Best Shampoo For Itchy Scalp

Having a dry, itchy scalp can be an extremely irritating problem. Giving your head a good scratch in public can be embarrassing, and you also don’t want white flakes getting in the way of having beautiful hair. Switching to a shampoo which is specially formulated for an itchy scalp can help soothe your skin, and get you on the road to healthier looking hair.

That Uncontrollable Itch

There are a few reasons your scalp might be dry and itchy, but dandruff is usually the culprit. The most common reason for having dandruff is the overgrowth of a natural fungus called Malassezia which is present on the scalp, which feeds on dead skin cells and oils (EveryDayHealth).

The uncomfortable itching and flaking caused by this fungus can usually be treated with an over the counter anti dandruff shampoo. These contain an active antifungal or antibacterial ingredient such as selenium, pyrithione zinc, tea tree oil or coal tar.

Other skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema can also cause severe itching. Sometimes it can get so bad that your sleep is distorted from waking up during the night with the need to scratch your head.

If you have larger, oily flakes and your scalps looks red and inflamed, it’s best to talk to your doctor or dermatologist so they can determine what the route of the problem is.

Hair Care Routine

Take a moment to think about what we put our hair through. Chemical treatments, relaxers, blow drying, straightening, styling products, harsh detergents… All these things can irritate your skin and dry it out.

Over shampooing is also one the reasons you could have an itchy scalp. Traditional shampoos contain strong detergents called sulfates, which can dry out and irritate your skin. Sulfate free shampoos are more gentle, and with regular use you should see an improvement in a matter of days (Cosmopolitan).

Do You Use Lots Of Styling Products? Things like hairspray, volumising agents and curl boosters often contain silicone and resin type agents, which can clog your pores and suffocate your scalp (Cosmopolitan).

Exposure to excessive heat is probably one of the worst things you can do if your skin is already dry, so try blow drying less often or on a cooler setting.

Using a clarifying shampoo once a week can help remove product buildup and clear out your pores, but it isn’t recommended to use too frequently as you don’t want to end up drying out your scalp and causing more itching (Cosmopolitan).

Finally, uncomfortable itching could also be caused by contact dermatitis, which is when you have an allergic reaction to ingredients found in hair care products. If you think this could be the case it’s always best to consult a physician to get a proper diagnosis.

It can be a nightmare trying to find the right shampoo, so choosing one with more natural ingredients should help soothe your skin or even eliminate the problem all together (EveryDayHealth).

Blame It On The Weather

Sometimes, having an itchy scalp has nothing to do with our skin type, the products we use or the amount of times we wash our hair.

Unfortunately, itching can be aggravated by the weather. The contrast between cold, windy weather and dry air from indoor heating in the winter can cause dandruff and skin irritations to flare up (HealthHype).

Likewise, hot, humid weather and tropical climates can cause itchy scabs to appear, especially on the lower parts of your scalp.

So even if you don’t normally suffer with irritated skin which is dry and itchy, there may be some months of the year where your scalps feels more uncomfortable. Using a shampoo formulated to nourish and soothe skin should help you get some relief at these times.

Get The Best Out Of Your Shampoo

Using a shampoo designed to soothe itchy scalps should help you get some relief and gain healthier skin and hair.

In addition to these shampoos, it can also be a good idea to use a moisturising mask or oil treatment once in awhile, to add some extra hydration to your skin.

Your diet also has a direct effect on your skin’s health, so try to eat plenty of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and oily fish to keep your skin nourished (Cosmopolitan).

The best way towards healthy, shiny hair is by looking after your scalp, and helping to replenish some of its moisture.

Top 5 Shampoos For Itchy Scalp

Here are my top 5 shampoos that can help relieve dry, itchy skin. The best one for you will depend on the cause of your irritated skin, and also your hair type. It might take some time before you find the right one for you, but try giving it a few washes before you decide whether it’s working or not.

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo

This product contains coal tar which helps control dandruff, as well as symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. Its great plus is that it keeps working after you rinse it out, so even you suffer with extreme itching, you should get some relief throughout the day.

It provides a deep clean for your scalp, and helps remove shedding cells which can cause itching and dry skin. Using it once a week should be enough to help soothe an irritated scalp, and restore hair to make it softer and shinier.

Unfortunately, many shampoos that contain coal tar have an unappealing fragrance, which can put some people off using it. It usually doesn’t linger in your hair once it’s been washed out, but you could follow up with a conditioner on the ends to help mask the fragrance if you are sensitive to it.


