Does your head feel incessantly itchy? Has your black shirt been plagued with white speckles falling from your scalp? You might be suffering from a dry and flaky scalp.
Sometimes even the priciest anti-dandruff shampoo fails at getting rid of this problem. In fact, sometimes using the wrong shampoo can lead to an even drier, flakier scalp.
Seborrheic dermatitis, aka dandruff, is the most common condition that causes a dry and flaky scalp. Auto-immune conditions like psoriasis or eczema can also lead to an itchy and flaky scalp. Other contributing factors can be hard water, excessive use of styling products and equipment, fungal or bacterial infections, poor hygiene or allergies. (1)
But you need not to lose hope yet. Making small changes in your hair care regimen and taking the aid of some natural nourishing agents can help you deal with this condition in no time.
- Natural Treatments for Dry Flaky Scalp
- Method 1: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Method 2: Tea Tree Oil
- Method 3: Jojoba Oil
- Method 4: Aloe Vera
- Method 5: Herbal Rinse
- Method 6: Mayonnaise
- Method 7: Apple Cider Vinegar
- Method 8: Coconut Oil
- Tips to deal with dry and flaky scalp
Natural Treatments for Dry Flaky Scalp
We bring you the best eight home remedies for a dry, flaky scalp that work.
Method 1: Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Moisturizing your scalp is the first step in treating the dryness and stopping the skin from flaking. Rich in fatty acids, olive oil is a quick fix for all your hair issues. EVOO easily penetrates your scalp and nourishes it. Also, the antioxidants in the oil counter the free radical activity that may be affecting your scalp. (2)
You can add honey and glycerin to the olive oil for extra hydration. Despite being a thick fluid, honey does not clog your hair follicles. Its antibacterial nature also helps disinfect the scalp. Both glycerin and honey work as humectants to draw in moisture and seal it into your scalp.
Things you’ll need:
- Extra-virgin olive oil (moisturizer, antioxidants) – 2 tablespoons
- Vegetable glycerin (humectant) – 1 tablespoon
- Honey (antibacterial, humectant) – 1 tablespoon
Step 1. Combine the three ingredients
- Pour 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil into a container.
- Add 1 tablespoon each of honey and vegetable glycerin.
Step 2. Mix well & apply it like a conditioner
- Mix the ingredients well to get a uniform blend.
- Use an applicator brush to apply the blend to your scalp and hair.
- Massage your scalp for 5 minutes, then roll your hair up in a bun. Put on a shower cap to avoid a mess.
- Leave it on for 30 to 60 minutes, then wash it out with a mild shampoo.
Apply this blend 1 or 2 times a week for 2 to 3 weeks to treat your dry, flaky scalp. Once your scalp condition improves, reduce it to once a week, then once a month as a deep conditioning treatment.
Method 2: Tea Tree Oil
If the reason for your dry and flaky scalp is a fungal infection like seborrheic dermatitis or a bacterial infection, nothing can work better than tea tree essential oil. The volatile oil has potent antimicrobial properties that can manage infections on the scalp. (3)
Single-Step Treatment: Spray diluted tea tree oil on your scalp
Put 1 cup of water and 4 or 5 drops of tea tree essential oil in a spray bottle.
- Give the bottle a good shake to mix the two well.
- Spray the solution onto your scalp 2 or 3 times daily. Focus more on the itchy areas.
Use this remedy for at least 7 to 10 days to treat a dry, flaky scalp.
Method 3: Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is another enriching oil that does wonders for your scalp and hair. Its fatty acids help moisturize your scalp and hair follicles. It is also rich in vitamins E, B, and C as well as minerals like zinc and copper that help maintain a healthy scalp. As a bonus, it will boost your hair growth.
Single-Step Treatment: Massage your scalp with jojoba oil
- Using water in a spray bottle, dampen your hair.
- Apply a dollop of jojoba oil onto your entire scalp. You can use a cotton ball for ease of application.
- Applying gentle pressure, massage your scalp in circular motions for 5 minutes.
- Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then wash it out with a mild shampoo.
Apply jojoba oil 2 or 3 times every week for 2 to 3 weeks to control the dryness of your scalp.
Method 4: Aloe Vera
The ‘miracle plant,’ aloe vera can also be used to relieve a dry and itchy scalp. The clear gel derived from the leaves helps cool the scalp and controls the itchiness. Its antimicrobial properties also take care of any bacterial or fungal growth. (4)
Plus, aloe vera helps unclog hair follicles to boost hair growth and its nutrients strengthen hair.
You can either extract fresh gel from aloe vera leaves or buy the gel. Fresh gel certainly works better.
You can also check out ways to use aloe vera to condition your hair.
Single-Step Treatment: Massage your scalp with aloe vera gel
- Put some aloe vera gel in a bowl.
- Use a cotton ball to apply the gel onto your itchy scalp.
- Massage the gel into the scalp and let it sit for 20 minutes.
- Rinse out any excess gel with cool water.
- Shampoo and condition your hair like you normally do.
Each time you wash your hair, use this home remedy for a dry, flaky scalp in 2 to 3 weeks.
