Finding a shampoo for itchy scalp in the UK will be many peoples quest at some point in their lives, as most people will suffer from an itchy scalp at some point. But some are more susceptible than others and may have to experience this problem more often.

Out of the points on the body, the scalp is the most likely to itch because of its complex neural structure. There are many causes of an itchy scalp, but if you have an oily scalp, you’re more prone to getting the itch! This article will talk about natural ingredients you can turn to for treating an itchy scalp, and how to find a good quality, organic shampoo for an itchy scalp in the UK.

Causes of an Itchy Scalp

As the scalp is well innervated with four different types of nerves, and full of blood vessels, it’s a hell of a lot more sensitive to changes that can provoke the scalp to itch. Here are the main causes of an itchy scalp:

  • Dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis)

Dandruff is one of the most well-known itchy scalp conditions with an array of treatments on the market. Symptoms of dandruff include flakiness and mild itching, and people with oily scalps are more prone to the condition. Seborrheic dermatitis is a more severe form of the condition and involves inflammation of the skin.

  • Dry scalp

Hydrated skin is your ticket to itch free skin, wherever it is on your body. Having a dry scalp is the same, and if left untreated, can become very red, irritated and itchy. A dry scalp is more likely to be affected by allergens and irritants. You’re more likely to have a dry scalp if you have a dry skin type.

  • Product Build-up

Product build-up happens when we have use too many hair products, especially ones with silicones which can kill your hairs vitality over time. Many shampoos, conditioners and styling products contain allergens, irritants and sensitizers when they are trapped in your scalp. Turning back to nature is often best, because unless you react with certain natural ingredients (which is still possible), organic, natural shampoos are often gentler for the scalp.

  • Headlice

Anyone is susceptible to getting head lice. There are myths that your hair must be long or dirty for head lice to jump ship from your friend’s head to yours, but this is simply not true. All you need to do to get head lice is be close enough to a persons headlice infect head. Choosing a shampoo for itchy scalp (UK) can help sooth an itchy, inflamed scalp caused by head lice.

  • Contact dermatitis (allergic reaction)

An itching scalp can be caused by contact dermatitis, which is a type of eczema triggered by contact with a substance. You’re more likely to experience this if you have sensitive skin or you have reacted with any products before. You can also experience contact dermatitis if you have asthma, food intolerances or allergies. Many hair products contain irritants that can cause contact dermatitis.

  • Ringworm (Tinea capitus)

Ringworm of the scalp is a fungal infection. There are no worms involved, but the name ‘ringworm’ is given because of the circular marks on the skin. The highly contagious condition causes small patches of itchy skin on the scalp and hair shafts, and spreads through person to person contact or by sharing combs, towels, hats or pillows.

  • Folliculitis

An itchy scalp combined with red pimples with singular hairs in their centres, might be folliculitis. These may itch, burn and contain pus and when burst, they may drain blood or pus. Nice! Using a good antibacterial cleanser can help to clear it within a week to ten days, but if not clearing then oral antibiotics might be needed.

Ingredients to Look for - Shampoo for Itchy Scalp UK

Here are some natural ingredients that are often used for their soothing qualities:

