woman scratching her dry scalp

If you’ve ever stared in the mirror at little white flakes in your hair or felt yourself scratching your head constantly throughout the day, chances are that you’re suffering from dry scalp. More than a cosmetic nuisance, dry scalp can cause excessive irritation that can become a real bother in your day-to-day life. Finding natural remedies to relieve your dry scalp can help you moisturize and rejuvenate a scalp in need of some TLC.

What Is Dry Scalp?

When the scalp does not produce or retain enough moisture, you end up with dry scalp. Like the skin on the rest of your body, your scalp needs enough oil to remain lubricated and moisturized. When there isn’t enough oil, you will often feel many of the itchy, irritating side effects that you’d feel with dry skin anywhere else on your body.

Dry Scalp Symptoms

Dry scalp can be incredibly irritating and even painful when its severe enough. Often the skin on the scalp is tender and, as a result, more sensitive.

You may be suffering from dry scalp if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Itchiness
  • Flaking
  • Dry skin in other parts of your body

Dry scalp is different than dandruff, as dandruff often forms as a result of too much oil production in the scalp. Though dry scalp and dandruff share similar symptoms, dandruff is often triggered by a fungus called malassezia. In addition, the flakes that result from dry scalp are often smaller and whiter than dandruff flakes, which are typically larger and more yellow-tinted.

Dry Scalp Causes

As discussed, dry scalp is similar to having dry skin elsewhere on the body. As a result, dry scalp is often related to similar causes, including:

  • Dry air (such as during the winter season)
  • Too much washing (which strips natural oils)
  • Skin conditions (i.e. eczema, psoriasis)
  • Hair styling (blow dryer can dry out the scalp)
  • Chemical hair products (shampoos or styling products can be too harsh on the scalp)
  • Not getting adequate nutrition or water consumption
  • Stress and anxiety

Dry scalp can be improved by adjusting some of the lifestyle habits or treating the conditions that contribute to dry scalp.

Dry Scalp Natural Remedies

Many of the natural remedies used for dry scalp entail removing certain products and habits from your life just as much as they suggest including new products and routines.

Use Natural, Gentle Hair Care Products

Whether it’s the shampoo and conditioner you use in the shower or the styling mousse you use when you get out, it’s best to use hair care products that are free from harsh chemicals and will be gentle on your scalp.

Tea Tree Oil

Because tea tree oil has antiseptic properties, it can help fight off any bacteria or fungus that may be contributing to your dry scalp. Tea tree oil also has moisturizing effects, which can help soothe your dry scalp.

To use tea tree oil, try adding a few drops to your shampoo or apply it to your scalp with a carrier oil as a bedtime scalp mask (rinsing it off in the morning).

Coconut Oil

If your dry scalp is in desperate need of some moisture, coconut oil can be a useful natural remedy to try out. Coconut oil, when massaged into the scalp, can help lubricate your scalp and provide vital nutrients that will encourage natural moisture production in your scalp.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Your dry scalp could be a result of a pH imbalance, and apple cider vinegar can help neutralize that. If you have bacteria or an infection causing your dry scalp, the apple cider vinegar can also help treat that.

Mix 1/2 a cup of apple cider vinegar with 1/2 a cup of water and apply this mixture to your scalp. Rinse off with a gentle shampoo after 10 minutes.

Drink More Water and Take up a Clean Diet

We all know how important a healthy diet is, and eating nutrient-packed, clean meals is just as important to our scalp health too. It’s also incredibly important that your body maintains hydrated throughout the day, so make sure you are getting those eight 8 oz. servings of water every day.

Chances are that if you’re noticing dry skin elsewhere on your body, a lack of adequate water consumption could be a contributing factor.

Practice Meditation and Reduce Stress

Stress can have powerful effects on the body, including problems with your hair and skin. In addition to hair loss, your dry scalp could be a result of increased levels of stress in the body.

One simple way to lower your stress levels is to start a routine of practicing mindful meditation. Meditative practices like yoga or tai chi can do incredible things for your mind and body, helping relieve stress in your life and get you on track to a healthier scalp.


Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp: What’s the Difference? (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-disorders/dandruff-vs-dry-scalp#causes
10 Reasons for a Dry, Flaky, & Itchy Scalp That Everyone Should Know. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://www.dryscalpgone.com/
Villines, Z. (n.d.). Dandruff vs. dry scalp: Causes, treatment, and prevention. Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320988.php
Born and raised in Southern California, Beeta has embraced a healthy lifestyle focused on farm-to-table cooking, natural products, and wellness routines. When she's not writing up recipes or discussing the latest natural living trends, Beeta enjoys spending time trying new restaurants, traveling with family and friends, and relaxing at home with her furry companion.