Method 5: Herbal Rinse
We often underestimate the power of natural herbs, but when used in the right proportions and combinations, they can give commercial products a run for their money. A mix of chamomile, rosemary, and nettle leaves concocted into an herbal rinse can bring immense relief from your dry, flaky scalp.
Dried chamomile flowers are famous for their anti-inflammatory properties. The nettle leaves combat hair loss, a common side effect of a dry scalp. The rosemary improves blood circulation in the scalp and also boosts hair growth.
This rinse also uses apple cider vinegar that further disinfects the scalp, and its enzymes normalize the pH of the scalp to curb the itchiness.
Things you’ll need:
- Dried nettle leaves (prevent hair loss) – ⅓ teaspoon
- Dried chamomile flowers (anti-inflammatory) – ½ teaspoon
- Fresh rosemary (boosts hair growth) – ⅓ teaspoon
- Raw apple cider vinegar (rebalances pH of the scalp) – ⅙ teaspoon
- Hot water – 1 cup
Step 1. Add the herbs to hot water
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water into a container.
- Add ⅓ teaspoon each of dried nettle and fresh rosemary leaves.
- Add ½ teaspoon of dried chamomile flowers.
- Add a ⅙ teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar.
Step 2. Let the herbs steep for 15 minutes & use the infused water as a final hair rinse
- Cover the container and let the herbs steep in the water for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Give it a good stir, strain out the liquid into a pitcher and allow it to cool down completely.
- Shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
- Use the prepared solution as a final hair rinse. (Do not rinse your hair again with water.)
- Let your hair air-dry.
Prepare and use this hair rinse each time you wash your hair. Your dry and flaky scalp should be gone in about 1 month.
Method 6: Mayonnaise
Slathering your hair with mayonnaise may sound absurd, but this condiment can be used to deeply condition your dry scalp and hair. Primarily made of egg yolks, oil and vinegar, mayonnaise is an effective lice treatment too.
The oil in it moisturizes the scalp to deal with the flakiness, the egg provides proteins (the building blocks of your hair), and the vinegar helps cleanse clogged follicles. Vinegar also helps neutralize the pH of the scalp, which can also be the reason your scalp is dry.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply mayonnaise on your hair and scalp like a hair mask
Use a clean hair-dye brush to coat your hair and scalp completely with mayonnaise.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap and let the mayonnaise work for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Rinse it out with lukewarm water.
- Shampoo your hair as usual. You need not to use a conditioner.
Use this remedy once a week to treat your dry, flaky scalp in 4 to 6 weeks.
Method 7: Apple Cider Vinegar
A simple apple cider vinegar rinse can leave your hair soft and shiny. Apple cider vinegar is loaded with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory enzymes that can get rid of conditions like dandruff, dry or itchy scalp, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis.
Single-Step Treatment: Rinse your hair with diluted apple cider vinegar
- Dilute apple cider vinegar with water in a 1:3 ratio.
- Stir well and pour it over your scalp.
- Massage your scalp for 2 to 3 minutes to evenly spread the vinegar.
- Wait 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse it out with warm water.
- Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
Use this rinse first each time you wash your hair as a home remedy for dry, flaky scalp until you get relief.
Method 8: Coconut Oil
Just like olive oil, coconut oil contains nourishing fatty acids that deeply moisturize the scalp and hair follicles to reduce the itching almost instantly. It is also antibacterial and antifungal and will keep scalp infections at bay.
Single-Step Treatment: Massage your scalp with warm coconut oil
- Warm up some extra-virgin coconut oil in the microwave. The oil should be comfortable to the touch and not too hot.
- Thoroughly coat your scalp with the oil. Coat your hair strands as well.
- Applying gentle pressure, massage your scalp for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Wait 30 minutes, then wash it out with a mild shampoo.
Massage your scalp with coconut oil 2 or 3 times a week to prevent or treat a dry, flaky scalp.
Tips to deal with dry and flaky scalp
- Avoid blow-drying your hair too often, as the blast of hot air can lead to dryness.
- If the flakiness is due to dandruff, you can also make a solution with equal amounts of Listerine, lemon juice and water. Apply it onto your scalp for 10 minutes, then wash it out with a mild shampoo.
- Since commercial shampoos contain strong chemicals, try using homemade shampoos. You can check out some recipes for DIY shampoos.
- Comb your hair twice a day to increase the blood circulation in your scalp and break loose the dry flakes.
- Apart from using the home remedies for a dry, flaky scalp, eat a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables.
- To keep your skin and scalp well-hydrated, drink plenty of water and avoid drinking too much alcohol.
- Borda LJ, Wikramanayake TC. Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff: A Comprehensive Review. Journal of Clinical and Investigative Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27148560. Published December 2015.
- Cui Z, Xin M, Yin H, Zhang J, Han F. Topical use of olive oil preparation to prevent radiodermatitis. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4565279/. Published 2015.
- Lin T-K, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/19/1/70. Published December 27, 2017.
- Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple DG. ALOE VERA: A SHORT REVIEW - PubMed Central (PMC). Indian Journal of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/. Published 2008.