Reader Question: Remedies for an Itchy Scalp


Reader Nakeya asks,

“What oils are good for itchy scalp. I can wash my hair moisturize it wake up the next morning and it’s semi dry and I have flakes and the itching starts. It gets worse as the week goes on. I oil it, wash it and everything else. I’ve used tea tree oil which I love but the smell is a little over powering.”

Usually for an itchy scalp the recommendation is natural oils like coconut oil (which is anti-fungal) or tea tree oil. However, if what you are experiencing is a dandruff problem, you could potentially be making your situation even worse! I have collected information from scientific resources you should check out.

According to the Beauty Brains ( a scientific beauty blog)

“If you’re not prone to dandruff and you’re using coconut oil to strengthen your hair, it may not matter how much of the oleic acid containing oils you use. You may experience more benefit than risk. However, the situation could be reversed if you are prone to itchy, flaky scalp. Natural oils may not be for everyone because they contain oleic acid which can worsen dandruff symptoms.”

The Natural Haven (A great scientific natural hair blog) says ,

“If you have dandruff or scalp eczema, it is very important to know that many natural oils actually contain the oil that feeds the fungus Malassezia that causes the condition. This oil, oleic acid is present in the popular four natural oils –  coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil and castor oil. It would be worth your while avoiding using these oils so as to not exacerbate the condition.”

I also talk a little about this in my book Grow it Kinky: How to Grow Long Kinky Textured Natural Hair. I found an article from Live Science that discusses home remedies for dandruff:

“Home treatments for dandruff popularized on the Internet include applying oil — such as olive oil, vegetable oil or baby oil — to the scalp. But olive and vegetable oil may actually worsen the condition, researchers say. Dandruff is typically caused by an excess production of sebum (oil) in the scalp, and has been linked with an overgrowth of yeast, called Malassezia, which naturally occur on the scalp. The oil treatments are generally thought to help to remove the scales, but aren’t believed to treat the condition itself. “

Your Solution

So if you are experiencing a dandruff problem your best bet would be to purchase a medicated dandruff shampoo. Some popular brands I am sure you are familiar with include: Head & Shoulders and Selson Blue. However, there is also the option of Sage Shampoo for Heavy Dandruff that is sulfate free and has great reviews on

If the over the counter methods do not work, you should see a dermatologist who can diagnose exactly what is the cause of your scalp problems. They can then prescribe medications to moderate your condition.

Look into Potential Causes

You also may want to look into the causes of why your scalp is itching. Dandruff can be caused by extensions like box braids or weaves. This can also happen when you wear styles like cornrows with your own hair. I typically do not experience dandruff problems but now that I am currently wearing box braids I had a touch of it. I use Sulfur 8 Medicated Braid Spray for this.

I hope this have been helpful to you Nakeya!

Do you have a reader question for me? Email me here!

11 thoughts on “Reader Question: Remedies for an Itchy Scalp”

  1. This is very helpful.. I have issues with dry scalp/ dandruff and it did seem like my scalp would suck up the oil that I put in the night before. .. Great article. .!

  2. I colored my hair about a month ago with Dark & Lovely Go Intense(Black). The first couple of wks after coloring my hair felt fine, but now the past couple of wks my hair is extremely dry and crunchy no matter what I do to it! Also, product just sits on my hair, it appears that nothing is penetrating into my hair. When it dries I’m left with an oily, crunchy and dry feeling mess. I ordered some Roux Porosity Conditioner I hope that helps, because my hair has not been responding to anything I do or put on it. Any advice will be appreciated. I just want her back to normal and pray I don’t have to cut. I haven’t had a real cut since my bc in March 2013. I only dust my ends when needed. Please help if you can, THANKS IN ADVANCE!

    1. @Tina I love that Roux Porosity Conditioner. I swear by it. I have VERY dry hair that soaks up everything i put on it and am left with dry oily hair. after using that Roux product (off and on for over 3 years) and using the L.O.C. (Liquid Oil Cream in that order) method. My hair is in the best condition ever! Sometimes if my hair is feeling great, I just use it on my ends after shampooing to aid in moisture retention and prevent breakage.

  3. What do you do if you dont have a dandruff problem? I have used the tea tree oil, it only worked the first time i used it, then when i tried to use it again it didnt work. The way my head itches it stops me from wearing certain styles, especially braids.

  4. I recommend that you stop applying oil to your scalp. Our scalp products it’s own oil, adding more only irritates it. Before washing my hair, I spray my scalp with mixture of water and apple cider vinegar and rub it with my finger to get rid of build up. Followed by massaging scalp with mixture of lavender, tea tree or meen oil , then rinse off. After washing my hair, I rinse with cool aloe Vera juice. I’ve been doing for over a year and it has help me stay from dermatologist office with scalp issues.

  5. Actually, this article was helpful. Short and sweet, but pretty obvious in that way where you’re like “That’s it”? But NEVER THOUGHT OF IT type thing. I’m getting me some sulphur 8 hot dog it! Thanks for the tip. I was almost ready to hear that I needed a scalp transplant in addition to “drink more water”! I am beyond waterlogged. But, over all I’m glad its nothing major.

    Peaces ladies & gents,

  6. Hi, dry scalp can cause dry hair which can lead to breakage and thnninig. If you feel you have dry scalp, there are things you can do. Massaging your scalp with jojoba oil is wonderful for stimulating hair growth and moisturizing your scalp. Please see my video on this for more info. Also, using a shampoo for dry hair can help as can avoiding shampooing too often. I do recommend a natural boar bristle brush as they help to distribute your scalp oils.

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