Natural Remedies for Itchy Scalp

Article by Jennifer Maez

Itchy scalp can be an annoying and embarrassing problem.  It can have a few different causes which are difficult to tell apart, such as seborrheic eczema (seborrhea), psoriasis, a fungal infection (Malassezia), or head lice.  Fortunately, there are a variety of natural cures that work very well, and are easy on the wallet.  Some you might already have in your home.


Here’s the list:

  • apple cider vinegar
  • tea tree oil
  • anise oil
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • jojoba oil
  • coconut oil

Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as balances the pH of the scalp. It can also help kill yeasts or viruses that may be causing the itch or dandruff.  Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water, then apply directly to your scalp.  After 10 minutes, rinse it out.  It should not leave any oily residue on the hair.

Tea-tree flower

Image by John Tann

Tea Tree oil can be used to soothe the scalp when flare-ups occur.  If there is an underlying infection, whether fungal, bacterial, or parasitic, this is an effective remedy.  It is a natural antifungal/antibacterial/antiparasitic, and also has anti-inflammatory properties.  You can add a few drops to baby shampoo (baby shampoo is usually less likely to cause skin reactions) and mix well, then shampoo with this mixture for a week.  You can also add a few drops to one tablespoon of warmed coconut oil and mix well, then massage into your scalp nightly for a week, washing your hair with a mild shampoo in the morning to remove any excess greasiness.  Due to the emollient effects of the coconut oil, this will help moisturize the scalp, while the tea tree takes care of the underlying problem.


Image by jupitersnest

Anise oil is a good choice if you are sure the problem is lice or a similar insect.  It can be purchased at most grocery stores in the baking aisle.  Make sure to get a natural, not an artificial, variety.  It should be used full strength on the scalp for one week.  Combing the hair and scalp with a very fine-toothed lice comb will also help distribute the oil throughout the hair, and remove any dead bugs.

Fresh squeezed lemon juice is effective in dealing with dandruff.  It has natural antibacterial properties.  It also smells good, but be aware that it can bleach your hair. Leave it on for only 5 minutes, then rinse it out.


Image by Ken Bosma

Jojoba oil and coconut oil have similar emollient properties.  Jojoba oil is the oil that is closest to the molecular structure of our skin’s natural oil.  Coconut oil is a fairly small molecule, and therefore is easily absorbed.  It also makes a great night face cream that will not block pores.  At room temperature it is more of a solid that melts from the heat of your skin.  Since one cause of itchy scalp can be dryness, these oils are great additions to your personal care routine.  Both can be used to moisturize dry, irritated skin, and can be mixed with a little tea tree for an ointment that packs a healing “punch”.

Don’t forget to rule out stress and food allergies.  Health on the outside of the body starts from within.  If the problem is reccurring, look into possible causes, such as an allergy to a certain type of food or haircare product.  Eliminating common allergens one at a time may help pinpoint the cause of the problem.  Many people have allergies to food that they are not even aware of.

Finally, don’t forget to drink enough H2O.  Dry skin can be caused by not drinking enough water.  Our bodies need a lot of water to rid ourselves of wastes.  Without it, every system starts to break down.   But don’t worry, with these simple tips, you should be free of itchy scalp, and embarrassment.


(C.N. Shealy, M.D., Alternative Medicine- An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, Element Books Ltd., 1996 pg. 197.

Jennifer Maez is a freelance writer who, after living in 12 different states, currently resides in Colorado. She has a B.A. in Psychology. Jennifer enjoys hiking, plant identification, and meditation, and is a self-taught student of natural and holistic medicine.  She enjoys cooking paleo dishes for her family, and is currently working on a paleo sauces cookbook.

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