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  5. Itchy Scalp: Causes, Symptoms & 13 Ayurvedic Remedies

What do you do if your scalp itches in between an important public gathering? Do you try to control yourself from scratching, or can't resist it most often?

While the feeling of public embarrassment is real, constant scratching can also lead to serious scalp issues. To treat itchy scalp, Ayurveda uses herbs with antiseptic properties, which do not have any detrimental impact on your hair growth.

Keep reading to find out natural ways to cure the itching and prevent its recurrence.

What Is Itchy Scalp Exactly?

Unlike the skin on other parts of your body, scalp skin is an anatomic region with a unique neural structure that contains dense blood vessels. Your scalp's exposure to environmental stressors and chemical-laden products can frequently predispose it to manifestations like pruritus or itching.

The unpleasant sensation evokes an urge to scratch. It is a characteristic feature of many scalp infections and an unusual symptom of systemic diseases. The disorder can occur as an acute or chronic condition.

An itchy scalp can occur without any noticeable skin changes. Sometimes you can find reddish patches, silvery-white scale, scabbed, or flaking skin. [1]

What Causes Itchy Scalp?

The primary cause of scalp pruritus is dandruff. Usually, scalp's skin cells die and flake off in a month. Dandruff is diagnosed when your scalp flakes off every 2-7 days.

An itchy scalp without associated primary symptoms may also be due to an underlying systemic illness, multifactorial reasons such as age, or merely a side effect of rubbing or scratching.

"In the Ayurvedic perspective, the primary doshas involved in itchy scalp are Kapha and Vata. Kapha inhibits a soft and sticky nature, whereas Vata inhibits a dry and rough nature. In an elevated state, the two doshas release specific impurities (ama), which are dry and heaty in nature," says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

She further adds, "Ama infects your scalp by accumulating dead skin cells in your scalp tissues. This makes your scalp shed larger than normal dead skin cells, leading to dandruff.”

Here are some of the major causes of itchy scalp:

A. The development of impurities in your blood, constipation, and low vitality occurs mainly because of eating the wrong foods.

B. Exposure to harsh hair care products (contact dermatitis).

C. Yeast overgrowth on your scalp thrives dandruff - caused by stress, hormonal imbalance, an excessively oily/dirty scalp, or an autoimmune condition.

D. Skin conditions such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and bacterial/fungal infections are primarily responsible for dandruff. [2]

You should seek medical help if your itchy scalp is due to the following reasons:

1. Seborrheic Dermatitis

Dandruff is a prevalent hair disorder that causes the scalp skin to flake with mild itchiness. Seborrheic dermatitis is the next stage of dandruff and eczema (skin inflammation) caused by yeast aggravation on your scalp.


Red rash, shedding yellowish flakes, irritated and oily skin.

2. Bacterial/Fungal Infection

If your scalp is damaged, fungus and bacteria can enter your hair follicles and infect your scalp. Folliculitis and impetigo are bacterial infections, whereas ringworm is a fungal infection.


Patches on the scalp appear soft and moist with pus-filled pimples, blisters, bumps, and open sores on the scalp.

3. Psoriasis

Psoriasis speeds up the skin cell life cycle and accumulates extra skin cells.


Raised and reddish scaly patches.

4. Autoimmune Condition

Autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system directly attacks your hair follicles.


Round and smooth patches of hair loss.

5. Contact Dermatitis

Scalp irritation occurs when it comes into contact with certain hair care products like a new shampoo.


Red and itchy scalp. [3]

Dandruff mostly occurs by an overgrowth of a yeast called 'Malassezia furfur.' The best anti-dandruff shampoos target the growth of yeast itself.

dandruff in magnifying glass

How Do You Get Rid Of An Itchy Scalp?

1. Itchy Scalp Ayurvedic Treatment

A. Fenugreek

Methi seeds are rich in protein, nicotine acid, nutrients, and antioxidants, which help treat your itchy scalp.

