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How to Calm Itchy Scalp and Dandruff Naturally With 9 Powerful Herbs

It’s hard enough trying to keep hair looking shiny, strong and healthy. When a dry, itchy scalp pops into the picture, it can add even more frustration. Not only that, if unsightly flakes start to appear on your clothes, it can be embarrassing.

Dandruff and scalp irritation are common problems that more than half of all adults will have to deal with at one time or another. And it happens more often during the winter months when the air is dry and cold. But while it isn’t usually a sign of a serious medical condition, we certainly want to get rid of the issue as soon as we can when we notice it.

In this post, you’ll learn about the causes of scalp irritation and dandruff, what you can do to get rid of it, and which herbs are best to calm the itch and flakes.  

What causes dandruff?

Dandruff, a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis, can be caused by a variety of issues or habits. One of the more common causes is an imbalance in a specific fungus that lives on our scalp called Malassezia. When this fungus becomes too abundant, it breaks down the oil in the scalp and leaves behind oleic acid. The acid stimulates skin cells to grow quicker, causing them to build up and die off more than usual.

Another common cause of dandruff or scalp irritation is a dry scalp. Your scalp can become dry due to how you treat your hair, including the products you use, how much heat you apply, and how often you wash it. For example, using products with harsh chemicals, dying your hair, blow drying too often, and washing it too much can all lead to a dry, itchy scalp that can become flaky.

On the other hand, an overly oily scalp can be just as much to blame. Washing your hair too infrequently can cause oil and dead skin to build up on your scalp, leading to irritation and more cells flaking off.

Other lifestyle factors that can contribute to dandruff include stress, poor diet, and dehydration. That's why it’s essential to keep yourself healthy on the inside by eating a balanced diet, managing mental stress, and staying hydrated to avoid adding fuel to the fire.

It is also possible that you could have an underlying skin condition causing dandruff, like psoriasis or eczema. If you believe you might have one of these skin conditions, it's a good idea to see a dermatologist.

What about chemical treatments or shampoos?

While many treatments are available to fight dandruff, you’ll want to be careful if you decide to go this route. Dandruff shampoos are typically medicated with chemicals to kill off the fungal infection that can cause dandruff. Zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, and ketoconazole are common dandruff shampoo ingredients. 

These ingredients can further irritate your scalp, and they have the potential to cause serious health problems (especially if accidentally ingested). Coal tar is another toxic ingredient in dandruff shampoo known to be a carcinogen.

To make matters worse, most dandruff shampoos also contain other ingredients, like sulfates, that can harm our hair and our health. Sulfates in shampoos are drying and damaging to the hair and the scalp, in addition to being toxic to our health and the environment. Therefore, always read the label if you choose one of these anti-dandruff products to avoid causing more irritation or health problems.


What can I do to fight dandruff naturally?

It can be challenging to get rid of dandruff. But it’s always best to start with a natural approach to fix the problem so you don’t risk making it worse.

The best way to control dandruff naturally is to regularly use gentle, all-natural hair products that don’t contain sulfates or other irritating chemicals. Consistent use of mild toxin-free hair products will allow your scalp to heal from the irritation.

You can also makes some changes to your hair routine to reduce the chance of exacerbating the problem by changing the frequency you wash your hair, using less heat during styling, brushing your hair more often, and ending the use of chemical hair dye.

When you shop for an all-natural shampoo or conditioner, you should look for products that use herbal ingredients known to help relieve itchy scalp and dandruff.

Many of our haircare products at Nurture My Body are formulated with these dandruff-fighting herbs. Check out our fragrance-free Everyday Shampoo, Moisturizing Shampoo, and Nourishing Conditioner to help control dryness, itchiness and flakes.

Here is a list of nine powerful anti-dandruff herbs:

1. Rosemary

Rosemary essential oil is well known to help with hair loss, but it’s also effective for decreasing itchiness and dandruff. Rosemary has antimicrobial, antiseptic and antifungal properties that enable it to fight off the Malassezia fungus that can cause dandruff. It also stimulates circulation for better nourishment and can soothe pesky scalp irritation.

2. Aloe Vera

The cool, clear gel found in the aloe vera plant never ceases to amaze us. This desert succulent jelly has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help decrease the fungal cause of dandruff. Aloe is also known to have potent healing, moisturizing and skin-soothing abilities that can help with calming itch and irritation on the scalp.

3. Coltsfoot

This medicinal herb, traditionally used to treat coughs, colds and flu, has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help treat an irritated scalp and dandruff. It also contains high amounts of silica and cysteine, which help reduce excess oil, cleanse the hair follicles and add nourishment.

4. Lavender

This aromatic violet flower has many properties that give it the power to treat dandruff. As an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial herb, lavender helps control bacteria and soothes redness and irritation of the scalp. It also helps balance oil and increases circulation.

5. Petitgrain

Petitgrain oil comes from the bitter orange tree, Citrus aurantium. Its properties as a citrus oil make it excellent for reducing the over-production of sebum in the scalp, which helps to relieve dandruff caused by excessive oil buildup.

6. Oats

The saponins in Avena sativa are known for their ability to cleanse the skin. On the scalp, they help to remove the dead flakes due to dandruff. Oats are also rich in fats and proteins that can help moisturize and soothe dryness and irritation.

7. Calendula

Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is abundant in essential fatty acids and is fabulous for hydrating a dry scalp. It also has antimicrobial properties for reducing the fungus that causes dandruff. With inflammation-fighting properties and a variety of potent phytonutrients, it also helps soothe skin and scalp conditions like dermatitis.

8. Vetiver

The oil from the roots of the vetiver tree is high in antibacterial and antifungal compounds to fight against infection in the scalp. It also is an excellent scalp moisturizer and helps relieve the dryness associated with dandruff.

9. Marshmallow root

This adaptogenic herb contains a thick mucilage that forms a protective layer on the skin and scalp. This slippery material helps keep in moisture and calm the redness, irritation and itchiness that come with dandruff.

If you are experiencing increased dryness, flakes and uncomfortable itchiness in your scalp this winter, don’t worry because there are numerous ways to control it. Modifying a few damaging hair habits will help, and using the right all-natural products with the best herbs for your scalp can also make a significant impact. It might take some time to get dandruff under control, but you don’t have to suffer. 

And don’t forget to check out our fragrance-free and nontoxic hair products that are chock full of dandruff-fighting ingredients for natural relief!

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