Itchy Dry Red Scalp Causes and Relief Treatments

A red scalp may not only be enraging and embarrassment but can also occur alongside symptoms such itchiness, hair loss, painful sores and more. Many conditions can cause it but most of the causes are treatable. Learn more about causes, symptoms, itchy one, treatments and much more.


Numerous reasons have been found to be responsible for this phenomenon. It is mainly caused by any condition that can cause inflammation, irritation or trauma to the scalp and thus making this condition to have many causes. Here, we’ll briefly discuss the common causes.

Seborrheic dermatitis

This is an inflammatory condition of the skin characterized by red, flaky scalp with an itchy feeling. It is commonly associated with the adult’s age bracket. More oil is produced by the sebaceous glands and deposited the affected area and becomes white, yellow or grey scaly residues.

Seborrheic Dermatitis occurs often on the scalp, nose sides, chest, and eyelids. For treatment, coal tar, ketoconazole, selenium sulfide and salicylic acids can relieve the redness.

Scalp psoriasis

Psoriasis is an embarrassing skin complication that is associated with its trigger immune-based disorder. Here, white cells that govern immunity within the body are in the process minimized by bacteria as they strive to counter the invasion of this condition. The scalp thereof develops red flaking and scaly patches. This condition differs from dermatitis since it causes silver-like patches. Other symptoms of psoriasis include intense itching.

Itchy dry red scalp - psoriasis

Therapies for psoriasis may include corticosteroids, vitamin D, coal tar ointments and prescribed Retinoids. These may be available in the form of psoriasis cream, lotion, and gels. There is also good psoriasis scalp natural treatments and natural psoriasis shampoo available, we`ll explore in a short while.

Scalp eczema

This condition of the skin that occurs due to skin irritation. Patches of the skin become inflamed, itchy, red cracked and rough says  Fungus outgrows causing itchy feeling as they feed on the scalp oil. The continued dominance of this fungus, therefore, gives rise to itchy flakes. The itching urge of this condition can trigger scratching that will also lead to scalp reddening.

Treatments made with hydrocortisone steroids can work wonders in easing redness due to eczema. Antihistamines can also be applied.

Allergic reactions

Hypersensitivity is brought about by reactions due to allergens like certain medications and food, pollen grains, hair shampoos and dyes among others. When they come into conduct with the skin, they react vigorously resulting to itching and this may result to the red itchy scalp.

Avoid things that can react with your skin. And how do you know this? On application of a certain hair product, an irritation may crop up. When this happens, you are required to discontinue the use of the product or keeping off the causative agents. Another good idea to manage allergic reaction is by using antihistamine treatments.

Fungal and bacterial infections

When the scalp is infested with harmful bacteria and fungus, they may cause infections in the hair follicles as well as the hair roots. Here, they cause irritations and painful bumps that erupt leaving behind severe sores hence redness.

Antibiotics and antifungal medications can be employed in this case to rid of these bacterial and fungal infections respectively.


You may be a victim this redness resulting from an accident, surgery or an injury whether deep or minor. Trauma from fire burns and chemicals may be a blame to scalp redness as well.

In addition, this may occur in patients acquiring medication via ultra-violet radiations. A proper medical prescription from the doctor will aid relieve this condition from these mentioned roots.

Skin irritants

First, we have to acknowledge that an irritant and allergen are two different things though they may have similar symptoms when they affect the skin. Irritants may have mild to severe effects when they get into contact with the skin. They include dyes, fragrances, irritating preservatives, formaldehyde releasers, parabens, lanolin and derivatives, and surfactants.

Some of these ingredients can be found in the hair care products and can, therefore, lead to red itchy scalp upon application.

It is advisable that, when you apply a certain cosmetic and irritation occurs, discontinue its application and seek medical attention.

Sunburned scalp

Many people enjoy getting tanned by the sun but they may not be aware of the consequences. Though it is covered by the hair it does not often get sunburned but this can if you stay long in the sun or during summertime.

How will you then know that your scalp is sunburned? Well, the symptoms to help you in this include, redness of its surface, dryness, peeling skin and even fever and chills for adverse sunburns.

These burns may be more common for bald people or those with thin strands of hair. The best treatment for sunburned scalp is to take preventive measures. Some home products such tea tree oil, aloe vera, and coconut can also help.

Red scalp syndrome

This condition presents in patients having a chronic red scalp that its cause is not well understood and not linked to other conditions. In many instances, you will find a patient suffering from this syndrome will have itching and burning sensation but do not at all experience scaling and flaking.

More causes

We may not have exhausted all the causes because they are numerous but other causes may comprise of:

  • Alopecia areata
  • Head lice
  • Scarring alopecias
  • Cancer
  • Other inflammatory diseases such as lupus, dermatomyositis, and rosacea
  • Hypothyroidism among others.


In order to discover whether you are harboring this red scalp conditions, the following symptoms will guide you:

  • Scaly scalp
  • Itchy scalp and hair loss
  • Burning sores
  • Dry patches on scalp
  • Silvery white scales
  • Urge to scratch it
  • Scalp bumps that may be itchy

Some symptoms may be very severe depending on the causes, so you should always make sure that you rapidly respond to any symptoms by seeking effective treatment from your doctor. But before this, you have to quickly diagnose the primary cause.

