A common scalp condition where the skin on the scalp flakes, dandruff is no fun. And it's even worse when it's accompanied by an itchy scalp — it can leave you scratching your head at the worst times, and that's definitely not cute. A lot of products promise the world, but getting rid of an itchy scalp and dandruff isn't easy — primarily because a lot of people treat it as a regular condition that doesn't require special care. To give you a better insight into what dandruff is, we turned to Dr. Soma Sarkar, a renowned celebrity dermatologist to lend her expertise on the subject.

"Dandruff can be categorised into different forms — it can be wet and dry dandruff. It could be dandruff-like presentation, but the causative agents could be autoimmune disorders like psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis. It can be flaky, or thick and scaly," she explains. When asked how it coincides with an itchy scalp, she explained, "The patient who has dandruff can also have a very itchy scalp, because there is a fungal component involved in it, and it can give you an itchy and scratchy feeling all the time. This could cause your dandruff to increase, so you need to see a doctor for it."

Before we get into how to get rid of an itchy scalp and dandruff, let's first look at what causes the scalp condition in the first place. Read on...

 

What Causes Dandruff And An Itchy Scalp?

What Causes Dandruff And An Itchy Scalp?

While there's no one-size-fits-all cause for dandruff and an itchy scalp, there are a few culprits that may be to blame.

01. Oily Scalp

When your sebaceous glands go into overdrive, your scalp may face some buildup. If left untreated, this buildup of sebum can cause dandruff and make your scalp itch too.

Over-Brushing

02. Over-Brushing

Over-brushing the hair, or even applying too much heavy pressure on the head (through something as simple as wearing a cap) can cause dandruff, since there may be too much friction on the scalp, and cause the skin to flake off.

03. Infections

Fungal infections, and excessive growth of certain types of yeast on the scalp may be aggravating, especially for sensitive skin, and cause too many skin cells to grow, thus causing dandruff.

Poor Hygiene

04. Poor Hygiene

Factors like not washing your hair enough, and letting dirt, dead skin cells, and more accumulate on the scalp, may cause flaking and itchiness. Additionally, over-shampooing and stripping the scalp of its natural oils could have the same result.

 

How To Treat an Itchy Scalp And Dandruff

How To Treat an Itchy Scalp And Dandruff

Getting dandruff is annoying, but the good news is that it's easy to get rid of an itchy scalp and dandruff. Here are a few remedies you can try at home:

01. Medicated Products

While dandruff can't be 'cured' per se, we'd say that OTC products that are medicated come pretty close to treating it properly. If you're wondering how to get rid of an itchy scalp and dandruff, look for medicated products that contain ingredients like pyrithione zinc and selenium sulfide, which are antifungal and can help treat the condition properly.

02. Neem

An antifungal, antibacterial ingredient that not only gets rid of the dandruff-causing bacteria on the scalp, but soothes the itchiness on the scalp too, neem tops our list when we turn to home remedies for how to get rid of an itchy scalp and dandruff. Use products with neem as an ingredient, or use a neem leaf-powder to create a hair mask.

How To Treat an Itchy Scalp And Dandruff

03. Yoghurt

An anti-inflammatory, cooling ingredient that will calm down an itchy scalp and hydrate it to control dandruff, dahi, or yoghurt is a great pick when you want to treat an itchy scalp and dandruff. Massage it onto your scalp as is, or mix it with papaya for a hydrating, cleansing hair mask.

04. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil clears the scalp of all itchy elements, while nourishing and moisturising the scalp to improve its health. Go for weekly coconut oil massages to get rid of dandruff already!

Methi

05. Methi

Even if you're not a fan of the veggie, the health benefits of fenugreek — or methi — are unparalleled! Even when used topically, it nourishes and strengthens the scalp to help ward off any oiliness or dryness that may be causing dandruff. Indulge in a fenugreek hair mask, or ask your doctor to recommend some supplements to make the most of this natural remedy.

06. Aloe Vera

With antibacterial properties and scalp-saving natural ingredients, aloe vera is another solid pick when it comes to how to get rid of an itchy scalp and dandruff. Use an aloe vera gel as a hair mask, or invest in products that are infused with the ingredient — your scalp will thank you for it!

Apple Cider Vinegar

07. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar helps restore the pH balance on the scalp, and acts as an astringent to control the itchiness and dandruff by destroying the bacteria that causes it in the first place. Additionally, it helps clarify the scalp too — so make sure ACV rinses are a part of your routine to get rid of an itchy scalp and dandruff!

08. Mashed Banana

Since bananas have antimicrobial properties, they can help treat dry scalps and get rid of all the dandruff-causing bacteria that may be residing on them. Additionally, they're moisturising as well, meaning they will keep all future signs of dandruff and itchiness at bay too. Make a banana hair mask at home by thoroughly mashing a banana, mixing it with coconut oil, and leaving it on your hair for 15-20 minutes. Make sure you rinse it off properly!

Tea Tree Oil

09. Tea Tree Oil

An antiseptic, antibiotic, and antifungal essential oil, tea tree oil is fantastic for treating dandruff, especially when caused by a fungal infection. However, don't use this by itself since that can cause hair damage; instead, mix it with a carrier oil like almond oil and use it as a mask, or opt in for products that contain tea tree oil to ensure you can use it properly.

10. Healthier Lifestyle

Having a healthier lifestyle, ranging from stress-free living to eating healthy, can help improve dandruff. Stress can aggravate symptoms of dandruff, and in the long run, can weaken the immune system which would further reduce the body's ability to fight off dandruff. Eating more probiotics and Omega 3 fatty acids can help fight signs, symptoms, and causes of dandruff and an itchy scalp too, so make sure you improve your lifestyle.

 

When To See A Doctor

When To See A Doctor

Dr. Sarkar believes that it's extremely important to be mindful when you have dandruff. "Most people in our country treat dandruff and an itchy scalp as a common, routine condition and turn to home care remedies," she says. "Don't take dandruff lightly and turn to just home remedies; this needs to be taken care of by a dermatologist for proper care," she cautions.
She further elaborates, "One has to understand what kind of dandruff it is. The scalp has to be kept clean, which is why the type of shampoo, the frequency of shampooing, and more details need to be answered by a dermatologist. Dandruff won't just cause scalp issues; it can also contribute to hair fall, and aggravate other skin conditions like acne, back acne, rosacea and more."

FAQs

01) How do you hydrate your scalp?

By using hydrating ingredients, and using products that contain hydrating ingredients! From moisturising, nourishing ingredients like coconut oil, honey, and even hyaluronic acid, to products that contain them like conditioners and hair masks, hydrating your scalp is an easy task. However, make sure you're not confusing a dry scalp with dandruff, as the methods to treat them are different.

02) Should I wash my hair everyday if I have dandruff?

While you should frequently wash your hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo, regular washing is frowned upon, since it can strip your hair of its natural oils. Limit your washes to every other day, or space it out even more, if you can.

03) Why is my dandruff worse after I shower?

If you're using too much shampoo while you shower, you may suffer from worse dandruff after your wash. Combat this by washing your hair with anti dandruff shampoos, and avoid harsh chemicals.

04) Does sleeping with wet hair make dandruff worse?

While sleeping with wet hair is frowned upon for many reasons, one of them is also that it can make dandruff worse. By multiplying the bacteria on your head, sleeping with wet hair can cause you to get dandruff — and make it worse if you already have it.

05) Why do I have white stuff when I scratch my head?

Those are probably dandruff flakes! Dead skin cells that fall from the scalp when you have dandruff, they're what comes when you scratch your head. Use proper anti-dandruff treatments to stop these from falling.