A dry, itchy and flaking scalp has a number of causes, including seborrheic dermatitis. With this condition a yeast infection causes skin production to increase at a more rapid rate then normal. This overproduction increases the number of infective organisms and leads to itching. Other known causes are stress, poor circulation and a seasonal change of temperature. The use of harsh shampoos is another contributing factor. There are a number of simple and effective home remedies.
The Right Shampoo
According to Ron Renee, president of the Aestheticians International Association in Dallas, finding the right shampoo is key to symptom relief. Harsh shampoos strip the scalp of natural oils and lead to itching. It is essential to find a shampoo with a pH balance of between 4.5 and 5.5. If the pH is not mentioned on the packaging, you can test it at home using nitrozine paper strips available at pharmacies.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Cider vinegar is advocated as a remedy for many conditions including a dry, flaky scalp. After washing with a mild shampoo, hair can be soaked in apple cider vinegar for a few minutes and then rinsed off. The Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits site suggests soaking your hair in cider vinegar for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it off in order to more effectively kill any bacteria or fungal infection. For added efficacy you can add herbs to the apple cider such as stinging nettle, burdock root or tea tree, which are also antidandruff treatments.
Essential oils are an effective remedy for this condition. Dry scalp sufferers can mix two to three drops each of lavender, chamomile and rosemary in a carrier oil of their choice, such as almond or jojoba, using a total of 25 drops for every 50 millilitres of oil. Almond oil is particularly recommended as it is full of vitamin E, which when used topically alleviates dryness and itching; according to Dr. Maret Traber at the Linus Pauling Institute, vitamin E's antioxidant properties benefit the skin. Ayurvedic practitioners also claim that almond oil also promotes hair growth, strengthens hair and moisturises the hair and scalp without making hair oily. You can massage it into your hair and scalp and leave the oil on overnight if possible for a more intense treatment. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend massaging the head with coconut oil combined with castor and mustard oils, or blending lemon juice with coconut oil and rubbing it into the roots.