible need for something by prescription. I also hope you can reduce your stress, because when stress begins to make your body react to the point of scratching sores on yourself, it's time to reassess the sources of stress, possibly including your job situation. Consider seeing a counselor, if you cannot do anything about the job itself at this time.

Be careful with tea tree oil -- it can do a lot of things but also is very strong stuff, and some people find it drying, and others have reactions to it on the skin.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

You might look for hair products that contain no silicone. I developed an allergy to silicone and it's in just about every hair product out there (including almost all products designed to straighten hair). Dimethicone is the big one you'll see listed, but look for the "cone" at the end of the ingredient name. Silicone makes me scratch my head like crazy. L'Oreal and Tresemme both have lines without it.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I was having itching like this. I was even putting gobs of Mentholatum on my sores to keep them soft, no scab that way.

I did some research due to something I read of FB. I stopped using shampoo. I stopped several years ago.

I use plain old Pantene conditioner for dry hair. Not lathering conditioner, not shampoo mix, plain conditioner.

I wet my hair, get my hand full of conditioner, rub it into my scalp like I'm washing my hair, rinse it out, repeat. I also use a stiff brush to get my tangles out. Those with the really far spaced teeth.

I put my hair in a towel when I get out, turn my head upside down, put a little tiny bit of mousse in the ends and the part that will be the back, then I flip it up. I do dry just the roots sometimes if I'm going out and it's cold. But for the most part I let it air dry. Curls up sweetly and is clean and shiny and most of all, it doesn't itch anymore. I don't claw at my scalp and make those gouges anymore.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Are you sure the 'sores' you refer to aren't little pimple like bumps? You could have folliculitis which is basically an irritated hair follicle. The dermatologist should be able to identify this and recommend a course of action which could include antibiotics.

Coal tar shampoo such as T-Gel may give some relief. We've found Target's UP brand has a higher amount than Neutrogena but smells less offensive (more fruity/floral)

In all honesty this probably won't clear up without intervention so I'd move my appointment up or see if you can get in with your general practitioner sooner.



answers from Washington DC on

Try a coal tar shampoo. Look at the labels for a higher % of coal tar in the ingredients. Hopefully this will help until you see the dr.


answers from Springfield on

get a water softener, shampoo every other day, and add a humidifier to your home and workspace. these will prevent your scalp from being so dried out that it becomes itchy.



answers from New York on

You may want to give Nizoral a shot. I was having severe itchy scalp/dandruff issues all fall and, like you, was worried it might be lice, but no sign of it on my son or me. I ordered Nizoral via Amazon back in the beginning of December and wow, what a difference! It's not smelly like head and shoulders and gives my hair decent body. Do I sound like an ad or what? Anyway, you use it twice a week and a 7 oz bottle lasts about a month. Check it out.


answers from Norfolk on

Seborrheic dermatitis is one possible thing you might have.
Dandruff shampoo might help.
Try Head and Shoulders or make your own by dissolving an uncoated aspirin into the little bit of shampoo you wash your hair with.
The thing with this is, even if you find something that works for you, it won't keep working more than a few weeks - so you have to cycle through different things that work and move to the next when one stops working.



answers from Portland on

In this house we have:

1 - dry scalp (there are shampoos and conditioners for just this)
2 - dandruff (Head and Shoulders - I believe there is one for dry scalp in particular)
3 - allergies (my child's head itches for days after he's had a flare up - sometimes that's his only sign) - allergy pill
4 - eczema that shows up as dry scalp - this can have eczema patches that look like sores - special shampoo for dry scalp from eczema (our dermatologist recommended it)

Good you see a dermatologist to figure out the cause.

If the sores are from you scratching, if you were in my house, I'd give you an allergy pill and have you drink lots of water and make sure it didn't get infected. Because that can cause itching too.

Has your regular physician just had a quick look? Sometimes a pharmacist will take a look. Good luck :)

Hopefully it's not from the lice ...



answers from Wausau on

Tea Tree Oil is great for many things, but prolonged exposure can cause skin issues including a dry, itchy scalp. Try Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care shampoo and do not add TTO to it. Try to not scratch your head with your nails, as that may be causing/worsening sore spots.

If your scalp does not improve by the time you see the dermatologist, you may a fungal infection which will require a medicated cream. It is common for untreated fungal infections to develop sores.

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