28 Dry Scalp Treatments That Soothe and Heal

Sweet, sweet relief is finally here.

dry scalp treatments
(Image credit: Getty/Moyo Studio)

Picture this: You reach for your trusty black shirt, do a light scalp scratch—and boom, you look down to see that it has snowed in 90 degree weather. Oh wait, those aren't snowflakes! Itchy, dry, uncomfortable scalps are not something that we have to accept. In an ideal world, we’d all have healthy, calm scalps that never feel itchy, dry, or flaky. But this is reality, and your scalp may need some TLC from time to time—especially when your symptoms don't always point to the same scalp issues.

What causes a dry, itchy scalp?

“There are a variety of things that can cause dry scalp, including skin conditions like dandruff, scalp psoriasis, and eczema,” says Hairstory Hairdresser Jennifer Covington-Bowers. She continues, “Other triggers include environmental factors, certain hair products, hormonal changes, dietary triggers, excessive washing, and genetics.”

There's your run-of-the-mill winter scalp, which feels itchy and dry (but is flake-free). Then there's dandruff, which presents as itchy, white flakes that easily come off if you gently scratch your scalp. And finally, there's seborrheic dermatitis (seb derm), which leaves your scalp noticeably red and inflamed, with oily, scale-like patches that kind of stick to your roots. Cute, right? 

Though the first step to battling your itch issues is to see your doctor or dermatologist for an official diagnosis, you might not have the time or the patience to do that. And you may not need to—Covington-Bowers says that the main culprit of a dry scalp is actually over-washing. “When we over-wash our hair it strips the natural oils that we need to keep both the hair and scalp hydrated," she says.

So your shampoo absolutely matters, but there are also other tried-and-true therapies that serve as an at-home treatment. But if after a month you still have symptoms, then you need to make an appointment (seriously, do it).  

Chelsea Hall is the Assistant Fashion and Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she covers celebrity style, fashion trends, skincare, makeup and anything else tied into the world of fashion and beauty