  • Provides long lasting relief
  • Scalp feels moisturised
  • Helps heal skin
  • Gets fast results
  • Hair feels clean and manageable


  • Fragrance can be offputting
  • Daily use can dry out hair

Art Naturals Scalp 18 Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Art Naturals Scalp 18 Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

This shampoo is infused with hydrating natural oils such as jojoba and argan. It helps provide relief from itching, flaking and dry scalp issues, and can help soothe in cases of seborrheic dermatitis.

Its active ingredient is cloa tar, which works by removing excess flakes and dead skin. Its gentle exfoliating properties help clear out pores, and it contains many nourishing ingredients to help deliver antioxidants to your skin.

As well as soothing irritated skin, this product is a natural emollient which helps to hydrate and nourish hair, as well as promoting new hair growth.

If you also suffer from split ends, this sulfate free formula could be a good choice for you as it contains plant and herbal oils that help repair damaged hair.


  • Helps your scalp to heal
  • Sulfate free formula
  • Hair feels healthy and shiny
  • Good for oily hair


  • May not be suitable for severe cases of dandruff

Nioxin Scalp Recovery Cleanser

Nioxin Scalp Recovery Cleanser

This shampoo helps prevent and relieve symptoms associated with seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, such as irritated skin, flaking and itching.Its active ingredient is pyrithione zinc, which is an antifungal that provides a deep clean and helps slow down the rate at which skin cells die and slough off.

As well as providing relief to dry, irritated skin, this scalp recovery formula can also help reduce hair loss which is caused by itching.

Many anti dandruff shampoos have strong formulas which can easily dry out your hair, but this shampoo is quite gentle and helps hair feel soft and moisturised. It is also one of the only ones suitable for colour treated hair.

It has a light menthol fragrance which is quite appealing, and doesn’t smell too medicated.


  • Safe on colour treated hair
  • Relieves itching after a few washes
  • Removes flakes
  • Suitable for skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis


  • Not sulfate free

Avlon Keracare Dry & Itchy Scalp Shampoo

Avlon Keracare Dry & Itchy Scalp Shampoo

This product contains moisturisers to help protect against dryness and hydrate your hair and scalp. It leaves a tingling sensation on your skin as it works, and provides a deep clean for your scalp to eliminate flakes.

It gives an effective relief from itching due to dandruff, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis, and works on reducing any dry patches you might feel on your scalp.

Its deep moisturising properties should help detangle hair and make it more manageable. You should start to see some good results after about a week of use, and following up with its conditioner can help rebuild the outer structure of hair follicles to reduce breakage.


  • Relieves itching
  • Safe on natural and chemically treated hair
  • Hair feels soft and clean
  • Cooling effect on scalp
  • Silky texture


  • Slight chemical fragrance

Maple Holistics Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

Maple Holistics Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

Tea tree oil is a natural antifungal and antibacterial agent with healing properties, and helps to hydrate skin and lock in moisture.

This shampoo helps soothe and nourish irritated scalps, effectively cleans out hair follicles without drying hair out, and promotes new hair growth.

This gentle sulfate free formula can help you get some relief from skin which is dry, itchy and flaky, and can be a great choice if you have extremely sensitive skin.

It provides a pleasant tingle on your scalp and increases circulation to promote healthier hair and skin. If you need to wash your hair often to get relief from itchiness, this shampoo is gentle enough for very frequent use.

This is also a great choice for people who have dandruff and itchiness flare ups due to the environment, such as during dry winter months or in hot and humid climates.


  • Sulfate and paraben free
  • Hair and scalp feel healthier
  • Safe on colour treated hair
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Suitable for daily use


  • Might not effectively remove flakes in cases of severe dandruff


An itchy scalp can get so bad that your hair falls out or it interferes with your work and social life. If you’re tired of wearing your hair up to hide any white flakes and battling to find a shampoo which is kind to your skin, try switching to a more natural product to help soothe your skin and remove flakes at the same time.

My top pick is Pure Tea Tree Oil Shampoo by Maple Holistics, as it is a natural shampoo that works wonders on dry, irritated skin, and gives it the hydration and nourishment it needs to be healthy and retain its moisture.

It can be difficult to find a natural anti dandruff shampoo that effectively relieves itching and flaking, so this sulfate free formula is a great find, and works well on even the most sensitive of scalps.

Whether you suffer from constant itching or flare ups during certain times of the year, switching to a nourishing shampoo such as this one helps add moisture to your scalp and heal your skin to greatly improve its condition.

Remember to avoid using many styling products if your skin is easily irritated, and to use heat tools on a lower setting to avoid stripping anymore moisture from your hair and scalp.


Louisa Rose

I am a 20 year old woman who is passionate about health, beauty and relationships. I run the blog Body Health Love, which gives tips and advice to women across the globe.