“The cause of the redness can often be diagnosed by a thorough examination of the scalp,” says In severe or challenging conditions, a biopsy may be performed to confirm the underlying cause.

If Itchy

This condition can be itchy or non-itchy depending on the causes. The symptoms of the red itchy scalp are more disturbing. It is not only annoying, it also causes flakiness or very painful sore, and this may be due to intense scratching. The symptoms will vary from one individual to the other, they include itchy white scales, sore bumps, scratching, red patches and bleeding on the scalp. says that red itchy scalp is mainly due to seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. Other causes include allergic reactions, irritants, scalp infections, dryness and more. In fact, most itchy ones trigger redness. Treatment will depend on the causes.

The natural home remedies discussed below are applicable to both red itchy and red non-itchy scalp.

Natural remedies

Here are some of the most commonly used home products that provide quick and effective results.

1. Baking soda

Baking soda is a common natural ingredient with doublet roles. The main role of baking soda is to exfoliate the scalp and thus get rid of dandruff caused by fungi. Its alkaline nature also balances the pH and hence hasten the relief of itchiness and inflammation the may cause redness.

  • Make a paste with baking soda and water.
  • Apply it directly to your scalp. For best results, rub some olive oil before applying the baking soda paste.
  • Allow it to stay for about 15 minutes.
  • Rinse well with water.

Tea tree oil

It is a powerful antifungal that heals inflammations as well as treating bacterial and fungal infections. Thanks to its terpine-4 component. It also unblocks hair follicles and thus prevent many causes of redness.

  • Begin by diluting 3 drops of tea tree oil in a tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Massage the mixture into your scalp
  • Leave it to sit for 1 hour and then rinse your hair using mild shampoo and water
  • Continue the application of this remedy 3 times in a week for two weeks

Lemon juice

Lemon juice has an alkaline nature that ensures optimum scalp conditions. It also provides deep cleansing and removes any bacteria that may trigger itchiness. Since it balances the pH, it will to relieve itching and combat dryness and hence avoid redness

  • Cut a ripe lemon into two halves and extract the juice
  • Apply it directly
  • Massage it keenly and leave it for five minutes
  • Rinse your hair with cool water

Lemon juice may be harsh on your skin especially if you have a sensitive skin. So if this is the case, then you can dilute it a bit using water.

Apple cider vinegar

This is a powerful home remedy that helps in doing away with yeast and bacteria that cause scalp and skin redness. It has powerful anti-inflammation and anti-bacterial properties that help get rid of yeast and virus that can cause this problem. It also balances its pH and helps you from developing dry scalp.

  • Mix equal amounts of apple cider Vinegar and water.
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle then apply the mixture directly to the scalp
  • After a few minutes, shampoo it with a mild shampoo.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is another great natural remedy such complications. It helps keep the scalp in optimal moisture condition and hence an effective way soothe, moisturize and heal a red itchy one.

  • To damp hair, apply a little coconut oil to it.
  • Leave it on for at least half an hour and then rinse it out.
  • This remedy three times a week.

Aloe Vera

Another outstanding home remedy for this condition is the use of Aloe Vera. It leaves your hair heavily conditioned, soft and silky. Thank heavens, this king of herbs has the moisturizing characteristic that relieves extreme dryness and itchiness.

  • Mix fresh extract of Aloe Vera with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • Shampoo and condition your hair
  • Apply this mixture and leave it for some time then wash it off thoroughly

Egg yolk

Egg yolk is a suitable hair remedy that is easy to apply and access. It has got vital minerals and vitamins that will ensure nourished scalp hair. It also has the moisturizing property that prevents dryness and itchiness and thus avoids red reddening.

  • To two yolks of egg, add a few drops of lemon juice and beat them thoroughly until the two obtain a perfect mix
  • On damp hair, apply the mixture
  • Wait for around five to seven minutes and wash off the residue

Sesame seed oil

This is a highly nutritious, healing and lubricating natural product and hence an effective treatment for a dry and itchy scalp.

  • Begin by heating some sesame oil to warm it a bit.
  • Massage it on your scalp before going to bed each night. For best the most effective results, massage with your fingertips for at least 10 minutes, then wrap your head in a hot towel and leave it on for around 10 minutes before going to bed. The oil will provide optimum moisturizing when it remains on it overnight.
  • Shampoo and rinse your scalp and hair exhaustively in the morning. Continue this treatment as long as the situation may demand.

To get a satisfying result with the above remedies, you need to select on one remedy and apply it by stickily following the above procedure explained above. If 2-3 three of them doesn’t improve your condition, you should immediately proceed to your doctor for advanced treatments.

The list of home remedies for a red scalp is very long with simple applications procedures. Others include the use of henna, application of the ordinary table salt, use of table salt and rosemary among others. You can as well try this today and experience the dramatic change within your system.


Symptoms of scalp redness ill vary depending on the causes, yes that is true. The symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe. Any symptom should be considered and treated in time. Remember the symptom may be mild but if not treated in time or if not given appropriate medication, we may speak of something else. Make sure you schedule an appointment with your doctor when the above home remedies or over the counter drugs don’t prove effective for your red scalp.