Remedies for Itchy Scalp for African-American Women

A moisturizing shampoo can soothe an itchy scalp.

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An Itchy scalp is generally not a sign of anything too serious, but it’s neither comfortable nor attractive to wander around scratching your head. At best, you look puzzled and at worst … let’s not go there. An itchy scalp can have many causes, but they are the same for all women. African-American hair -- whether short and natural or long with weaves -- demands special care, but scalps are pretty much the same. You don't have to look too far for a remedy that gets you clear-headed in no time.


Itchy scalps can be caused by anything from dry skin through allergies to head lice. Allergic reactions to the chemicals in your shampoo, conditioner or hair products can make your scalp itch. Dandruff will do it. Changes in the weather, especially moving into autumn and winter, can make your scalp itch.


Anti-dandruff shampoos and shampoos containing selenium or tar are effective against itchy scalps. A hypoallergenic shampoo may help you rule out or identify allergies to shampoo ingredients. Consider using the no ‘poo method. Rinse your hair in warm water and only condition it for a week or two -- no shampoo -- and see if that eases the itch. African-American hair tends to be dry, so make sure the shampoo you choose contains moisturizers or humectants.

Topical Treatments

Over-the-counter anti-itch creams and lotions can help ease the sting of itches caused by a dry scalp or rash. Massage the anti-itch cream into your scalp before bed and let it rest as you do overnight. Do not take antihistamines while using any anti-itch cream that contains antihistamines to avoid an accidental overdose. Shea butter is a traditional scalp treatment for African-Americans, and it has both anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties.


If the itching is severe enough to disrupt your daily life, you may want to try an over-the-counter antihistamine that contains 10 milligrams of diphenhydramine, according to Dr. David Peng, at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. If that is not enough to settle your scalp down, see your health care provider for a prescription steroid cream.


Don’t assume that an itchy scalp is nothing serious. If you can’t get rid of it on your own, it could be something that requires more aggressive treatment, like psoriasis, the fungal infection tinea capititis or even head lice. If the itching does not ease or is accompanied by other symptoms, see your health care provider.

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