1. Soak fenugreek or methi seeds overnight and grind them into a smooth paste. Or you can use methi powder by mixing it with water.

2. Mix it with medicinal herbs that have insecticide properties - like tea tree oil or lime juice.

3. Apply the methi paste to your scalp and leave it for 30 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water.

4. Do it thrice a week. Wash your hair with an anti-dandruff herbal shampoo.

5. You can also mix fenugreek seed oil with tea tree oil and massage your scalp with it.

B. Lemon

Lemon is the most beneficial ingredient for dandruff treatment. It is rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, trace amounts of zinc, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.

1. Mix equal amounts of ginger juice, lime juice, and olive oil.

2. Pour the liquid onto your scalp and gently massage it with your fingertips.

3. Rinse it off with cold water. Do it thrice a week.

4.It is a natural alternative to your cleanser.

C. Green Gram

Green gram is rich in minerals, vitamins, proteins and fiber. It can treat many hair disorders. The mung beans paste acts as a great herbal alternative for your anti-dandruff shampoo.

1. Grind it into a smooth paste and wash your hair with it.

2. Apply it to your scalp and let it work for 15 minutes and rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do it once a week.

3. If your hair is too oily, add curd to the green gram and then wash off with a mild shampoo.

D. Snake Gourd

Snake gourd curbs dandruff by hydrating and detoxifying your scalp.

1. Grind it into a liquid form and use the juice to apply it on your scalp.

2. Let it rest on your scalp for 30 minutes. Rinse it off with cold water.

3. Do it once a week and wash your hair with anti-dandruff herbal shampoo to prevent dandruff reoccurrence.

F. Neem

Neem oil alone can eliminate dandruff, on its own, or you can mix it with tea tree or rosemary essential oils for the best results.

1. Use neem paste or neem powder as a hair pack. Neem is a potent dandruff destroyer.

2. Ingest neem leaves on an empty stomach in the morning to get rid of scalp infections.

3. Boil a bunch of neem leaves in one liter of water and let it cool down. After washing your hair, pour the liquid onto your scalp as a final rinse.

2.  Itchy Scalp Home Remedies

A. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is rich in antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. It alleviates itchy scalp and dandruff. It is particularly useful for relieving psoriasis-related itchy scalp.

1. Mix apple cider vinegar in lukewarm water and vinegar in equal ratios.

2. Use it as a rinse after shampooing.


Don't do this if you have an open cut or sore on your scalp.

B. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil contains a concentrated natural substance called menthol. It increases blood flow to your scalp skin, which helps alleviate itchiness.

1. Dilute two drops of peppermint oil into a cup of cold water.

2. Gently massage your scalp with the solution for two minutes.

3. Shampoo your hair and then rinse it with peppermint tea.

C. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

1. Dilute 10-20 drops of tea tree oil into your shampoo.

2. Gently massage your scalp while having a head bath.

3. Tea tree oil is not an ingestible essential oil.

3. Itchy Scalp Shampoo


Ingredients To Look For

A. Pyrithione Zinc

The antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties of zinc pyrithione help treat seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. It can inhibit the growth of yeast, which is the main factor for dandruff.

B. Selenium Sulfide

Selenium sulfide acts as an anti-infective agent that relieves itching and flaking of the scalp by removing the dry and scaly particles of dandruff or seborrhea.

C. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an organic ingredient that soothes your itchy scalp. It eliminates irritation and residue often caused by synthetic hair care products. It prevents contact dermatitis.

D. Tea Tree Oil & Peppermint Oil

They contain antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties to fight dandruff and itching caused by seborrheic dermatitis. The duo has a refreshing and soothing smell when formulated with ingredients like mint and lavender. It hydrates your hair and promotes smoother texture.

E. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar can wash away dead skin cells and soothe your itchy scalp. It clarifies your clogged hair follicles, enhances shine, and reduces dandruff.

