What Essential Oils Are Good For Dry Scalp?

Essential Oils For Dry Scalp

What Is Dry Scalp

A dry scalp is a condition where the scalp (skin on the head) becomes dry because of too little oil and moisture for the skin to feel lubricated. Like other forms of dry skin such as that of the face and body, the dry scalp also causes itching, flaking, and irritation. Dry scalp can make the hair look dry, as the hair is deprived of oil from the scalp that helps condition the hair.

Symptoms Of Dry Scalp

The symptoms of the dry scalp include;

  • Flaking with smaller and whiter dry flakes
  • Itching
  • Tightness in the scalp
  • Irritated scalp
  • Need to scratch scalp
  • Dry hair
  • Dry skin on other parts of the body

A dry scalp that causes itching poses a risk of hair loss because of scratching. Too much scratching can damage the hair follicle, resulting in hair fall.

What Causes Dry Scalp?

Dry scalp is caused when the scalp does not produce enough oil or when it gets dehydrated internally.

Some causes for dry scalp include;

1. Dandruff

Dandruff causes an increase in the production of oil on the scalp. This oil leads to an overgrowth of fungus and the accumulation of dead skin cells. All these results in white, oily flakes and dryness of the scalp.

2. Scalp Eczema

Scalp eczema is a common skin condition where the skin on the scalp becomes inflamed, dry, and itchy.

3. Hair Care Products

Haircare products contain ingredients like dyes, fragrances, alcohols, sulfates, and preservatives. These when used on hair can leave a residue on the scalp and suck the moisture from the scalp, causing dry scalp.

4. Hair Styling Tools

Using heat styling tools for hair such as hair dryers, flat irons, curling irons removes natural oils from the scalp resulting in a dry scalp.

5. Frequent Hair Washing

Washing your hair every day causes the removal of oil from the scalp that is required to stay hydrated. Over time, the hair becomes dry so much that it becomes brittle and breaks.

6. Weather Changes

During winter months, the humidity in the air reduces which leads to dry skin all over the body including the scalp.

7. Stress

Stress can trigger the development of dandruff that can cause dry scalp.

8. Diet

Intake of sugars and a high-carbohydrate diet can lead to fungal growth on the scalp, causing dryness

9. Allergies

Scalp allergies can result from a skin condition called contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is caused when the skin on your scalp reacts to certain chemicals or ingredients in hair care products such as shampoos or soaps. This condition causes red, itchy, and dry scalp.

10. Psoriasis

Scalp psoriasis is a skin condition that causes raised reddish scaly patches on the scalp and making it dry.

Dry scalp is frequently found in toddlers and looks like dandruff that appears in older children.

Dry Scalp vs Dandruff

  • Dry scalp and dandruff are two different conditions but have two main similar symptoms that are- the flakes that shed and a scalp that becomes itchy.
  • While the dry scalp is caused by inadequate oil and moisture on the scalp, dandruff is caused by the overproduction of oil on the scalp.
  • In the dry scalp, the dry skin on the scalp flakes off. With dandruff, the dead skin cells flake off. Dandruff is characterized by the continuous overproduction of skin cells that die and fall off at a faster pace. The oil on the scalp causes these dead skin cells to accumulate that appear as flakes and fall off.
  • Dandruff flakes are often larger than the flakes you would get from a dry scalp. Dandruff flakes can be white or yellowish and can appear very oily. The scalp itself looks oily, red, and irritated.
  • Dandruff can also result from an overgrowth of yeast on the scalp called Malassezia. The yeast produces oleic acid, a fatty acid that irritates the skin and causes flakes. Several factors can trigger this overgrowth such as stress, hormones, excess oil on the scalp, or problems with the immune system. The yeast thrives on the oil of the scalp and makes it so dry that it causes dry scalp.

Best Essential Oils For The Dry Scalp

Essential oils are referred to as those oils that are distilled from the plant itself and have the signature scent of the plant they are extracted from. These essential oils are found to clear up dry scalp and are a very effective natural home remedy. But it is also important to determine the cause as it helps prevent the dry scalp from occurring regularly.

Some of the best essential oils are;

  1. Chamomile oil
  2. Lavender oil
  3. Rosemary oil
  4. Sandalwood oil
  5. Peppermint Essential Oil
  6. Tea Tree Essential Oil
  7. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  8. Lemongrass Essential Oil
  9. Cedarwood Essential Oil
  10. Lemon Essential Oil

Tips To Use Essential Oils

Generally, two-three drops of essential oil are used. One or more types of the essential oil can be mixed in a shampoo or conditioner or can be mixed with 60 ml of carrier oils like coconut oil, almond oil, castor oil, argan oil(carrier oil helps carry the essential oil into the skin)

Apply the oil mixture onto your scalp and cover your head either with a hot towel or a shower cap. You can leave it for half an hour before washing your hair. You can also leave it overnight and shampoo in the morning, or you can also use some oil as a leave-in air conditioner.

Other Natural Remedies For Dry Scalp

Few other natural remedies for dry scalp include;

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil helps to soothe and moisturize the hair and scalp, tackling dry scalp. Its antimicrobial properties help reduce the risk of infections.

2. Tea Tree

Tea tree oil has strong antimicrobial and can help relieve the symptoms caused by dry scalp.

[Also Read: How to use tea tree oil for toothache]

3. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an effective moisturizing agent and has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce skin irritation.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

It's antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory that can eliminate the microbes causing the itchiness. It also helps remove the dead skin cell that gets accumulated on the scalp.

5. Witch Hazel

A shrub that can be used to soothe symptoms of dry scalp and reduce inflammation that causes dry scalp from certain conditions.

6. Baking Soda And Olive Oil

Baking soda has antimicrobial properties while olive oil has moisturizing properties. A mixture of these helps exfoliate the scalp and alleviate the symptoms of dry scalp.

7. Mashed Bananas

Mashed bananas are a great treatment for the dry scalp because of their nourishing, moisturizing, and antimicrobial properties.

8. Yogurt And Egg

Yogurt has a soothing effect on the skin and helps exfoliate the scalp while eggs nourish and protect the scalp. A mixture of yogurt and egg helps relieve dry scalp.

9. Jojoba Oil

Is an effective moisturizer that helps relieve dry scalp quickly. Its anti-inflammatory properties treat skin conditions that affect the scalp.

10. Avocados

Avocados help moisturize and protect the skin. Avocado oil can be applied topically to soothe a dry scalp.

When To See A Doctor

  • You must make an appointment with the doctor;
  • If home remedies do not work
  • If home remedies worsen the symptoms or had an adverse reaction.
  • If redness, sores, or wounds appear on the scalp
  • If having an autoimmune disease or a chronic illness that causes dandruff which in turn leads to dry scalp


Vasavi Attada

Vasavi Attada specializes in creating content for the Medical/healthcare domain. She has written articles for Indian Health Organization (IHO), American Diabetes Association, and for magazines such as India Today and Dignity Dialogue.

Vasavi Attada holds a Master’s degree in Microbiology from Bangalore University.