Itchy scalp conditions affect millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by various skin conditions like dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, skin fungus and eczema. Dandruff is the most common cause of an itchy scalp. It can be caused due to infrequent washing of hair or using strong chemicals on the scalp that strips it of natural oils. Stress and weather conditions can also cause dandruff. In children, an itchy scalp could be a sign of lice or scalp ringworm. Most itchy scalp conditions can be cured by OTC medications, shampoos, conditioners and moisturizers. More serious skin disorders that cause an itchy scalp will require medical intervention.
Aloe Vera For An Itchy Scalp
Aloe vera has been used for medicinal purposes for many years since the time of the ancient Egyptians. It is available in many forms – gel, capsules, lotions and more and can be used both externally and internally to treat various medical conditions. Aloe barbadensis is the species that contains the best medical benefits. It belongs to the Liliaceae family and contains fleshy leaves that contain a clear inner gel, middle layer of latex and outer layer that contains a thick rind. Aloe vera gel contains amino acids, glycoproteins, lipids, sterols, enzymes, minerals, polysaccharides and vitamins. Aloe latex contains glycosides and anthraquinones. the rind contains starch and water.
Aloe vera can treat many skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, skin burns, sunburn, and fungal and bacterial skin infections. Dandruff is a scalp condition that causes dry and itchy scalp with flakes of dead skin. There are many treatments available for dandruff and other itchy scalp conditions that can ease the symptoms. The main aim of any treatment is to restore moisture to the scalp which will automatically reduce dryness and itchiness.
Some causes of itchy scalp like excessive dryness can be relieved by aloe vera gel for it has moisturizing benefits. Application of aloe vera gel on the scalp can reduce dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis and other itchy scalp conditions. Aloe vera is a natural cleanser that has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Simply rubbing it on the scalp and washing off can soothe a dry and itchy scalp.
Consumers who have tried aloe vera shampoos that are sulfate free have said that it helps to make hair soft and shiny. Hair becomes easier to manage. Aloe vera shampoos clean hair without drying it and it is an excellent moisturizer for a dry itchy scalp which is gentle on the skin too.
Aloe vera has alkalizing abilities that prevent growth of fungus which is one cause of dry skin and an itchy scalp caused by skin conditions like dandruff. Aloe vera also has anti-pruritic properties that can ease symptoms of dryness and itching. The enzymes in aloe vera kill dead skin cells and condition the scalp and skin. It can also reduce scaling, itching, redness and inflammation caused by skin conditions that affect the scalp like psoriasis and eczema.
Aloe Vera Products for Itchy Scalp
There are many commercially available products and home remedies which contain aloe vera gel that can benefit an itchy scalp.
Any one with an itchy scalp can follow these remedial measures at home. First cleanse the hair with a mild sulfate-free shampoo. Now take fresh aloe vera gel and apply it generously on the scalp. Let this remain for 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Do not leave any residual gel for it contains astringent properties which if it remains for too long on the scalp can suck out all natural oils. Now, apply a deep conditioner, leave for 20 minutes and rinse out. Finally, you can apply a leave-in moisturizing conditioner, natural hair oils that contain jojoba oil or natural hair butters (shea, macadamia or avocado). All of these will help to nourish hair and retain moisture.
Here is a homemade daily hair moisturizer that can treat dry, itchy scalp. It will also improve hair growth and address other scalp issues.
- Vegetable glycerin – 2-4 oz
- Aloe vera juice or gel – 3-4 oz
- Distilled water – 8 oz
- MSM powder – 2 heaped tablespoons
- Peppermint oil – 20 drops
- Lemongrass oil – 10 drops
Mix the MSM powder with distilled water and pour into a clean spray bottle, to which you now add aloe vera gel and shake well so that it mixes thoroughly. Now add the glycerin and both essential oils and shake briskly. This excellent moisturizer can be sprayed on your hair daily.
Another excellent treatment for dry and itchy scalp is an aloe vera mask that is natural and intensive. For this, mash well one avocado and to this add 1 heaped tablespoon aloe vera gel. Combine these well, apply on your scalp and cover your head with a cap. This can be left overnight and washed in the morning preferably with a sulfate-free shampoo.
There are many commercially available aloe vera shampoos which are sulfate free. These condition hair, reduce signs of dryness, itchiness, frizz etc. Hair and scalp become more manageable. These products are available at online stores, local supermarkets or health and beauty salons. Some shampoos which use aloe vera are:
- ‘Aveda smooth infusion shampoo’
- ‘Suave naturals aloe vera extra hold anti-frizz smoothing gel’
- ‘Aubrey organics J.A.Y desert herb shampoo’
- ‘Lily of the Desert Aloe 80 Organics Shampoo’
- ‘John Masters Organics Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner’
Topical use of aloe vera for an itchy scalp usually does not cause any side effects. If you have deep cuts or burns, try to avoid topical application of aloe gel. Those allergic to tulips, onions or garlic must avoid aloe vera products. Allergic reactions could be due to the presence of aloin and barbaloin – two anthraquinones. Hence, always test the product in a small area before using it for itchy scalp conditions to make sure you are not allergic to it. Topical aloe vera cream could increase absorption levels of certain hydrocortisone creams.
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