Vedix Tip: Dry scalp is not the only cause for dandruff. Dandruff also occurs in an oily scalp. Thus, don’t rub in too much oil to treat dandruff.

4. Itchy Scalp Hair Mask

Here are a few homemade DIY hair masks to cure itchy scalp. [4]

A. Apple Cider Vinegar + Tea Tree Oil

1. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with three drops of pure tea tree oil and a carrier oil like almond oil.

2. Pour the solution onto your scalp and have a gentle massage for two minutes.

3. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

B. Neem Leaves Powder + Coconut Oil

1. Bind neem leaves powder and coconut oil in such a way that it forms a thick paste.

2. Apply this on your scalp by uniformly spreading it from the root to tip of your hair.

3. Let it work on your scalp for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water.

C. Fenugreek Seeds + Yogurt

1. Soak methi seeds in water for one whole night.

2. Strain the water and grind the soaked methi seeds with two tablespoons of yogurt.

3. You can add three drops of peppermint essential oil into the paste.

4. Apply the mixture on your scalp for 20 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water.

D. Lemon + curd

1. Mix about two tablespoons of yogurt with a tablespoon of lemon juice.

2. You can also add rice water to this hair mask.

3. Apply the mixture onto your scalp and spread it evenly all over.

4. Let it settle for 30 minutes before rinsing it off with a mild shampoo.

ayurvedic herbs from garden

5. Other Treatment Options For Itchy Scalp

Mentioned below are a few over the counter products which can be used as prescribed by a dermatologist:

A. Pyrithione Zinc Shampoos

Zinc pyrithione is an antibacterial and antifungal agent.

B. Tar-Based Shampoos

Coal tar slows down the process of how skin cells die and flake off. This ingredient may cause discoloration. It makes your scalp more sensitive to sunlight.

C. Shampoos Containing Salicylic Acid

These products help eliminate scaly patches on your scalp.

D. Selenium Sulfide Shampoos

They contain an antifungal agent as a significant ingredient. Follow the instructions while using these shampoos, as they can discolor your hair.

E. Ketoconazole Shampoos

It is intended to kill dandruff-causing fungi that live on your scalp.

Itchy Scalp Prevention Tips

1. Manage stress. Believe it or not, dandruff can be caused by stress-related issues in your body.

2. Keep your scalp clean. Gently shampoo thrice a week to avoid an oily scalp. Try to cut back on hair styling products.

3. Eat fruits like apples and bananas. They contain vitamins A, C, E, amino acids, antioxidants, and minerals like iron, zinc, etc., which reduces dandruff.

4. Include immunity boosters like ginger, garlic, curry leaf, and amla in your diet. It builds resilience in your scalp.

5. Wash your pillow cover and any cloth that comes in contact with your hair with a disinfectant.

6. Wash your comb and other hair accessories regularly. [5]

Itchy Scalp Risks

1. Scratching your scalp for a long time can damage your hair follicles.

2. Each hair strand is covered with cuticle scales. Too much scratching can break the cuticle.

3. Scratching weakens your hair roots, making it easier to break.

4. Scratching weakens your scalp. When your skin is scratched, it triggers inflammation and an immune response. It causes the scalp skin to become tender, and a less effective barrier protectant.

5. Control yourself from scratching too much on itchy wounds. Otherwise, it may lead to scalp inflammation.

6. Scalp skin becomes dry as the outer layer of the scalp is weak.

7. Vigorous scratching makes your hair weak and your scalp vulnerable.

The Last Word

The primary cause of an itchy scalp is dandruff. You can relieve your scalp from dandruff with simple home remedies. If you face more serious issues with your itchy scalp, please consult a doctor.

Ayurvedic herbs are the most prominent medicines to cure most scalp infections, especially an itchy scalp. It is a multi-purpose natural treatment that benefits healthy hair growth.

Vedix custom-formulates Ayurvedic haircare products as per your doshas and unique hair needs.

Know Your Dosha Now

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