  • Red Clover – this ingredient is full of isoflavones that prevents dandruff and scalp irritations. Using red clover on the hair adds to its vitality and shine, whilst softening and therefore making hair more manageable.
  • Aritha – Washing the hair with aritha can improve the health of the hair, with the result of shinier, silkier hair. Aritha is also referred to as reetha or ritha. As an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, it can reduce dandruff and fight lice.
  • Amalaki – Also known as amla, and the Indian Gooseberry, this herb has been used in Ayurveda for years. Rubbing amla oil into the hair can help to cure hair loss. The essential fatty acids and vitamin C content strengthens hair follicles and penetrates the scalp deeply to give it optimal nourishment. This helps to treat a dry and itchy scalp.
  • Sandalwood – sandalwood essential oil is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-aging, emollient, antispasmodic and astringent. These properties give it a host of health and beauty benefits, including its ability to alleviate an itchy scalp. Its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties help destroy bacteria and germs and provide relief to severe skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
  • Tea tree – this essential oil is a great choice for dandruff and hair loss. Dandruff can clog pores and cause itching which leads to hair falling out. It moisturises the hair to prevent dryness, and prevents an itchy scalp by stopping dead skin cells and hair product residues from building up.
  • Neem – neem water can be made by boiling the neem leaves in water. You can help treat an itchy scalp by washing your hair with neem water, or by looking for a shampoo with this ingredient. Neem leaves antifungal properties help to treat scalp issues and the antibacterial properties helps to treat dry scalp and dandruff. Neem also has the power to tame a frizzy head of hair, encouraging it to be silky smooth.
  • Argan – argan oil is commonly used to maintain a healthy scalp, and treat dryness and itchiness. It is high in antioxidants, including vitamin E, which is soothing for the scalp and any conditions affecting it. The essential fatty acids of argan oil mimic the sebum produced by the sebaceous gland, which is produced to protect the skin and scalp. Increasing the healthy fats in the scalp contributes to its healing.
  • Coconut – coconut oils antifungal properties can help fight ringworm of the scalp, and soothe other scalp issues, like dandruff and cradle cap. The oil acts as a protective barrier between washes to stop daily washing stripping the hair of all its sebum. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for soothing an itchy scalp.
  • Sweet Almond – sweet almond oil is often used to maintain the overall health of the scalp, or treat scalp conditions. Its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties helps soothe the inflammation of an itchy scalp. It can also provide relief for eczema and psoriasis of the scalp with its moisturising and antimicrobial properties.
  • Macadamia – this oil quickly penetrates the hair shaft to provide all the nourishment an itchy scalp needs to get better. It can be used to treat a dry scalp as macadamia nuts are 19% palmitic acid. This is a fatty acid that promotes the production of sebum, our body’s natural oil, which is needed to nourish the hair follicles to promote a healthy, moisturised scalp and strong hair growth.
  • Avocado – avocado is one of nature’s best beauty secrets, with biotin, essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins A, B-5, D and E, magnesium and iron amongst its components, all needed for healthy skin and hair. As a natural humectant, it locks in moisture and can deep condition and strengthen hair. The high fat content and vitamins and minerals all nourish the scalp and promote healthy cell growth. This is needed for the treatment of a dry, itchy scalp!

Shampoo for Itchy Scalp UK - Why Organic is better

Many shampoos contain ingredients that will aggravate an itchy scalp further. Whilst you cannot always guarantee that your scalp will not be sensitive to or react with a natural ingredient, organic shampoos can guarantee that there are no artificial ingredients that often irritate the scalp and has the potential to cause harm to your body when absorbed through the skin. This includes surfactants sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate. SLS is the term used to refer to these detergents for short. It is best to avoid these as they can cause irritation that leads to an itchy scalp.

Organic shampoos made with pure, natural ingredients such as plant oils, can be very healing and nourishing. Look for brands with the Soil Association Logo, as the Soil Association is the major organic certifying body in the UK, which makes finding an organic shampoo for an itchy scalp in the UK a lot easier! You can find the logo on the packaging of a product, but sometimes a company may be certified organic, but it is not on their packaging. In this case, you can check if the company is organic by typing in the company name on the Soil Association directory/licensee checker, which you can find here

Extra Tips after Finding the Right Shampoo for Itchy Scalp UK

Here are some tips you can’t miss!

  • Avoid using chemicals on your hair that can cause irritation and work against the healing of the scalp.
  • Oil treatments can be beneficial for an itchy scalp, as dryness can be due to a lack of moisture and oils. This includes the oil consumed in your diet as well as those applied topically. You can get oils from your diet by eating healthy fats such as avocado, nuts and oily fish.
  • After shampooing and conditioning, finish with a cool water rinse. This will lock in moisture and smooth hair cuticles, which will prevent frizz.
  • Dandruff occurs when old skin cells are shed but new skin cells are being over produced. Brushing your hair once a day can speed up skin cell shedding if you have dandruff.
  • Avoid wearing hats all the time, as this can limit oxygen to the scalp which is not great for scalp health!
  • Be wary of hair products with silicones as these form a barrier instead of penetrating the skin. As well as blocking the penetration of other potentially healing ingredients, they also suffocate the scalp. This can be very damaging to scalp health. Look out for the word ‘methicone’ on the ingredients label.
If you want to get more information about cruelty free shampoos, just check our article about shampoo not tested on animals uk

Do you suffer from an itchy scalp? Have you found ways to treat or prevent this irritating problem? Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Written by Jess Burman

Wellbeing writer

BA (Honours) in Writing